Monday, June 30, 2008

Lazy Summer Days

I have a million things I wanted to do this week, and instead I find myself at my computer, mindlessly clicking on “headlines” like “Pavarotti’s widow and daughters reach inheritance deal” and “Get a summer bod in 4 weeks”. I also found myself wishing for the return of Big Brother on TV so I could get in some good trash this summer. So I went onto CBS’ website, and guess what? Only 13 sleeps until BB10! Stay tuned – what will be the twist this season? Can the new contestants out-trash the previous seasons? We shall see...

Mike and I have been watching Entourage. We borrowed Season 2 from Chris and Ivana (had a handy little recap of Season 1 as a DVD extra) and rented Season 3 from Blockbuster last night. It’s pretty funny and I especially like all the LA lifestyle curiosities. It’s crude, though, be sure to check your prudishness at the door! We started watching it as an unspoken agreement to “avoid doing our taxes for yet another week”. It’s working so we have in fact accomplished something this week!

On Thursday I took the kids to the nursery with me. Not to drop them off or exchange them for other kids, ha ha, the PLANT nursery, people. Two of the three of us had an especially grand time playing the “hide from Mummy” game in the maze of perennials and bushes. See I like to throw words like perennials in there to show how knowledgeable I am about plants. $75 later, we had a trunk full of herbs, several varieties of flowers that I should know the names of but sadly I do not – let’s refer to them as the “yellows” and the “pinks”, two climbing clematis for the trellis thing in the huge planter tub, and a “blah-beddy-blah japonica” bush for my large blue pot. That is of course the latin name. I was on the deck happily up to my elbows in soil, planting those bad boys, when Mike came out and said, “Preparing for the annual plant kill?” POP – there went my Martha moment. I’ll have you know that it has been 4 days since they went in, and nothing has died yet. In fact, they are all beautiful. Nyah nee nyah.

Our big task of the day on Friday was to drop off Jack’s passport application. Check – mission accomplished! This time, I wasn’t an exhausted bawling wreck. It only took an hour and we should have his passport in a couple of weeks. Whew. On the way out of the office, we had to cross this field to where we parked the car. Passport Canada has chosen the sketchiest part of Surrey to locate themselves, but they have built a very nice fountain in the back. The kids thought it was great and ran screaming around the other side of this very large and loud fountain. They were absolute angels in the passport office so I was ok with them burning off steam outside UNTIL I could no longer see them. UNTIL I realized what part of Surrey we were in. UNTIL I remembered the crazy lady who had been performing some sort of semi-nude sun-dancing in the field as we entered the office an hour earlier. UNTIL I remembered that the security officers who are ALWAYS in the Passport lobby were suspiciously absent when we got out of the elevators. And as I rounded the edge of the fountain, I saw my lovely children, playing in the spray of the fountain, oblivious to that fact that they were right smack dab in the middle of a drug bust. This voice came out of somewhere deep in my belly: “Boys! To me! NOW” and they ran to me and I believe I teleported them to the car. Or something. Come to think of it, I may have come close to being arrested myself for possible child abuse as I dragged them across the field at light speed. This mama bear protects her cubs.

We have had wonderful hot weather this past weekend and I am loving it. I got two early birthday dinners. My parents had us over on Saturday and as I had spent the day scrubbing our decks and our patio furniture (it all looks awesome by the way), I was happy to collapse exhausted into their garden and watch the boys play in the paddling pool. We had a great chicken BBQ and a strawberry shortcake dessert. Yum. And a gift certificate to lululemon (hello, lulu, be seeing you soon!!) which I can’t wait to use. On Sunday I filled out our summer calendar with things like trips to the zoo, camping, Whistler weekends, waterparks... and then got treated by Susan to a gigantic dinner at Cactus Club. We all ate like pigs and then scarfed down dessert too.

I realized this morning that our Science World memberships run out in June. And that today is June 30th. So after collecting the boys from Dive Deep Detectives camp we had a quick lunch and zipped off for one last hurrah. It’s a great place, and the kids love it, but with E in school fulltime next year, and J now old enough to require me actually paying for him, I’m not going to renew the membership. I’ll put the $100 towards my lululemon day instead, ha ha. Anyway it was fun, and we rode in on the Skytrain – a Big Deal for the boys and definitely Old News for me. It was hot again today and I somehow thought it would be a good idea to pick up a bag of frozen chicken at Costco on the way home from the park and ride. So I spent the drive home with the chicken stuffed in the passenger side foot area, with all the A/C blasting at the feet and me sweating from the waist up, just so the chicken wouldn’t thaw before we got home. (It worked, in case you were wondering)

We got our Green Earth Organics delivery again today. It is just so exciting to open up that box and paw through all the fresh goodies. Here is a sample of what we got:
The days that I receive it are always the best dinner days. Tonight we had a fresh salad with just about every chopped vegetable imaginable, homemade dressing, grilled chicken on top, and a garlic baguette on the side. And as I was stuffing all this delicious produce into my fridge, the Pillsbury Crescent Rolls can fell out and exploded on the floor so we had croissants for dessert too.

I’m going to wish you all a Happy Canada Day – we’re celebrating tomorrow at Eliot’s with the kids and a bunch of friends. We’re going to grill some stuff and wander down to the celebrations where we get to see Loverboy for free! And they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch - O Canada!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #3

1. Birthdays are exciting, fun, and coming in 7 sleeps!
2. Every season is my favorite season because each has something awesome to offer – spring is fresh and new, summer is long and lazy, fall is crisp and leafy, and winter is cold but cozy.
3. I feel my best when I am feeling fit and healthy.
4. Nachos and pie is my favorite food!
5. First impressions are usually bang-on.
6. The best piece of advice I ever received was always wear a clean pair of knickers because you just never know.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to chillin’ with a G&T, tomorrow my plans include yoga in the morning and Sunday, I want to have a great dinner at Susan’s!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #3

Thirteen Things I'd like for my birthday - and I do accept gift cards of any sort ;-)

1. Recliner lawn chair – because I need a lounger for all the relaxing I get to do outside. Hmph. Yeah.
2. Pudding basin – because I LOVE rice pudding and I would like to make it the authentic English way, in a basin. Once I have the basin I can also make other yummies like Summer Pudding.
3. Tea cozy – because I am getting OLD and old folk need stuff like this.
4. Salad spinner – because I am too cheap to replace the one I have.
5. Stylish ladies' briefcase or tote that will hold my laptop – because I am SICK of carrying my stuff to work in a masculine leather briefcase.
6. Long running pants (and I mean long) – because my only running pants are above the ankle which would be useful in a FLOOD, but not so much in the winter when you want your legs warm the WHOLE way down.
7. Running shorts with built-in knickers – because I’ve been running in mine since 2000. They’re my favourite, and a tough act to follow, but 8 years of use is a little much.
8. Running socks – because my current pairs are worn through and not just any old socks will do.
9. Book Club books – Religion for Dummies (by Gellman & Hartman), Sarah: A Novel (by Marek Halter), Into the Wild (by John Krakauer) – especially Religion for Dummies because I need to get smarter about the world’s religions.
10. Ticket to San Diego to visit Nancy – because I deserve to visit my old friend.
11. A weekend off – because I am tired of ranking FOURTH among four people and would like to be alone so I can be number one again.
12. Ski boots, helmet, gloves, and jacket – because my boots are ancient and hurt, I have no helmet to protect my melon, my gloves date to my early twenties and were never warm to begin with, and my jacket was a knockoff and it’s starting to fall apart. I realize I’m out of season here, but something needs to be done before next season.
13. Something at Casbah Spa – because I just LOVE that place and it loves me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is Summer Finally Here?

I think it may be here. Shhh – whisper now, in case you scare it away, but it has been sunny now for almost four days. Summer? Is that you? I hardly recognize you! Wait... don’t run away... I didn’t mean to scare you off!!!
With the advent (finally) of nice weather, I have seen an alarming amount of toes this week. Let me stop right here and say that I have a thing about feet. Not a weird kinky thing; a “can’t stand ‘em” kind of a thing. The only feet I like are my own. Most feet out there are tolerable, but occasionally I’ll run into a pair that just make me cringe. You can cover them up all winter long, but once I’ve met them I will never forget them. Summer dress code is in effect at work now, so capris and open toe shoes are fair game. I was dreading today but I have to report that all the ladies at work have very nice feet, as far as feet go. Mine are looking particularly lovely at the moment due to a nice iridescent opal colour I pedi’d on last night. There are a few other feet I have met lately that would benefit from a little attention.

I just got home from playing tennis with 25 Club. None of us had played in ages, with the exception of Kim. She crammed in a game with her husband last weekend just to put us all to shame tonight! It was still a lot of fun and reminded us of old times, when Marzia and I used to play once a week or so while we were living in New West. Which is exactly what 25 Club was for, to reminisce about our pre-marriage, pre-kid years, and still have fun doing all the things we used to do when we were 25. I am so thankful to still have these great friends through all these years. I celebrate my 35th birthday next week - presents are welcome any time ;-) and that will bring us to the point where I have known some of my 25 Clubbers for 25 years. Can you even believe it? Am I really that old?

Speaking of old, I have been dabbling in golf lately. The company tournament was a lot of fun. Rajie and I were collectively terrible, but our foursome was completed by Andy and Wayne, who have about 85 years of golf experience between them. To say that they carried us through the day would be an understatement. Luckily with the Texas Scramble rules, we were able to take the best ball and all play from that spot. I actually was very close to getting the ladies’ longest drive – fluked out on that hole – and was the designated putter of my group due to some success in that area. I think the gentlemen were flattering me, but whatever – I’ll take it!

Kindergarten fun day was on Monday. The teachers had a bunch of different stations planned – bubbles, dancing to music, chalk drawing, face painting, beanbag toss, sand relay, golf... guess which parent got stuck manning the “Build things with Rocks” station? Yeah, woo hoo. Try to make that exciting for the kids. There were five of the fist-sized rocks; the rest was the gravel that you normally run right over. I actually was trying to juggle rocks by the end of the morning to try to keep their attention. Can you see me in the background here, all comfy and cozy in the GRAVEL?
The kids overall had a blast (but were puzzled by the rock station), and Madame included Jack in the day – super exciting for him. Ethan chaperoned him around to all the stations while I was, you know, building ROCKS, and he was a great older brother. Then they had snacks and we all cried when we gave Madame the end-of-year scrapbook the kids had done. She was a great teacher – who will miss her more, Ethan or me?

Tomorrow is Ethan’s last day of kindergarten and Jack’s last day of his first preschool year. I feel like it’s been a pretty momentous year for them both. They’ve grown by leaps and bounds and have really accomplished a lot this year. I’m just so proud of them!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Fill-ins #2

1. A smile is what I need right now.
2. Cranium is my favorite board or card game.
3. I would love to have more time in my life and less stress.
4. When I think of the Summer Solstice, I think of barefoot weirdos with flowers in their hair dancing around to celebrate Midsummer.
5. I just remembered I need to call my dad.
6. One of my favorite song lyrics goes like this: Let it Be.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to sleeping off this sore throat, tomorrow my plans include seeking the sun and meeting friends for dinner at Tio Pepe’s and Sunday, I want to not embarrass myself at the company golf tournament!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #2

Today I have Thirteen of my Pet Peeves for you:

1. Gas prices. It cost over $93 to fill my tank this week. It's been a while since I got a full tank since the Chevrons near me all cut the fill off at $70. Obviously with gas at $1.58 per litre, $70 is nowhere near enough for my V6. Now, instead of choosing Yes to the Fill? question, I say no and get it to authorize for $100. Sigh. I know Americans are complaining about gas being over $4 per gallon, but there are four litres in a gallon, people. If you do the math, Canadian gas is over $6 per gallon now.

2. My neighbours have built this on their deck. Which pisses me off immensely.

3. Certain 5-1/2 year old boys who are still having “accidents” almost daily. How can the 4 year old have such good bladder control and the older one still have so many difficulties? It’s pure laziness, I think. And we have tried taking privileges away and nothing seems to be working. I make him go every two hours, and still. Laundry, laundry, laundry.

4. I am peeved at certain people in my household who choose to stay up all night and then come to bed at, oh, let’s just say, 5 am, which of course wakes me up a full hour and 15 minutes before the alarm at 6:15. This is even more peevesome (peevish?) because I was up late playing Rock Band and dude, this rock star could have used that extra hour and 15. I already knew I was pushing it for a worknight, but c’mon!

5. Right now I’m a little ticked at having to clean the house prior to the cleaning lady coming. Because right now the house is too messy for her to clean. Because right now every other (male) member of this household who together are collectively responsible for 98% of the mess are currently conveniently otherwise engaged.

6. Peeve: why can’t every day with the boys be as magical as last Sunday was? It was just a lot of fun to all hang out; Mike and his dad got to golf while me and the boys went out to lunch and the activity centre before meeting up with them, and we just had so much fun together.

7. My sore throat. It hurts to swallow. Wah, wah, I know. Cry me a River.

8. Have I mentioned the weather lately? All right, so we’ve had a FEW sunny patches, but it’s still freezing most of the time. Sunday was the exception – it got to 26 degrees in Whistler. I was very happy.

9. The fact that I can’t even get done folding one set of laundry before the next load begins. Here’s my bed right now:

And Wait, there’s more to do!

10. Why, when somebody cleans the kitchen, does that somebody leave the food remnants in the sink/garburetor? Everything else is stashed in the dishwasher or gleaming in the drying rack, but there are two things that this somebody NEVER does. Grind up the food (it can get stinky, you know) and put away the oven mitts. They go in the same place every time, Mr. Somebody. I’m just telling you indirectly through my blog so you can discreetly come upstairs and grind up, mister.

11. While I’m talking to Mr. Somebody, I may as well mention pet peeve #11 – toenail clippings in the toilet. It wouldn’t kill you to flush them, then your wife wouldn’t freak out and think she’s got worms.

12. That I didn’t eat more of Erin’s fabulous Banana Cake with Chocolate icing yesterday when I had the chance. I would have even scraped the remnants up off the plate if I thought I could get away with it.

13. I am waiting for the 2010 Olympic volunteer people to call back. They called yesterday at 3 pm to do my phone interview (while I was at work) and Mike suggested they phone back same time today. I have literally been sitting at my phone since 2 pm, just in case, (it’s 4:30 now) and they still haven’t phoned. I even prepped the boys by saying, “As soon as the phone rings, I am flipping on Treehouse and there will be NO talking to me until I hang up the phone.” I am really anxious and I hope desperately to be part of the volunteer efforts of the games.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wordful Wednesday

In the blogosphere, there is a trend to do Wordless Wednesdays where you just post a picture and ask for comments. However; there are a lot of words swirling around in my head today so I’m just gonna puke them out.
One thing I laughed my head off at this week: I was talking to another mom at school and we were sharing our frustrations about our boys not listening. Her son asks her “why?” about 50 times a day. They were in the car and she had tried to answer his whys over and over again, and eventually asked for quiet. He persisted, and she finally asked, “What part of quiet don’t you understand?” He replied “the ‘QU’”! That’s just classic; she had no choice but to laugh.

Last week we were playing Opposites Day. We usually say things like “Oh, I’m NOT hungry at all”, “There’s NO school today” or “I really DON'T want to go play”. Jack took it up a notch by turning to me and saying, “Mummy, you’re a BASTER!” (That’s not bay-ster as in turkey baster, it’s bah-ster as in bastard.) I gasped and in the shocked silence, Ethan whispers, “It’s OK, Mummy, it’s opposites day – you’re not REALLY a baster!” Why, thanks Ethan. And my parents thank you too.

Here are two things I did last night that I am proud of. Can you guess which one I am MORE proud of?

Choice A: I took a golf lesson last night in preparation for our company tournament this weekend. Prior to last night, I would swing at least 4 times to even connect with the ball once. And then, there was no telling where or how far the shot would go. After just 5 minutes with the pro last night, I only missed three times in a bucket and a half’s worth of balls! Not only that, but I consistently hit it 70 – 90 yards (with my irons) and in the same spot almost every time. We’ll see what happens on Sunday but it was $25 and an hour well spent.

Choice B: I rigged up the microphone into Mike's bike’s bottle cage and propped the bike up in front of me so I could sing and play guitar simultaneously in Rock Band. But that’s not even the best (nerdiest) part of it – I averaged 99% on vocals AND 95% on guitar for three songs! AND I found out that out of all the hundreds of thousands of people registered, I rank about 1500 for my rendition of Epic by Faith No More. If you have ever heard me sing, you may well be snickering right now – but the evidence is there.

So, choice A or choice B? Sadly, I am more proud of choice B. I chose the video game.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday Fill-ins

Friday Fill-ins are a tradition I learned about from my friend Cathy. I hope to do this most weeks! The bold text is what is provided to you by the website, then you fill in the rest!
1. Visiting a country for every letter of the alphabet is high up on my bucket list. I only have 8 letters left!
2. My favorite quote is “Success is my only mother-@#$%ing option; failure’s not!”; it's from Eminem. (Betcha didn’t see that one coming from l’i ole wholesome me!)
3. Ethan and Jack inspired me to start blogging.
4. Strawberries are best when you pick them straight off the plant and pop them in your mouth, fragrant and warm from the sun.
5. Last night’s special, featuring characters from the book I’m reading who were participating in Ethan’s sports day, is the last dream I remember having.
6. The most enjoyable time to go for a walk is in the snow, when you’re all cozy and bundled up, and you know there’s a hot chocolate at the end of it.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to the kids going to bed, tomorrow my plans include heading up to Whistler and Sunday, I want to help the kids give Mike a happy Father’s Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #1

Thirteen things I did before driving the boys to school this morning:
  1. Realized as Ethan gave me a full-body hug that his head was up to my nose and his feet stretched to my shins. When did he get so big?
  2. Wished for an extra hour of sleep
  3. Prepared two breakfasts and two snacks and grabbed one Happy Planet from the fridge for yours truly
  4. Single-handedly managed one crying bleeding child and one screaming apple tantrum simultaneously
  5. Coloured a yellow apple with a red food colouring pen so that Ethan would take it for snack – yes, I seriously DID this
  6. Applied a Backyardigans bandaid to Jack’s injured finger
  7. Assembled envelope for E’s teacher’s end-of-year present with scrapbook page inside
  8. Pondered what to do with the two hours that both boys will be in school and decided on a nap – which I know I will never do, but it’s fun to dream
  9. Opened mail from yesterday and found my new driver’s licence – and I actually LIKE the picture
  10. Got dressed. Notice I didn’t say Showered and Dressed because I didn’t have time for the shower this morning. See items 4 through 6.
  11. Gave the boys a bath, helped them with soap (skipped shampoo) and towel, then threw clothes at them until somehow miraculously they were dressed
  12. Repeated 18 times, “Hurry, or we’ll be late”
  13. Forgot to put on makeup before driving them so now all the kindergarten and preschool moms know how freaky I really look in the mornings

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Great Break and Enter Escapade

Today I spent an extremely enjoyable (!) 2 ½ hours breaking into Ethan’s bedroom. You see, his doorknob broke last week, and I thought to myself, “I should get the screwdriver and take that doorknob off before someone locks themselves in there.” Sadly, that thought disappeared when I was on my way downstairs to get the screwdriver. I did remember to tell the boys not to shut Ethan’s door ever, but it was insane to count on them remembering. The thought reappeared when we were out for our anniversary dinner and Susan was babysitting – as in oops, she could lock him in. Then – poof – thought gone again. I was downstairs today while the kids were playing upstairs (and let me interject here to say how well they’ve been playing together since Portugal; they’re really getting along well) when Ethan called, “Mummy I think I have accidentally locked my door!” Oh S#*t.

Sure enough it was stuck. There are no screws on the hall side of the doorknob, nor are there any bolts or anything to remove the door from its hinges. Now if we were having any sort of a freaking summer, the boys’ windows would be open and the problem would have been solved in approximately 1 minute – I could have zipped out Jack’s and into Ethan’s. But, it’s still 9 degrees so the windows have not been opened once this year – they’re locked, baby. There began my ordeal. There is a finger’s worth of clearance underneath the door. My challenge was to find something that could fit through there that was long enough to reach the doorknob on the other side, because that side still works. I knew right away the combo that would work – my Halloween lantern hanger and the Lightning McQueen tent poles. However, it was pretty difficult to hook the doorknob, so I tried a bunch of other things too. It was only after skinning all my knuckles and a full 2 ½ hours that I went back to the original and through some insane jiggling and hooking it worked. I almost let go, too, because I forgot to push the door at the crucial stage. I thought, “Oh I guess it didn’t work again” and luckily the lightning flashed at that moment and I went “Oh yeah I need to push the door too” and miracle of all miracles, it opened.

Now this is Ethan’s door:

Let me show you the tools I used in my McGyver afternoon:

Please note the successful implement in the centre of your photo. Please also note the most important tool in the lower right. That would be my Malibu and Coke.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Moody Monday

“Every other day, every other day,
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin' all of the time” – The Mamas and the Papas

“There's just one thing
That I just can't stand
I can't stand the rain” – Tina Turner but my favourite version was from the Commitments soundtrack

That about sums it up. I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. Add in a GRUMPY Ethan (sorry but he deserved capital letters this morning), and the chilliest, long-lasting rain that June has ever seen. It’s currently 9 degrees, people! (For my faithful few American blog-watchers, that’s barely 50 Farenheit) Come ON! Normally, I am the one who looks on the bright side when people complain about the weather. “Hey, that’s why I love Vancouver – it’s so green!” or “I’m a BC girl; I don’t melt!” and other such perky sayings. Now I realize how darn annoying I have been. This weather sucks and I am done with it. My bones need a 30 degree day like you would not believe. (Think 90, Americans) I am currently cuddled up in a blanket with a hot drink (my 3rd hot drink of the day) and I’m freezing. Sigh. I hate Mondays.

I would like to show you Exhibit A: What the boys were wearing outside in February:

And now here is Exhibit B: What the boys are wearing in JUNE:

Enough said.

Ethan and Jack are currently addicted to MarioKart on the Wii. It’s a very cute driving/racing game and they’re quite good at it. We normally will only let them play a maximum of once a day, but today I had to let them play again. Ethan campaigned really hard: “Mummy, I’ve been thinking, and it’s not like we can play outside today or anything, so I really think you should relax on the couch with a blanket while we play MarioKart.” Who am I to argue with that logic?

Kim came over for lunch today and I made us some yummy chicken quesadillas with guacamole. Oops, did I just toot my own horn there? Well, honk, honk. They were good. Now I have to figure out what dinner’s going to be. I have a thousand ideas but sadly they all involve actually getting off the couch.

A soggy goodbye for now! – T.