Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This year's costumes...

Child Number One as

The Lady of Shalott

No, I am not joking. She has the most gorgeous wine coloured medieval gown, with split sleeves and white satin lining. Her blonde wig is perfection, and hangs down past her waist. She is a picture... a poem. I. Am. So. Proud.

Child Number Two as

Supergirl

What character could be more perfect for my tiny, mighty six-year-old? She is in HEAVEN with the letter "S" emblazoned on her chest, and red sparkly cape streaming out behind her...


Child Number Three as

Peppa Pig

One of the most delightful animated shows for children on television today... She is sporting a pink fleecy outfit, and a beautiful knitted "piggy" hat, complete with ears, snout, and curly tail. I've told the older girls to prop her up in front of them at the front doors, and get her to perform her "Snoooooorrrkk!!" They'll get double-helpings of candy FOR SURE.

And what about me, you ask?


Well, I was completely prepared to dress up as Elphaba, from the musical "Wicked", AKA The Wicked Witch of the West (typecasting, I know). But, when I mentioned to Wee Three that I would be donning GREEN MAKEUP for the role, she visibly recoiled... Mummy With New Hair is ONE thing, but Mummy With Green Face (and neck, and hands, and arms, and...) is apparently something else ALTOGETHER.

**sigh**

Maybe next year.

Child Number One DID try to cheer me up, though...

Child Number One: (patting me on the shoulder sympathetically) You know what? You should just go as Mummy WITHOUT Makeup... That'll be WAY scarier, anyway.

It's the Great Pumpkin(s), Charlie Brown!!

The Jack o'Lanterns, 2007

Child Number One's "Frog"

Child Number Two's "Cat With Snack"
(with thanks to Beck for
the inspiration...)

Child Number Three's "Piggy"
(Those nostrils propped up on toothpicks
were a lot harder than I thought they'd be...)

Wishing you all a "WICKED" good Hallowe'en...

video

For all of you out there... the spectacular final few minutes from Act One of the smash-hit Broadway musical, "Wicked".

This performance is from the Tony Awards, and stars Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth... The gals LITERALLY blew the roof off the place!!

Happy Hallowe'en!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

News from the Bird Feeder...


"Feed Birds. Foil Squirrels."
--The Gospel According To My Father

It has been a busy couple of days in The Goddess' Garden, as we prepare for the long, cold winter ahead.

The swimming pool has been covered up with a big blanket, and "put to bed" until spring, and all the patio furniture has been cleaned and put away.

Last night was our chilliest of the autumn so far, and the girlies and I awoke to find that a hard frost had hit all of our plants. This week's task will be to cut back perennials, pull out wilted annuals, prune the roses back, and dig an extra heaping mound of earth around all tender root systems.

And, of course, we will be replenishing all the birdfeeders.

For several years now, I have kept no fewer than about six or seven bird feeders and suet logs, fully stocked, year-round and dotted around The Garden. As a result, birds have literally flocked to us. It has been truly delightful to host these beautiful feathered creatures, and we have had the great pleasure to discover that many of them have taken up permanent residence in our trees. Every spring, we hear the sweet "Wheekey!! Wheekey!!" of a new nest of baby Chickadees in one of the pines. And this year, a pair of Northern Cardinals brought their fledgling to the maple tree by our large feeder. The baby would sit on a branch, and the parents would take turns fetching safflower seeds, cracking them between their toes before poking pieces into their offspring's gaping beak.

Yes, we like to keep our birds happy and fattened-up, but as a result of our efforts, we also tend to attract a great deal of squirrels to the feeders, as well.

Many months ago, I wrote of last fall's experience with the neighbourhood squirrels, and this year, the battle continues. Joining the squirrel batallion this year is a small, explosive red squirrel, who is more agile and acrobatic than any of his black or grey counterparts. Indeed, he is so light and quick, he defies the very lightest setting on my squirrel-proof feeder, and can foil any Yankee Flipper that I dangle from a tree with "invisible" fishing line... Yes, this squirrel is the MOST fearless, ingenius and INFURIATING rodent I have ever had the displeasure to deal with. And the biggest problem is, he's so dang CUTE up there, flying through the air with the grace and ballon of a nouveau Baryshnikov... I just don't have the guts to get all sinister and serious about evicting him.

So, it looks as though I'm going to be going through a LOT of seed this winter as a result...

Here are a few of the more welcome guests at the Goddess' Chateaux Oiseaux:


The Chickadee


The Cedar Waxwing


The Northern Cardinal


The Blue Jay

The Downy Woodpecker

The Rose Breasted Nuthatch

The Dark-eyed Junko

The Gold Finch


The House Finch



The Purple Finch


The Chipping Sparrow


The White Crowned Sparrow


The American Robin

(Yes, a few are crazy enough to stick around here year-round, in spite of the cold weather... Too lazy to fly south, I suppose.
But they DO look gorgeous against the snow, and it makes my heart feel a bit lighter every time I see one...)

And, shocker of shockers, LOOK WHO SWOOPED IN FOR A SURPRISE VISIT ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON?


This, folks, is a Peregrine Falcon. Peregrine Falcons are not supposed to be indiginous to our area, but according to my father, they are currently migrating, and making a comeback in some cities in Ontario (and in some small towns, too, apparently...)

I was not half as shocked to make his acquaintance as a particularly unfortunate sparrow was... One poor feathered soul at the feeder became FOOD for this enormous, magnificent creature, who then proceeded to sit in a maple tree and blink at me, apparently tremendously satisfied with himself.

Perry, it was a pleasure to welcome you to my garden... But can I ask you a favour?

Next time you visit, would you mind making sure that Red Squirrel is on the menu that day?

The other birds and I would all be most grateful.

Monday, October 29, 2007

THIS IS WHAT A WINNER LOOKS LIKE...

Yes, Kim can even make chemo look glamourous...

Ladies and Gentlemen: I present to you the WINNER of the Blogging Scholarship $10,000 Grand Prize:

Ms. Kimberley Klein

I am so grateful to each and every one of you who voted for Kim... What better way to wind up Breast Cancer Awareness Month than to present this award to such a deserving SURVIVOR.

More great news?

Kim is down to ONE FINAL CHEMO TREATMENT.

My admiration for, and pride in Kim knows no bounds... I am so happy for her and her family!

In her own words, from today's post, over at "The Merits of the Case":

9,150-ish

…That’s my new favorite number, since it is the number of votes that put me well into first place and that makes me the winner of the $10,000 Blogging Scholarship.

And the very first thing I have to do is to thank YOU.

The reason I won is because of the immense outpouring of support from all of you--friends, family and complete strangers all over the world. This award could not have come at a better time for me and my family, and we are all deeply grateful. I plan to use the money to pay some of the principle and interest on my student loans. As one commenter said recently, although $10,000 is a drop in the bucket of law school debt, it’s a pretty good drop nonetheless. And every drop helps!

I know that many of you have been sitting in front of your computer screen watching the votes and comments roll in over these past three weeks, and I appreciate your company. It has been astounding for me to watch it all happen, and is far, far beyond anything I expected or could have predicted.

I came upon a post somewhere about the scholarship accidentally one day a month or so ago just a few days before the application deadline. Later that evening, I sat on the couch, composed my essay, and then submitted it to CollegeScholarships.org as required. I mentioned to Randy in an offhand comment that night that I had applied for the scholarship, and then I forgot about it for a few days. You can imagine how excited I was when I opened my e-mail in-box on October 8th and found out that I was one of the 20 finalists for the scholarship.

That morning I composed an e-mail message which I sent out to 50-75 friends and family and to about 25 “cyber friends” thinking that maybe with their help I could get a couple of hundred votes. I had no idea what it would take to win or if I even had a chance.

And then it started. You all took it and ran with it. You sent it to the people in your address book, they sent it to the people in their address book, and then they sent it on. Some of you posted it on your blogs, and then more people posted it on theirs. I have received hundreds of e-mails from people all over the country telling me their stories and offering encouragement and support. I was surprised and encouraged by the initial reaction, and then I was stunned at the power of the internet and of word of mouth as the days progressed. The $10,000 pales in comparison to the amount of support I have received from all 9,150 of you in the last three weeks while watching all of this unfold.

Shelley Batts and Jess Kim, the second and third place contestants in the contest, will both receive $1000 and the remaining 7 of the top 10 contestants will each receive $100. I had the pleasure of exchanging e-mail with both Shelley and Jess during the contest and think they are both very intelligent and kind young women who will go far in their chosen fields. Both of them have excellent blogs and I encourage you to visit their sites, as well.

Daniel Kovach, the man behind the money, has invited me to come to the Blog World and New Media Expo in Las Vegas next week to accept the award. Thanks to some of Randy’s left-over points from his travelling days and help from our parents, we are going to be able to go and to spend a couple of days there, as well. It will be one of the most slow-paced, conservative visits to Las Vegas ever since I get tired so easily and can’t walk far, but it will be nice to get away for a couple of days.

Thank you all. My gratitude knows no bounds.

Congratulations, Kim!! You are "UNO" in more ways than one...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tooth Tale...


This morning, we have a beautiful, new jack o' lantern lighting up our house, just in time for Hallowe'en

Yes, Child Number Two has finally lost her first tooth, and her resulting bright little grin is better than any pumpkin I could ever have carved.

There is an Issue regarding the big event, however…

For early, early this morning, I opened my eyes to discover a tearful Child Number Two at my bedside:

Child Number Two: (snorfling) Mama!! My tooth is GOOOOONE!!

Me: (sitting bolt upright and shaking the sleep from my head) Sweetie!! Congratulations!! That wiggly tooth finally came OUT?!

Child Number Two: (tears beginning to fall) It’s GONE, Mama! It’s not in my mouth, and it’s not in my bed!! I can’t FIIIIIND it!!

You guessed it, folks. That tooth fell out while she was asleep, and the poor thing must have swallowed it.

This is not the first tooth-swallowing incident in our family. When it comes to dental issues, the girlies and I are ALL chickens. We can wiggle and wobble those little baby teeth, but do we have the guts to actually give them an almighty YANK, when the hanging-by-a-thread stage is finally reached??

Evidently not.

Child Number One used to become so completely freaked-out by the final, wobbly stage, she would even refuse food. She just couldn’t stand the feeling of ANYTHING in her mouth, once the falling-out became imminent. I resorted to extreme bribery one day, and dragged my starving seven-year-old to Dairy Queen, where I figured that the urge to consume ICE CREAM in massive quantities would be irresistible, and provide the needed calorie intake in a hurry.

She was half-way through a massive chocolate sundae, when we discovered the offending dangly tooth had mysteriously disappeared.

Yes, there were hysterics. In public. But at least it wasn’t ME who was sobbing… I was just so relieved to have the extensive experience finally over with, it was all I could do to keep from jumping to my feet and performing a little jig, right there in the middle of the restaurant.

The Issue we have with tooth-swallowing has nothing to do with the potential health implications of ingestion. Heavens, my children have accidentally-on-purpose swallowed far worse foreign objects, and I have every confidence that everything will “come out all right” on that front.

The Issue is the Tooth Fairy.

Child Number Two: (breaking down and sobbing) My tooth is GOOOOONE… Now the Tooth Fairy won’t come for SUUUUURE!!

Me: Oh, sweetie pie, of COURSE the Tooth Fairy will come!! I’m sure the Tooth Fairy knows ALL about it. After all, you’re not the first kid in this family to have swallowed your tooth…

Child Number Two: (hiccuping) But it’s my FIRST TOOTH… And it’s GONE… And now I’ll never be able to have a puppy…

HUH? PUPPY?!

She doesn’t seriously think that the Tooth Fairy deals in ANIMALS, does she??!

Me: (firmly) Darling girl, I am absolutely certain that the Tooth Fairy knows that you have lost your tooth. And she knows ALL about kids who swallow their teeth, or lose them by accident… But she does NOT, I repeat NOT, bring PUPPIES.

Child Number Two: (suddenly belligerent) How do YOU know? She MIGHT bring me a puppy… Specially since now I swallowed my tooth, and I’m so sad and so BRAVE and everything…

Me: (attempting to nip. this. in. the. bud. once and for all) Ooooooh, NO. No puppies!! I’ve already got you three girlies, two guinea pigs, ten guppies, seven snails, three betta fish, a crazy cat and YOUR FATHER to look after… The Tooth Fairy just simply WOULD NOT do that to me. NOT. She fears for my sanity as it is!! Got it?!! She MIGHT bring you a little bit of extra money, this being her very first visit to you and all, but she will NOT be bringing you a puppy. GOT IT??!

Child Number Two: (eyeing me suspiciously) Mama… are you sure there IS a Tooth Fairy?

Me: (hugging her tightly and hanging on for dear life) Oh, absolutely, sweetheart. I am really, really sure.

Child Number Two: (hopefully gazing up into my face) Do you think she’d bring me TWENTY DOLLARS??

Ummmm... It's still too early to sign this kid up for law school, right?

Just checking.

Friday, October 26, 2007

All I want for Christmas...

... is one of THESE for the Loser Cruiser.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Next Karate Kid...


Child Number Two was in fine form last night.

She marched around the house, singing the new song-of-the-month that she had learned at school, at the top of her lungs, to the tune of “On Top of Spaghetti”. It wasn’t so much the song that caught the rest of the family’s attention, however. It was the brand-new sound effects and actions that she included:

Child Number Two: (sweetly) The month is OctoooOOoober….. HIIII-YAH!! The leaves turning reeeeeedd….. YAAAAAAA-HAH!!!

Yes, as I mentioned a few days ago, Child Number Two has begun taking karate lessons. And as I also said in that previous post: I am afraid. I am very, very afraid. And I’m wondering whether it might not be a bad idea to enroll the rest of the family members in a self-defense course, as well. To defend ourselves from The Force that is now the new-and-improved Child Number Two.

It all started several weeks ago, when Child Number Two came racing home from school, with an enrollment form for the lunchtime karate program. She wanted to join up. Badly. And judging by the relentless begging that went on (and on, AND ON) she wasn’t prepared to accept “no” for an answer.

I confess. I didn’t know quite how to handle her request. So, I tried to stall her. Although I do my very best to encourage my children and give them every opportunity I possibly can, I just wasn’t sure about this one. For Child Number Two is the most “challenging” of my three children. Chaos and Mass Destruction are her specialties. From the cradle, she earned the nick-name “Twister”.

And so, I followed my first instinct. I said I needed time to check out the instructor, to make certain that he was fully qualified, and that no one would get hurt. I reasoned that it would take time for me to seek out the little uniform she might need. I even tried to explain that I would need time to run our monthly budget, to make sure that the money was there to pay for the lessons...

She eyed me up-and-down suspiciously, and then took matters into her own little hands. She implemented the “divide and conquer” technique that she has perfected during the six-and-a-half years of her life: she went behind my back to her father, and asked him.

Needless to say, in typical fashion, Daddy immediately jumped on her little bandwagon. Filled out the paperwork, wrote the cheque, patted her on the head and everything.

Later, in private, when I expressed my dismay to The Husband (and that’s putting it MILDLY, people), he actually had a plausible argument to make.

For Child Number Two has turned out to be a pretty intellectual kid. Which, as it turns out, makes her even more potentially dangerous. There is method to her “madness”. She Thinks Things Through, which is probably why most of her little heists have historically come off without a hitch.

My husband pointed out that karate is a martial art. The instructors instill discipline and respect in their pupils. They teach children to channel their energy in a safe, controlled way. They promote physical fitness. My Husband, The Jock and Her Father, determined that the karate lessons would be All For The Greater Good.

Well, you can’t say I didn’t try to warn him. Because I, Her Mother, Who Diffuses Destruction Daily, knew better.

By yesterday, Child Number Two had a couple of lessons under her little yellow belt. And she just couldn’t WAIT till her father got home, so she could show him some of her new moves.

When he finally came through the door after a long day at the office, she unwound like a tight spring from her position on the staircase, where she had been waiting for him.

Child Number Two: (excitedly) DADDY!!!! LOOK what I learned in karate lessons today!!!

Father:
(wearily) Hiya, Squirt! Just wait a minute and let me get my shoes off, here, and then you can show me your stuff.

Child Number Two: (not waiting) See, Dad, you don’t kick like THIS, because you might fall over and break your leg…

Father: (absently) Oh... Right.

Child Number Two: (with venom) See? THIS is how you kick!!

There was the sound of a loud CRAAACK!! And then the howl of a full-grown man rang out.

Child Number Two then sauntered into the kitchen, where I was calmly slicing up cucumber for a salad, and trying my very best to stifle giggles.

Child Number Two: (swaggering more than just a little) Man, I’m good.

Father: (hobbling into the room) She’s good, all right.

Hmmm… I wonder if she could teach ME to do that?

Well, at least Daddy is getting his money’s worth…

Ab-So-Lute-Ly Typical, pt II

Well, at least he SAYS it...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Venus"


I haven't written much about last weekend's sojourn in Stratford...

My parents are rather extraordinary people. Although they are both medical professionals, and therefore very scientifically and mathematically oriented, they have a passionate expertise for all things artistic that never ceases to astound me. Their knowledge of, and appreciation for, all fine art borders on the fanatical (particularly when it comes to classical music and opera).

And the theatre... Well.

In our family, experiencing a fine theatrical performance is like a profound religious epiphany. We have been privileged to see many such performances over the years, and not just on The Boards at Stratford, either. My parents regularly piled us all into the creaky old Volvo station wagon and drove us great distances, so that we would have an opportunity to experience many wonderful things. At a very young age, my brother, sister and I were introduced to the great joys of Gilbert and Sullivan at the annual university performances in London, Ontario. We were taken to see "Oliver Button is a Sissy" which was put on by the National Tap Dance Company of Canada. We watched the great Marcel Marceau in one of his last performances in Hamilton, Ontario. We enjoyed lovely evenings of dinner theatre, where we saw old-fashioned musicals like "The Boyfriend" performed. We attended the symphony and the opera, and my father regularly dedicated an entire day, several times a year, and excused us from school so that we could all see a matinee of the ballet in Toronto, together as a family.

To say that we were "lucky" children doesn't even begin to describe how my brother, sister and I felt. It was so special, to be included in this magical, "grown-up" world. Little did we know what a profound influence it would have on us; how much these opportunities, and the resulting knowledge, would enrich the rest of our lives.

It is not surprising, then, that whenever I now come across a performance that gives me pleasure, one of my first thoughts is usually how much the rest of my family would enjoy it as well. And so, it was particularly pleasing for me to be able to view the movie, "Venus", starring the magnificent Peter O'Toole, with my parents last Friday evening.

"Venus" is a film that depicts the last few months of an elderly man's life. Maurice (played by O'Toole) is an aged actor who enters into a platonic, yet passionate relationship with a troubled young girl named Jessie. He befriends her, helps her to find work as an artists' model, and re-names her "Venus", after the famous Rokeby Venus painting, which he takes her to see at the National Gallery. The film depicts Maurice's fascinating emotional struggle: he still possesses the soul of a young, rakish boy, but is trapped within the body of a dying old man. He must not only come to terms with his physical limitations, but also his intensely needy, emotional cravings. He must then learn to accept his inevitable mortality. All of which he eventually does... Exquisitely.

The character of Jessie, played by Jodie Whittaker, develops remarkably during the course of the friendship, as well. As a result of Maurice's interest in, and kindness to her, Jessie eventually opens up a bit of her damaged soul, and reveals details of her past. Mercifully, the film does not "Disnefy" her character. She remains a troubled young person, struggling to find acceptance and a sense of her true "self". However, it is clear that Maurice's influence touches her deeply, and alters her.


video


This is one of my favourite scenes from the movie... Never have I heard these famous words in a more touching, emotionally perfect scene. The beautiful thrum of O'Toole's voice, and the surprised, enchanted look on Jessie's face as she hears the sonnet for the very first time, touched me deeply.

I whole-heartedly encourage you all: Get thee to a good movie rental establishment, and select "Venus" for an evening. It is one of the most incredible things I have seen on film in many, many years.

And it was made even better by the people with whom I was able to share it last weekend.

Child Number Two is taking Karate Lessons...


Be afraid.

Be very, very afraid.

Because Lord knows, I sure am...

Listening to...

video
He's a strange, hugely talented man...

And today, John Mayer's beautiful, breath-y voice is just exactly what I need to get me through this cool, drizzly morning...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

While visions of Timbits danced in his head...


Last night was our first night back in our own beds, after an extended weekend stay at the comfort of my parents' home in Stratford.

And what a weekend it was... We were kept delightfully busy, gorging on good theatre, great food, and wonderful company. A thoroughly enjoyable, exhausting time was had by all.

After the long, raucous two-hour drive home yesterday, the children, their father and I were all in need of a good night's sleep.

And everyone slept. Everyone except me, that is.

For my husband is what you could call a "restless sleeper". Actually, he isn't just a restless sleeper, he is an active dreamer. He dreams about anything and everything... he talks and laughs and sometimes even shouts in his sleep. And when at last, he wakes up, refreshed and ready to start his day, he remembers absolutely none of it.

I, his bed-fellow, on the other hand...

Well, suffice it to say, I don't sleep much. And when I do, it's usually with earplugs.

Last night was not a good night for me. Because the dreams were busy ones, and it quickly became apparent at about 4am, that if I didn't wake my husband from his fascinating slumber, I wouldn't be getting ANY sleep myself.

Me: (reaching over and patting him on the shoulder) Honey, wake up. You're dreaming again.

Him: (eyes closed, with a big, goofy grin on his face) Haaaarrrruuummmppppggggppphhhh...

Me: (Shaking him by the arm a little) Wake up!! You're dreaming!! Turn over!! TURN OVER!!

Him: (suddenly sitting bolt upright) HUH??! Whazzat??! TIM HORTONS??!!!!

Me: (in utter disbelief) Are you KIDDING ME? All that happy dreaming stuff, and what you're actually dreaming about is DONUTS??

Him: (shaking his head) Why the heck did you wake me up, anyway??!

It must be a middle-aged-Canadian-male thing. I simply cannot believe that Tim Hortons Donuts has taken over my husband's nocturnal subconscious obsessions...

On a positive note, I suppose I could be grateful that it does not appear I have any competition in the form of pneumatic, bodacious Hollywood starlets as the subject of my husband's dreams...

At the moment, I'm still "safe".

Let's just hope that little red-haired chick from Wendy's Hamburger advertisements doesn't make an appearance on the scene any time soon...

File this under "Ab-So-Lute-Ly Typical"...


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Photos from my camera this weekend...


The Stratford Festival Theatre in Autumn...


The two statues that guard the gate
to Stratford's Upper Queens Park...


The long line of beautiful old trees, on the
way towards the children's playground...
A view of the magnificent autumn
colours down by the Avon River...

The Festival Theatre from across the Avon...

"We're ready for our close-up..."
(What did I tell you about those silly swans??!!)

A little Oklahoma wisdom...


"You gotta be hearty, you got to be. You cain't desearve the sweet and tender in life
less'n you're tough."

-Aunt Eller,
of Rogers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!"

Strike Up The Band...


"Shoot, just getting from one day to the next
deserves brass bands and confetti!"

-- Captain Billy Buck Chandler,
from George and Ira Gershwin's
"My One and Only"

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ferris Bueller, you're my hero...


Well, you probably guessed it.

The Ferris Bueller DAY has officially turned into a bit of an extravaganza.

It's been a looong week at our house, people. Being the resident Goddess hasn't been easy.

However, the only thing that it has been LESS easy to be at our house is a strep throat patient. Yes, once Child Number Two was finally on the mend, it rapidly became evident that she had been extremely generous with her germs. Tylenol flowed like running water, the pediatrician was consulted, antibiotics were prescribed, and the trusty nebulizer was fired up to help de-congest the first full-blown asthma-related ailments of the season. Needless to say, there was not much sleep to be had, by any of us.

We were a pretty exhausted, motley crew by the end of the week. We were all so completely wrecked, in fact, that I simply couldn't muster the energy to protest when the "Idonwannagotoschool-ing" started on Thursday morning. It just seemed EASIER to give in. And when the idea of having three mostly-recovered, mind-bendingly bored children bounce off of your four walls for yet another day seems more do-able than getting dressed, driving them to their respective learning establishments, and GETTING THEM OUT OF YOUR HAIR FOR A FEW HOURS, you know you've got a fairly serious problem.

I knew we had to get out of the house. We needed a change. We needed a serious Day Off.

I phoned my parents, who for some inexplicable reason agreed to have us to stay, threw my children and what seemed like half our worldly possessions into the Loser Cruiser, and hit the highway.

Yes, the Ferris Bueller DAY has turned into the Ferris Bueller WEEKEND, but we're having an absolutely marvellous time.

First off, we scored some incredible theatre tickets. The two oldest girlies and I saw a spectacular production of the Gershwin musical, "My One and Only" on Thursday night, and tomorrow, we've managed to get in for "Oklahoma".

We've been taking our time, making our rounds of the usual favourite destinations: the chocolate shop, the toy shop, the book stores...

The weather has been relatively dreadful, and so instead of making our usual trek to the park, the formidable craft box was unearthed in the basement, and the three girlies happily sat round the big kitchen table, and drew and cut-and-pasted to their hearts' content. While they occupied themselves with that, my mother and I browsed through her stellar cookbook collection.

This evening, once the children were all in bed, my parents and I collapsed in the sun room and watched a movie: "Venus", with Peter O'Toole... which I highly, highly recommend.

Yes, so far, this visit has been incredibly "healing" for my little brood. And that awful, sinking, desperate feeling has almost left me...

Tonight, there is an enormous wind whistling around the eaves of this old house. I'm hoping it's chasing away the clouds and damp weather, so that we'll be able to have a good long romp outside and enjoy some fresh air tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday morning will be spent at the Farmer's Market, and the girlies all went to bed eagerly anticipating what we will find amongst the stalls this week. Child Number One enjoys looking at the needlework and gorgeous knitted items. Child Number Two wants to find the most gargantuan pumpkin that we can get our arms around, so that we can bring it home for our Hallowe'en jack' o' lantern. And Child Number Three wants a cookie. Specifically, a chocolate-chip-and-smartie cookie on a stick. These cookies are huge, golden, crumbly creations that take nearly the entire day to munch through... and I never cease to be amazed that my tiny, twenty-five pound three-year-old can polish off the entire thing, every single time.

I won't be wanting for much, I don't think, as I go round the market tomorrow, enjoying all the familiar sights and scents, and seeing what our local farmers have on offer. It's just marvellous to be back, and to truly FEEL at home, once again, in this very special place.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Autumn "Idonwannagotoschool-itis"...


Aw, what the heck... Are you ready for this, kids??!

The Goddess Declares:

FERRIS BUELLER DAY!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Book Report


I am not the only member of our family who was feeling more than slightly "out of sorts" this past weekend. Unfortunately, Child Number Two spent the time between Thursday evening until Sunday morning trying to figure out whether or not she would develop fully-blown strep throat, or just settle for a relatively severe virus instead.

Thankfully, she finally decided AGAINST the strep, after several long, mildly-feverish and nightmare-riddled nights. However, the struggle to fend off the infection seems to have taken a bit of the vinegar out of her.

She felt well enough to go back to school this morning, much to her relief and delight (and mine, too, let me tell you).

Because Child Number Two LOVES grade one.

LOVES. IT.

When she is not physically AT school, she is always THINKING about school. Or enlisting her little sister to PLAY school with her.

She is absolutely crazy about her teacher, she begged for homework on the very first day (and has continued to do so every day since then), and slaves over that homework like an academic obsessive-compulsive... I have actually seen the child erase ENTIRE PAGES OF PRINTING, so that she can do them all. over. again.

For fun.

She's a wee pistol of a student, and I don't envy her teacher having to try and keep up with her.

But today was different.

When I picked up the girlies from school at three-thirty, Child Number Two launched into a long and involved description of the new "book report" assignment that her teacher had given her. She now brings home four books in a little bag every Monday. She is to read one book per day, write a short description, and draw a picture of her favourite part of the story, every week-night. I am to check her report each night, and the notebook is to be handed in to the teacher for marking on Fridays.

Normally, this kind of "grown-up" assignment would be cause for great excitement from Child Number Two. But not tonight, it seems.

The sparkle wasn't in her... the enthusiasm seemed dulled... We returned home, she sat down at the table and ate her snack, then dutifully pulled the books out of her backpack and threw herself into her work.

As I tidied the kitchen, she silently studied her book. Then, I heard the scratch of her pencil and the scuffing of her eraser... She refused my offer to help with spelling, so I started the preparations for dinner.

When she was done, she solemnly handed me her notebook, then slunk off and curled up with a fuzzy blanket on the couch in the family room.

Tonight, it turns out, my poor girlie was even MORE tired and worn out than I had suspected, because on the page, she had written the title of the book, the author's name, the illustrator's name, and this unusually brief description:

My favourite part of the book
was the Last part.

I'll just bet it was, too.

Poor wee thing.

 
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