Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Random Thoughts About Me

So I was tagged.

Thanks, Theresa. I mean that.

I whined at her and she gave me a free pass, but now I'm feeling guilty and to be perfectly honest, I started wondering if I could come up with 25 thoughts. About me.

Plus the cable was installed today and with two salivating teenagers and an enamoured Husband googling over images in high definition, I have as much chance of choosing a show to watch as I have a chance of winning the Mrs. America title.

But at least it means I got ownership of the laptop.

So here we go.

25 Random Thoughts About Me

1. I got married at the ripe age of 20. It's been a wild ride, and my heart still flutters at the sound of my husband's voice on the other end of the phone.

2. I had a cat named Fat Albert. He used to suck on my neck. I still tear up thinking about him and he's been gone for 18 years.

3. I want my house to be picture perfect. It rarely is.

4. My whole life all I wanted was to be a Mom. I had no idea how hard this job would be. Or that I would be parenting a 17 year old and 2 year old at the same time. I have all the patience in the world when I work with other people's children. But not my own. And that is humiliating.

5. I dream of having at least one children's book published. I got close once.

6. Words fly through my brain as I drift off to sleep each night. I see words on the page. I always think I should get up and write them down but convince myself that I'll remember certain phrasing in the morning. I don't.

7. I was almost stabbed in the hand with a pencil. I'm proud of my quick reflexes that avoided an injury. Who knew that someone in grade 2 could hate math that much?

8. My husband and I have moved 11 times in our marriage. And we've never hired a mover. The best move was when I cut myself on a box and got blood poisoning. It meant I couldn't do any more packing.

9. I am an anxious person. I worry about stuff big and small allllll the time. One of my first memories is worrying about something. I had panic attacks in college. It is one of my biggest demons.

10. Speech and language fascinate me. I would have become a speech pathologist if I was better in the sciences. My brain is not 'well' wired for speech. I was a very late talker. All four of our children were late talkers. It's probably one of the reasons I love writing. I can get my thoughts out in a relatively coherent train of thought. I can't tell a story but I can write one.

11. My entire life has been spent with people telling me I look younger than I truly am. In grade 5 a relative asked me if I was going into grade 2. I got carded at the liquor store at the ripe age of 34 years old. It has always irritated me. I have never felt like people think I'm a real adult.

12. The irony of looking younger than my age is that I started going grey at the age of 15.

13. I'm already shrinking. I used to be 5'2". Now I'm 5'1".

14. I was named Colleen because I was born on St. Patrick's Day. I was destined to love the colour green. And marry a man of Irish heritage.

15. I knew I was meant to work with children with autism the day I was driving home from work and I realized I hadn't thought about how much money I had just earned.

16. I have a hard time making friends. I always think people won't want to talk to me or spend time with me. And I suck at small talk. Please refer to #10.

17. I cry at the drop of a hat. I wish I had better control over it. It's embarrassing.

18. I love coffee. I love tea. I love rum.

19. I hated beer until I was pregnant with our fourth child. Then I craved it like no one's business (no, I didn't drink any). A beer was the first thing I had when we got home from the hospital with the Baby. I have loved it ever since.

20. Giving birth to our fourth child was one of the scariest moments of my entire life. I had nightmares afterwards for months. I still have no idea why she's ok. God was present that day.

21. I hate the sound of people chewing. Like nails on a chalkboard.

22. I have an insane, INSANE fear of the dentist.

23. I love musicals. LOVE them.

24. I love to bake. Cooking? Not so much.

25. I devour books. Nothing is better than reading a great book to escape life. I love old authors like A.J. Cronin, L.M Montgomery, Betty Smith and Jane Erye.

There. I did it. That was way harder than I thought.

And so now I'm suppose to tag 25 people. Do I know 25 people?

Seeing as how I struggle with this (refer to point #16) I think I shall leave this one open to those who want to join in.


And This Is What Happens When.....

So the Husband and I are going out tomorrow night.

A real date.

More to the point, we're going out with a couple that we haven't been in contact with for, oh, about 6 years.

Enter two zits on my upper lip.

Yes, God. I am trying to work on my pathetic anxieties about my personal appearance. It's not like I've got a lot to work with, here. Well. Actually I have way too much to deal with around my arse, hips and thighs and not nearly enough on the upper half of my body, but you know what I'm saying. With a 40th birthday looming, no....STALKING me, the wrinkles and basically everything sliding down my body at an alarming rate is really quite enough to keep me humble.

The zits were really not necessary.

And for the record, this is what happens when you're being neurotic in front of the mirror and have left the 14 year Boy in charge of things.

I filled up that sugar bowl yesterday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What Does a Person Have to Do to Get Cable Installed in This Joint???

Tell it to me straight, Mom.

Something happened during my birth. Was there a surprise lighting storm that hit the hospital? An electrical malfunction? A radioactive doctor?

I just want to know.

I'm the one who burns out light bulbs when I flip the switch. They explode with a spectacular zap and flash.

When I walk or drive past street lights, they shut off. Then turn back on when I'm 200 feet or so away.

And when I deal with companies that use any sort of electrical component, wires get crossed, spliced, diced and spit out at my feet.

The Gateway saga came to a surprisingly anti climatic finish last week, with the arrival of our new video card. The worst I can say is my heart started pounding at the sight of "keyboard" written on the box but nestled within lay a beautifully shiny new video card. It works and everything.

I truly had hoped that it was to be the end of poor communication with stinking big, huge and enormous companies.

Enter Shaw.

They thought otherwise. I am to be their new poster child for "Putting the Mis in Communication." I didn't realize I had applied for the job, and let me tell you, the pay sucks.

All I wanted was cable installed. Isn't that what Shaw Cable does? Installs cable TV? That's why I called the company. Asked them to please come to my humble abode and do what they do best and make Family Channel appear on our TV.

I'd wait. Sure I'd wait. I know they want my business, but I'd wait. And wait. You know what? I wanted them to come and install cable so bad, I let them schedule an evening appointment that was two weeks away. And it would still be ok when the techy guy showed up and told me he wished they would stop scheduling evening appointments to install cable, 'cause it's kinda hard for him to see in the dark and all, and I wasn't going to be watching Jack Bauer kill 18 bad guys with his bare hands and a piece of guitar wire that night.

I'd wait another 9 days. I was just sitting around waiting for that video card anyways. And while I was waiting, Shaw could phone my cell asking when I wanted to schedule an appointment to install my cable. I wouldn't lose faith in their company. No. Not yet.

But when they phone after making me wait around for 4 hours on a sunny morning and tell me they won't be coming after all, something will snap. Explode. Combust.

Because the customer service representatives don't know what the heck they are talking about.

Depending on who you talk to at Shaw, if you're exchanging your old satellite receiver and dish for a new cable box, you either have to do nothing, take off the arm of the satellite or take down the entire satellite dish.

The latest answer is to you have to take down the entire dish.

The previous night's answer was to only take down the arm of the dish.

Three weeks ago, the answer was to sit and drink a latte while the technician did everything. In the dark. Including taking the dish down himself.

We'll see what tomorrow brings. Or doesn't. Nothing will surprise me at this point.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ode to Bear Dog

When the Husband and I had been married for a brief 5 years and we were a month away from completing the gestation of the Boy, a small ball of brown fluff joined our little family.

The puppy was christened, "Teddy Bear" by the almost 3 year old Eldest daughter. He did look like a teddy bear as a puppy. But the name was soon shortened. To Bear. All 7 pounds of him.

Bear had a few names. Bear dog, of the Husband's friends affectionately called him 'Punt' and bugged Hubby about getting a real dog one day. And my 6' 1" Husband called the dog Buddy and Buddy Boy. Only the Husband called him that.

For 14 and a half years, Bear worshipped the hallowed ground that the Husband walked upon. 14 and a half years of greeting the Husband as he walked in the door after a long day at work. 14 and a half years of the Husband letting him out to pee just before heading to bed. Years of cuddling on laps, dancing for treats, play wrestling with the cat, throwing up in car rides that were longer than 10 minutes, and carrying around a stuffed animal that was half his size.

As the years passed, Bear became the part of the family that seemed like it had always been there. Been there through moves, family additions, sadness, happiness, holidays, and trips to Grandma's house. As time moved on, and Bear grew older, he became the dog who was curled up by the fire, or under the table in the living room, or curled up by the door, waiting for the Husband to return home.

The past few weeks, he became the dog who was curled up under our bed, sleeping most of the day away. But no matter where he slept, he was still in the kitchen at the first sound of a plate being scraped or the pantry door being opened because that's where his cookies were kept. He still had it in him to steal the 90 pound dog's bones. And Bryn, the massive black dog would stand there, towering over Bear, looking forlornly at her bone as that 7 pound dog tried to chew on it with his last few teeth.

On Friday, I cooked up some bits of chicken for the Bear to eat. When he walked away from his little food dish, chicken untouched, I knew the day was near.

On Saturday, when he wouldn't come out from under our bed, I called for the Husband. And the Husband lovingly brought him out and we bathed that little dog who was too tired to get up to go outside to go to the bathroom. We put him in his bed by the fire and blow dried his hair till he was warm and dry.

Saturday night was a night for 'last time's. His last cuddle on the Husband's lap. His last sleep by the fire, his last drinks of water through a plastic syringe because he was too weary to drink from a bowl brought to his lips. It was a night of the Husband lying next to him by the fire, with the Bear dog lying there and looking lovingly at the Husband who was his best buddy in the world. And the Eldest and I sitting close by, petting him at times and letting him know it was ok to go to sleep.

And in the wee hours of Sunday morning, he passed away. A life well lived. And our family feels different.

A little dog who's bark was as irritating as nails down a chalk board. A dog who had horrible breath. A dog who looked like a little old man, liver spots showing through his patchy hair, his nails clicking on the linoleum as he walked through the kitchen. A little dog who I had to let out 30 times a day and who's yap had grown so high pitched it hurt your ears when it went off at the sound of any bump or thump in a 2 mile radius. A little dog who was becoming incontinent. A little dog who used to lick the Husband's feet. As soon as the Husband would take off his socks, that dog would be over there like a shot and his pink tongue would be jutting out between the Husband's everyone's disgust but the Husband's. A little dog who still enjoyed life's simple pleasure of toe jam.

A little dog who helped teach my children about life's circle. Of life and death. Of grieving and remembering. Of life continuing on, despite the little hole that is now there.

We buried Bear in my parent's back yard, among other loved family pets. As the Husband shoveled dirt back into the hole, the Baby stood close by, waving at the hole and said, "Bye Bear! Bye Bear!" The Princess stood there with tears streaming down her face, and I stood there, my arms around the Boy and the Eldest.

The sun was shining brightly. Ribbons of clouds brushed against the blue sky as we said goodbye and the Princess told Bear to have lots of fun in Heaven.

Bye, Bear dog, you will be missed.

Clue #2

Ok, even the Husband didn't guess with my first brilliant clue.

So, here's the second clue:

I owe Tentative Equinox 17 cents.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Can You Guess?

10 points to the person who can guess why the 90 pound dog started barking today.

No clue?

Here's a hint.

hint hint hint hint hint hint hint

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Lovely Day

I was driving in the ol' purple minivan, in an endless pursuit of errands. The Princess was sitting in the back, looking out the window, her mind elsewhere.

Lucky for us, the radio has decided to work again. Mostly. Well, if you drive over a bump a horrible crackling snapping sound happens, and sometimes it won't stop, even if you turn the radio off.

Do you think that's normal?

But, like I said. The radio works again.

The song "Amazing Grace" started playing on the radio while we drove through the endless fog we've been experiencing around these parts. Thirty seconds into the song, the Princess said,

"This song makes my nose all tickley inside and I feel like I'm going to start to cry. It's just so beautiful."

She's almost 7. Music has been a part of her very being since her birth. She loves to sit on her window seat, tucked in amongst her beloved stuffies and pillows made by her Grandma. And she writes songs. And her heart sings along.

I found a song she had written over the Christmas holidays. It's written in the usual Princess hieroglyphics. I'll translate it for you. It kind of sums up my day today.

A Lovely Day Today

I am very happy today
Because I am having a great time
At my house.

I hope that you
Are having a great time
At your house today, too.

It is a lovely day

A dun dun dun.

I love the last line.

I hope you had a great day too.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Not the Brightest Bulb at Work Moment

Tentative Equinox suggested I check out Pearl, Why You Little...

Brilliant blog. I laugh. I laugh. I laugh. And she wears the glasses I want.

Today's post Someone's To Blame for This (and It's Probably Me!) got me to thinking about some of my not so perfect moments in the working world. I know, it's hard to believe, but yes, I used to work. And yes, I was not perfect at my craft.

I like the idea of us bloggers publicly admitting we're not perfect. As I've said in an earlier post, I've grown weary of perfect people living in their perfect blogs. Nothing says, "I'm human" like messing up. And boy, am I human.

So I'm starting the ball rolling. Well, I guess Pearl started it, but I caught the ball with my face and am running away with it.

Oh. Also. Mom, if you're reading this, I apologize in advance. I know you tried to raise me better than what you're about to read.

(And oh, on a serious side note. This story is in no way to make fun of someone with a disability. It is only to show me in a pathetic light. Every person I have ever worked with in the world of autism has a piece of my heart and I want to make sure you all know that. I miss being inspired by their determination and perseverance every day. Each child taught me many lessons....when I was the one who was suppose to be teaching them a thing or two.)

So, as I was saying, I used to work. I worked with children with autism within the school system and in home based therapy programs. I also taught some basic therapy workshops for new therapists and families who were just starting home based programs for their children.

I was brilliant at ignoring comments made to me about having coffee breath, but throw a video camera in front of me and I was bound to muck things up.

Case in point.

I was about 2 hours into a training session that was being videotaped. I was discussing the finer points of redirecting inappropriate behaviour to a more appropriate behaviour. The example I was using to illustrate my point was about a boy who flapped his hands and the goal was to redirect his hands to a more socially appropriate behaviour. In this instance, the child loved those stress relieving squishing balls and long story short, he had one in each pocket and when he used his hands in an inappropriate way, he was redirected to squeeze a squishy ball. There's way more to the discussion than that, but, you get the gist of it.

So after I had done a fabulous job explaining the behavioural science behind the procedure, blah blah blah....yadayadayada....I said,

"So, instead of flapping his hands, you can see how it's more socially appropriate for him to have his hands in his pocket and play with his balls."

Did I mention it was being videotaped?

So I did what any person in my shoes would do. I looked at my watch and declared that it was time for a break, then hid in the family's bathroom for about 10 minutes banging my head again the wall and wondering where I could find a large enough magnet to nonchalantly walk past the video camera and erase the tape.

My lame excuse is that I was pregnant and didn't yet know it. My hypothesis is that I had no blood circulating in my brain that day as every drop in my body was busy growing a placenta. The only positive I could spin out of the blunder was at least I didn't say it in front of the entire school staff where I worked. I was scheduled to give a talk there the following month.

Did I mention that I worked at a private Christian school?

And yes, I used a different example for explaining redirection of inappropriate behaviour when I gave my talk the following month. Which is kinda funny when you think about it. I ended up redirecting myself from inappropriate behaviour.

So dear readers, the ball is in your court. Take the ball and run with it. Share with all of us in this very public forum your 'not the brightest bulb at work' moment. And if you have a blog, I dare you to tell the world there. Just leave a link in my comments section.

(If this was a really perfect blog, I suppose I would put up a Mr. Linky but to be honest, this entry has taken me about 5 hours to complete, what with the delivering of the Boy's newspapers since he's sick, getting him glasses of water, taking the dog out to pace around the yard and not pee, and, well, I just broke up about the 18th fight between The Princess and the Baby. I think I'm done for the day. And it's only 2pm. Just keeping it real. And not perfect.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Junior Cooking

Santa brought a junior cooking set for the Baby this past Christmas. It was a pretty cool set, if I do say so myself. All the utensils are actually accurate measurements and it even came with a little cookbook and apron.

Too cute.

It was for ages 3 and up. No, I'm not a bad parent for allowing my 2 and a half year old to access a toy made for a 3 year old. The set also came with an icing bag and assorted tips, so they were a potential choking hazard. Around these parts, the only hazard was that the Baby opened the bag and scattered them across the floor for the 90 lb dog to have for a snack. After prying the dog's jaw open to retrieve the last piece she was hiding under her tongue, I put them away out of the Baby's reach.

But back to the cooking set. I'm pretty sure Santa knew that the Baby wasn't quite ready to use the cooking stuff for 'realsie' but that the Princess would. And boy, Santa was right. The Princess was all over that little cooking set like a 15 year old drools over Edward the vampire.

And so a decision had to be made. What was she going to bake first? The Apple Cinnamon Muffins? The Molasses Surprise? The Peanut Butter Cookies? The Strawberry Delight?

No. She chose the one cake recipe: Maple Syrup Pudding Cake. It wasn't a difficult choice. There's only the 5 recipes in total in the book anyways.

I read the recipe to make sure we had all the ingredients, then looked at the instructions. Which included bringing sugar, water and syrup to a boil on the stove, then pooring (their spelling mistake, not mine) it over the cake mix.

And this was my thought about that. "At what point does someone putting together a children's cookbook with only 5 recipes think it's a good idea for one of those recipes for YOUNG CHILDREN AGES 3 AND UP to include BRINGING SUGAR AND WATER TO A BOIL, THEN POURING IT, and then PICKING UP the cake pan that's filled to the top with just boiled syrup and place it in the oven????"

I tried to convince the Princess that perhaps the Strawberry Delight would be a better option. I liked the directions for that recipe better. Because all young children understand concepts such as, "Incorporate eggs" and "add ingredients to ingredients in step 2 intermittently". My favourite part of that recipe is when it tells the child to take the dough and "roll into good sized balls." I don't even know what size that means. Good sized for throwing? Sticking up your nose? Building a snowman? I have no idea.

But of course the Princess would have nothing to do with the Strawberry Delight. Or the Molasses Surprise. Don't know why, but that name didn't really call out to the kid. No....2 cups of brown sugar mixed with maple syrup sounded right up her alley and SHE was going to bake that. Which translated into she was going to measure the flour and sugar and I was going to bake the rest, eat the only piece of it, and then schedule a dentist appointment for the two new cavities I felt growing.

The pudding cake sat on the counter for two days, untouched, and then I threw it out into the garbage. And decided to hide the cookbook so there would be no more baking fiascoes until I find a kid's cookbook that is truly meant for a child to use.

For realsies.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cranberry Orange Scones

It's time for another episode of:
Cranberry Orange Scones

I've looked at and tried out quite a few cranberry scone recipes. It's hard to find recipes that call for fresh cranberries. Also, I wanted a recipe that wasn't fussy. This house hasn't seen parchment paper or zest of anything since, well, several children ago.

So I ended up conglomerating several recipes into something pretty easy and not too time consuming. Cutting up fresh cranberries takes some time, but you can use a handy tip that my mom taught me. Say a prayer while you're doing something that is mindless and takes a bit of time. Like cutting up lots of little cranberries.


Cranberry Orange Scones


2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup fresh cranberries, chopped

2/3 cup orange juice

2 tsp orange zest (if you've got it and have the time. I never add it.)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Mix dry ingredients together.

3. Add butter and mix until the texture of coarse crumbs.

4. Stir in cranberries, using a spoon.

5. Add orange juice and mix with spoon just until mixture comes together.

6. Empty onto counter and gently form into a rough ball.

7. Press ball into a thick circle.

8. Cut circle in half, then each half into three.

9. Place on doubled baking sheet.

10. Sprinkle with sugar (optional.....I like them iced, but they're great with sugar, too).

11. Bake for 22 minutes, until a light golden brown.

12. When cooled, ice with a thin vanilla or orange glaze if you haven't sprinkled them with sugar.

I always double the recipe and use margarine instead of butter. They're best when made with butter, but at $4 a pound out in these parts......margarine it is!

And now, I'm moving on to start perfecting some lemon scones. I don't think I'll be able to get away with 'zest free' for those.....

Recipes anyone?
** and is anyone else out there having major problems with spacing on blogger? No matter what I do, it won't save the changes I make with the spacing....I give up!!**

And Time Keeps On A Flyin'

The Princess stabbed me in the heart over the weekend.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

The Princess informed me that she wanted to get a new pair of slippers. She wanted to replace these:

because, and I quote, "I'm just not into princesses anymore."

It came out of left field. It was so unexpected. I didn't know what to say. Or do. Or.....anything. Those slippers have history. Those slippers made her cry when she opened them up Christmas before last. She actually broke down and started sobbing at the sight of them and said through her tears, "I'm just so happy!!"

And now they were to be relegated to the closet and the last of her Christmas money spent on these:
Yes. Monkey slippers.

At least they're pink.

And at least I have this one:

who still loves princesses.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The New Look of Motherhood

The Baby and I went to the open gym today. She's been alive for 2 1/2 years and I've never taken her there.

There are two reasons for this.

#1 - She's my fourth child.

#2 - We always go for walks to the variety of playgrounds in our area, plus play in the schoolyard when we pick up the Princess.

Wait. There's a third reason. I'm pretty cheap.

But all this snow and rain and slush and ice drove me to it. I took the Baby to the Loonie Drop In Gym Time at our local rec centre. Ok, they don't actually call it the Loonie Drop In Gym Time, but it does cost one dollar. And Loonie is what we call our dollar coin up here in the Great White North, and, well, how fun would it be to go ask someone to direct you to the 'Loonie Drop In'?

As I was saying, the Baby and I went to the gym. And I aged 17 years as I walked through the doors.

Excuse me....but where were all the Mommys? I saw a lot of young ladies all lined up along the edges of the gym who were busy texting other people There was a caregiver who had her entire daycare there and was most certainly having a hard time supervising all of them. There were several sets of grandparents having a grand time with their grandchildren. And then I saw someone my age.

Yes! I thought. And look! She's holding a newborn. sweet.

And then she handed the newborn back to her daughter. She was another grandma.

The Baby had a great time.

Me? I'm bringing my cane next time so I can hang out with the old folks.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

'THE' Dress

The one in the middle is THE dress.

The picture was taken with my camera phone, so the quality isn't great, and I was standing outside in the rain trying to keep my phone from getting rained on, but, you get the idea.

The Husband is suggesting a large wrap.

The Boyfriend loves it and is going to colour coordinate his attire. I'm hoping that means a pink tie and not a pink tux.

The Eldest is still in love with the dress, which is good considering there's a 20% 'restocking' fee if she changes her mind. I didn't bother asking how you 'restock' a dress that has yet to be made.

Me? I'm still in denial that my baby is finishing high school in June.

And I still love the dress, too.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Grad Dress Shopping 101

Go shopping.

Bring your youngest sister, who is 2 1/2 years older than your daughter.

Watch your daughter try on umpteen dresses.

Find the perfect dress.

Cry at the sight of your first born daughter dressed in pink tulle and satin, with a look on her face that tells you, "This is the one".

Take pictures of the dress so she can put it on Facebook the moment she gets home.

Take out your Visa card.

Pay for the dress.

Get assurances that the dress you have ordered will arrive before June.

Shake head that the size 0 dress you have just ordered may need to be taken in. And you will have to pay for that, too.

Drive home, discussing accessories, shoes and hair styles all the way.

Arrive home.

Blather on to the Husband about the perfect dress.

Squirm around the question, "How much was it?"

Eventually answer, "Well, it wasn't as much as some of the other ones she tried on. And this one is so perfect. It suits her perfectly. Should we order pizza for dinner?"

Show the Husband the picture of 'The Dress' on your cellphone, your daughter's cellphone and your sister's camera.

Pick up the Husband's eyes off the floor after he looks at the strapless dress his baby girl will be wearing.

Wish Time could slow down a little bit.

Just for a while.

Let you catch your breath.


I sat in front of the computer this morning, a cup of coffee in my hand, and my Google reader told me I had 25 unread blog entries.

I looked over the long list and read my favourites first. Then I found myself clicking on some of the links and just marking them as read even though I hadn't really read them.

I'm lying to my Google reader. Is that a sin?

I think it's time for a bit of weeding.

I've started growing disenchanted with some of the blogs I've been reading. The perfectness of their lives is getting on my nerves. Perfect Moms with perfect children. Perfect photography moments and perfect husbands. Perfect meals that they have made from scratch and the pictures to prove it.

I posted my recipe for pumpkin scones once. I tried to take pictures but discovered that the two year old had dropped the camera one too many times and I figured posting pictures of squiggly lines the colour of pumpkin scones wasn't going to add to the whole experience.

So, just like I cleaned the drawer under my oven the day after Christmas (did I mention there was turkey dripping in there? No? Hmmm....must have slipped my mind), I am going to clean my Google reader.

Some (and this is by no means a complete list) will definitely stay.

Confessions of a CF Husband is a blog I've been reading for just over a year now. Miracle upon miracle.

The Dilbert Blog is always a good read. His brain goes to some strange places.

Cake Wrecks is a guaranteed laugh. The cakes are hilarious. Her commentaries are hysterical.

Big Mama is always good for a giggle. And she doesn't make me feel like a pathetic parent.

ProBlogger has some great blogging tips, even for someone like me who doesn't blog to make money. Bonus: It's written with an Australian accent. Well....not's not like he goes around spelling out g'day mate, or anything. But he IS from Australia so you can use your imagination, eh.

Tentative Equinox and Spike is Best are close to my heart. I always read them first.

Bring the Rain is a recommended read for someone who has about 5 hours to start at the beginning. She is an amazing writer who tells her story with such grace and love you cannot read it without wanting to fall to your knees and beg God for just a smidge of her faith. I love her honesty.

And the blogs I'm culling? I'm not that mean to publicly delist them. I'm just at the point where I need to stop feeling like I'm in high school again. I'm turning 40 this year, for crying out loud! It's time to stop comparing my muddle of a life with 'perfect' people. I know they don't exist, but they seem to on their blogs and it's getting to me.

So. How am I going to declutter? Blogs that share the good and the bad stay. Blogs that only share the perfect? I need to take a break from perfect.

And I'd love to hear from you. What blogs have you discovered that you cannot wait for Google reader to tell you they have a new entry?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Making the Big League

I'm proud to tell all of you, my faithful readers, that this little blog has hit the big times.

Yes, I received my first spammy comment. Proof that I've made the big league.

It is my personal opinion that Online Shopping was one of the finer moments on this lovely blog. And the idea that someone way over in New Zealand had read it and taken the time to comment made me feel all warm and cozy.

Until I read the comment. Something about how they think online shopping is really taking off and then leaving a link to their online shopping site.

Don't bother looking. I've deleted the comment.

Great. I don't have enough to clean up around this joint? Now I have to clean my blog too?

I need a coffee.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Trip to the Toy Store

The Princess received a My Littlest Pet Shop set for Christmas. She already has that particular set, and we finally got around to taking it back to the toy store yesterday.

Lay off me. It's been snowin' something awful around these parts. And the toy store is a 30 minute drive away. Or the distance of being asked, "Are we there yet?" 8 times.

So the Princess had $25 and change loaded on a gift card after returning the toy. A vast, huge toy store awaited her decision. We looked at Barbies, My Littlest Pet Shop, babies, games, and Polly Pocket. I shuddered through perusing the High School Musical dolls, the Camp Rock crap and an unbelievable amount of junk with Hannah Montana's mug magically changing a 50 cent piece of plastic into a $10 coveted item.

And what did the Princess choose?

A stuffie. A $7.99 stuffed tortoise shell kitty that meows when you choke it. I mean when you push the button in its upper abdominal cavity.

It was torture for me. She had the whole toy store to choose from. "Are you sure you don't want to look at the Barbies again? Check out the Pet Shops?"

Then I had to stop myself. I'll be honest. I hate stuffies. Hate them. The Princess and Baby's room is coated in stuffies. I try every several months or so to weed through them and try and get the Princess to get rid of a few.....they are everywhere.

But the Princess is not me. She loves stuffies. And I had to stand in that toy store and bite my tongue and stop myself from suggesting a different toy. She didn't even want to go look at getting another item since the cat was only 8 bucks. In her mind, the stuffie was of equal value to the $25 Pet Shop set.

And she loves that new kitten. It has been hooked under her arm since she bought it.

Another parenting moment survived. Allowing my child to have her own preferences is more difficult for me than being puked on or sitting in a moving car with the Eldest at the wheel. Losing 'control' is one of the hardest parts of raising children for me.

I don't want my kids to be exactly like me. One of me is enough in this little family of ours. I want my children to be able to make their own choices, be their own person, have their own dreams. And if choosing a stuffie that meows is my 6 year old's dream, so be it.

So. Another parenting mountain climbed.

And if you were wondering, I would have chosen the sets of Barbie furniture to compliment the 18 Barbies I already had. And they were ON SALE! I would have purchased two and had enough money left over to buy a chocolate bar.

But that's just me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Things You Can Do While on Hold for the Next Representative

"All our representatives are currently serving other customers. If you will please hold the line, a representative will be with you shortly. Thank you for your patience."

Sometimes when on hold with a company, oh, let's say, Gateway, for example, a person has to wait their turn. Even when it's your turn, they might, I mean, perhaps, put you back on hold to speak with level two. It could happen. Level one may not have any record of a shipping order being placed for a shiny new video card. It could happen. Maybe.

So what's a person to do while they're on hold? Perplexing question, I agree.

So let's make a little list, shall we?

  • eat a sandwich

  • put clothes into the dryer

  • start a new load of laundry

  • check your google reader

  • write a comment on someone's blog

  • switch phone to other ear

  • read a new blog

  • decide not to subscribe to new blog....way too perfect

  • look out window at the messy snow

  • watch a guy shovel his stuck car out of the snow - repeatedly

  • say a prayer that the guy doesn't hit the corner of your house while trying to get his car unstuck

  • switch phone to other ear

  • fold some laundry

  • clean stuff off of stairs

  • put batteries that are strewn across counter into the battery charger

  • tell the Boy to feed the dog

  • take the Baby to the potty

  • take toy out of dog's mouth

  • switch phone to other ear

  • check email

  • check time

  • sigh

  • clean assorted toys off of couches

  • fix couch cushions

  • spellcheck 'cushions' and realize the classical music you've been listening to is not making you smarter

  • put coffee table back to its intended position

  • fold some more laundry

  • put the kettle on for tea

  • sneak a peak and smell of pot roast cooking....mmmmmm.

  • make tea

  • empty the dishwasher

  • switch phone to other ear

  • drink tea

And in the blink of an eye, 59 minutes later, you will speak with a Gateway representative, only to be put on hold for another 10 minutes. And he'll come back on the line and tell you the part is still on back order and isn't scheduled to arrive until January 30, so that crick in you neck will be for naught. But you shouldn't worry because they upgraded your shipping, so once they get the part, and test it, and yadayadayada, you'll get it real quick.

My house is looking fairly tidy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Snow Etiquette

We don't see police cruisers around our neck of the woods very often.

But if this snow doesn't go away soon, I have a sinking suspicion we're going to be witnessing a little blip in that particular statistic.

When Christmas Eve brought that big dump of snow, the neighbourhood looked like the happy ending on, "It's a Wonderful Life." People were shoveling other neighbour's walkways, men were running out of their homes at the first sound of someone's car stuck in the snow, and there were smiles and jokes and beers being enjoyed in the camaraderie of group testosterone.

Fast forward a week and a half, and, oh, about another two feet of snow.

There are no more smiles or jokes. There are a lot of "I moved here to get away from this stuff" comments, but other than that, people have stopped talking to each other. They just keep walking out of their homes each day, shoulders down, faces looking upward and cursing the sky, and then shoveling their vehicles out of their snowy graves. Again. And again. And again.

We don't live in the rich area of our municipality, so our street has seen a snow plow three times. All three times happened within a 30 minute period. Two of those times the plow wasn't down. The third time the plow took off the first 2 inches of snow. There was a guy hanging off the back of the truck using a teaspoon to sprinkle sand on the newly 'plowed' street, so that was good.

Our neighbourhood garbage truck was stuck for half an hour last night. One poor 20 year old boy was out there trying to shovel himself out. No one went to help. I think I saw him crying.

The worst of it is the parking. Parking has always been an issue in our neighbourhood. And all this snow is causing the problem to become somewhat contentious. The Husband has been out there every day, shoveling out our car and the entire surrounding area, just like so many of our neighbours.

But not all of our neighbours.

We have a household across the street that owns two vehicles and a variety of working appendages that would be quite suitable for shoveling snow. But instead of shoveling out a space for their own vehicles, they choose to park in spaces that other people, like, oh, let's say, MY HUSBAND, have shoveled clear. When they started parking in the one clear spot the Husband had made, the Husband shoveled a second spot. Now they're parking their other car in that one.

The Husband is getting a tad irritated. I don't blame him. They've seen him shoveling the areas, and they just keep parking there. There is an unwritten rule about these things.

So last night the Husband was out there, shoveling yet another parking spot for our car. They had parked their cars in both of the already Husband shoveled spots. And one of the able bodied men came out of his house and walked past the shoveling Husband. The guy walked over to his car parked in the beautifully shoveled spot and said to the Husband,

"It just keeps snowing and snowing and snowing....."

And the Husband said,

"And I just keep shoveling and shoveling and shoveling...."

This morning their four wheeled drive vehicle was parked in a snow covered spot.

Hopefully the police cars have been averted.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blogger Should Have a Filtration System


Who writes a blog entry at 2:30 in the morning.....and then posts it?

That would be me.

And who writes a blog entry PUBLICLY STATING NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS while sleep deprived?

That would be me, too.

I think Blogger should have a filtration system to prevent middle of the night fiascoes such as that. Like, I'm the only one who's ever done something like that. Pfft.

I also think making promises about writing 'more signficant stuff' is a tad out of my realm. Why on earth I thought I would have a significant thought in my head just because it's the year 2009 is beyond me.

So hear we go people. I'm all caught up on my sleep and haven't barfed for days. So I give you my NEW and IMPROVED New Year's Resolutions.

1. Live life to its absolute fullest.

2. Don't take the dog to the pound.

3. Do not have a 40th birthday party. Seriously.

4. Watch my eldest child graduate from high school.

5. Cry.

6. Laugh.

7. Don't yell at my kids as much.

8. Love.

9. Be happy.

10. Receive a shiny new video card in the mail (hey....there are 12 months in a year. This could happen).

10. 'Let go and let God' for everything else. He does a much better job than I ever do.

And blog a bit more.

Oh, wait. THAT'S what I must have meant. Blog significantly more about stuff. Not blog about more significant stuff.

Hmm. Maybe a writer's group.....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Here I sit, at 2:30 am in the wee hours of the New Year.

I've spent the last day and a half bonding with the upstairs abode. The flu that started with the Baby projectile vomiting on me several days ago finally made its way to me.

Good times.

So, having slept through ringing in the New Year, I now find myself completely awake and reminiscing about this past year and this little blog. It's been a good year. And bad. And frustrating. And life altering.

What could I have lived without? My mom's cancer diagnosis, for sure.

The teenage angst in this house? A lot less of that would have been good.

Reconnecting with my siblings in a strange sort of 'rallying the troops' thingy? That's been good. Really good.

Living my last year in my 30's? Loved that.

Starting to blog? It's been a slice.

I've been going through this little blog of mine and reading all the old entries. I sure whine a lot. I perseverate on small, idiotic things. Which probably explain my small readership.

Which brings me to some New Year's resolutions.

1. Lose weight. This is a really good one to start with, since I've just lost five pounds barfing for the past 36 hours. Success already.

2. Blog about some more significant stuff other than my family irritating me and making fun of my Husband. This one will be hard.

3. Clean my house. I'm not sure about this one, but a person can dream.

4. Win the lottery. This is as attainable as the clean house. But again....dreaming.

5. Live life to the fullest.

I'm going back to bed. I'm sure I'll read this post in the morning and it won't make any sense. Which means I'm blowing resolution number 2 already.

I'm sure my next entry will be awe inspiring.