Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Goddess Declares...

FERRIS BUELLER DAY!!

Crank up the volume and dance with me, people...

We're outta here... Talk to you later, everybody!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fairy Tale Theatre...


Tonight just before dinner, I had a few blessed moments for myself to work on the afghan I've been crocheting. Sensing the moment of weakness in the universe, my two youngest girlies appeared at my elbow:

Child Number Two: Hey, Mum!! We're hungry!! Can we have a couple of chocolate chip cookies for a snack?

Mother: No, Kiddo. Dinner's in fifteen minutes. Sorry it's a little late, we're waiting for your dear old Dad. How about a cracker or two, instead? They're in the red box on the second shelf in the pantry.

Child Number Three: (vehemently) NOPE!! Want COOKIES!! Crackers have no CHOCOLATE in dem!!

I knew something odd was in the works when my second child quickly whipped a hand over her younger sister's mouth, to avoid the tantrum-in-the-works from leaking out. She spun Wee Three around, and headed for the pantry.

Child Number Two: (loudly, and unconvincingly) OKAY, Mum!! Whatever you say!! We'll be having some DELICIOUS CRACKERS for a snack, while we wait for DINNER!! Right, sissy??!

And before Wee Three could protest any more, they nipped around the corner, out of my sight.

I could hear them rummaging around... and the opening of the cookie container, rather than the crackly white packaging that held the saltines.

Mother: (hot on their heels) BUSTED, Kiddo. Get your mitts off the cookies. I said CRACKERS.

Child Number Two: (dropping the cookies like hot stones, and springing for the crackers) Aaaaaaawwwwwwhhh!! I wasn't taking the cookies!! I wouldn't STEAL cookies!! I'm too SMART for that dumb trick!! (crunching thoughtfully, and scowling) If I REALLY wanted cookies, I could get 'em, though...

Mother: (interested) Oh, yeah? How?

Child Number Two: (cheerfully) Well, I'd take the crackers, 'cause that's what I'm S'POSED to do... But then I'd crumble them up, and leave a trail on the floor up to my bedroom.

Mother: (highly doubtful) I don't see how that kind of behavior would get you cookies...

Child Number Two: Yu-HUH!! You'd come looking for me when you saw the mess I made, and when you got to my room, I'd slam the door and lock you in, and THEN get the cookies!!

Mother: (too flabbergasted to speak)

Child Number Two: (swaggering a little) Pretty good, huh?

Pretty GOOD??!

Damn Hansel and Gretel...

Baby, it's cold outside...


The few days we've had of lovely, mild, rainy weather came screeching (or, should I say, howling) to a halt last night, as a cold front blew into our neighbourhood, waking us all from our slumbers and causing the picture frames on all our outside walls to rattle. The temperature dropped like a bomb, sending our thermometer from 7 degrees ABOVE zero, to a wind-chill of 25 below. And while that may sound like nothin' to those of you in the Prairies (I know who you are, and may God help you all), it is a rawther sudden and significant climate-change for those of us here in Ontari-ari-ario.

While it is all too true that there is nothing I love more to warm me up on a cold winter's day than a snuggle with a little girlie (or three)... there is nothing I enjoy eating more on a day like today than a bowl of hearty, piping-hot soup.

THIS soup, my friends, is a beauty. It has the makings of a meal in one single bowl, and is wonderful served at dinnertime, with a glass of red wine and a hunk of fresh bread, in front of the fireplace. Sprinkle the top with a handful of grated old cheddar cheese, and you're in for a treat.

Here is the recipe for what is currently simmering away in my crock pot this afternoon, and filling the house up with rich, mouth-watering scents... Is it dinnertime yet???

Christmas Soup
(so-named, because I always serve it for lunch on Christmas Day)

1 1/2 lbs extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 28 oz can of tomatoes
2 c water
3 cans of consomme
1 can of tomato soup
4 carrots, chopped finely
1 bay leaf
3 stalks of celery, chopped finely
fresh parsley
1/2 tsp thyme
fresh ground pepper to taste
8 tbsp pot barley

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, and add the chopped onions. Cook, while stirring, until the onions become soft and translucent.

Combine all of the other ingredients in a large pot (or crock pot). Then add the onion and beef mixture.

Simmer, covered, for at least two hours... or better yet, all day.

This soup freezes beautifully, and actually tastes even better after it has been frozen and re-heated. Add a little more water when re-heating, just to "soup it up" a bit. The barley tends to absorb quite a bit of fluid!!

Soup's on, everybody. Be warm!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"I Like to be Told"


What an incredible few days it has been...

Susan (Whymommy) has had successful surgery, and last night let us know that the pathology report came back showing CLEAN MARGINS!! and the successful removal of all breast cancer.

Canape gave birth to her beautiful Little Bird, Christopher.

And on a personal front, I was astounded to receive comments and emails about a comment I left on Susan's blog, "Toddler Planet".

Receiving comments on things I have written on my OWN blog thrills me... but comments about comments I have written??! Astounding. I am constantly amazed by the fact that anyone finds anything I write to be interesting.

Now, truth be told, the comment that I left that day included more than just my OWN words. It contained the words of one of the world's most extraordinary citizens: Fred McFeely Rogers.

Whymommy had a difficult situation to deal with last week... explaining the "ookiness" of the drains she needed for her surgical site to heal, to her three-year-old son. In my humble opinion, Susan handled the situation perfectly. She gave an age-appropriate explanation, using words and examples that her small boy could relate to. By giving her son information, she empowered him. She reassured him, and took away any fear he might have had.

And that is a good chunk of what Good Parenting is all about, isn't it? Loving our children enough to be as honest with them as we can possibly be.

Whymommy's post brought to mind one of Fred Roger's very best songs: "I Like to be Told". In my comment that day, I typed out the lyrics, which constantly run through my own head whenever my children ask ME a question that is difficult to answer.
***
I Like To Be Told

I like to be told
When you’re going away,
When you’re going to come back,
And how long you will stay.
How long you will stay.
I like to be told.

I like to be told
If it’s going to hurt.
If it’s going to be hard,
If it’s not going to hurt.
I like to be told.
I like to be told.

It helps me to get ready for all those things,
All those things that are new.
I trust you more and more
Each time that I’m
Finding those things to be true, true.

I like to be told
‘Cause I’m trying to grow,
And I’m trying to learn,
And I’m trying to know.
I like to be told.
I like to be told.
***
Yesterday, I was finally able to locate an audio recording of the song. During her "Kiss My Brass" tour, Bette Middler paid a remarkable tribute to Mister Rogers, and I am delighted to share that portion of her concert with you.

I give you My Hero, Mister Rogers... and the truly divine Ms. M.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Birdie Has Landed!


Little Bird has finally arrived!!

Much love to the parents, Canape and Guy.

"Auntie" Whymommy reports that the new baby boy was born at 3.45 am, and mother and son are healthy and well.

We couldn't be happier! Hurrah!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

TGIF


Thursday, January 24, 2008

For Canape...

Little Baby Bird is on his way!!

Good luck, Canape and Guy...
Thinking of you and wishing you love always,
xo CGF

I could use a little "kiai", myself...


It's been a crazy week in this house.

Compounded by the fact that Child Number Two has earned a Yellow Belt in her karate class.

And while this news is cause for congratulations and tremendous celebration, it has also been the cause of my nervous eye-tick returning. With such a vengeance, in fact, that people are beginning to notice. My husband thinks I'm coming on to him, at strange hours of the day. Luckily, with the stock markets the way they've been, he's just too damn tired to reciprocate... (Is that TMI for a "family blog"?!)

In preparation for her belt awards ceremony, Child Number Two has been practising. Hard.

And I'm not just talking about the various kicks, blocks, and rather alarming jumps (some of them with SPIN ACTION)...

I'm talking about her very favourite part of karate.

You guessed it, the yelling part.

For the past week, I have been violently roused from my slumbers, in the wee hours of the morning:

Child Number Two: (lovingly, but loudly into mother's right ear) "Kiai!!"

Mother: (hair standing on end and teeth chattering) GAAAAA! I'm UP!! I'm UP!!!

I have been sneaked up on:

Child Number Two: (sharply, and gesturing violently towards the desired snack food) "KIAI!!"

Mother: (hitting the ceiling of the kitchen, and dropping the pan of freshly-baked cookies that she is trying to take out of the oven) That's it, NO COOKIES FOR YOU!! Or anybody else, for that matter...

But it's the worst when I'm driving:

Child Number Two: (suddenly screeching) "KIAI!!!!!"

Mother: (slamming on the brakes) CRRRAAAAPPPP!! Child!! How many times to I have to tell you, NO CHOPPING IN THE CAR!! The rest of us are powerless to get away from you when we're strapped into a moving vehicle!!

By yesterday afternoon, I had had enough.

I found one blessed, quiet moment in the day, and asked my feisty six-year-old what, exactly, she has been yelling for the past several weeks... and WHY she has chosen to yell it, sometimes when she isn't even practising her various kicks and blocks.

She replied, with great seriousness, that it is a word that her sensei taught her, that, when yelled, gives her power and energy.

Like she needs any MORE.

Later that evening, I googled the word "kiai", and was interested to find:

In martial arts, the term commonly refers to a short yell that some martial artists shout before or during a fight or technique. Students of martial arts such as aikido, karate, kendo, taekwondo or judo (or related arts such as taiko drumming) use kiai to focus energy when executing a technique.

And I got to thinking... It wouldn't be a bad thing, to have a word to yell, that would help me focus on the task-at-hand, and give me a little extra "jolt"...

The first choice for ME would obviously be "CHOCOLATE!!"

Not bad, and the right number of syllables... But somehow, not quite "sharp" enough...

How about "WHITE WINE!!!" with an evil kind of emphasis on the "WIIIIINE!!" part...

Nah. Better not be yelling about booze in the children's playground.

"BABYSITTER!!" is a bit long, but most certainly fills me with powerful delight.

Wait a minute... Wait just a cotton pickin' minute... I've got it:

"BED TIME!!!"

Let's try it, shall we?

"High block!! Low block!! Middle block!! BED TIME!!!"

Because whether it's for the kids, or the mum... Those are two of the most powerful words in MY vocabulary...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Survivor.

The sign that my girlies and I carried as we participated
in the Terry Fox Run last fall...
It just seems even MORE appropriate today!!

Good morning, Susan... on your very first morning, Cancer-Free.

A song just for you, up there on the right!!

"I Can See Clearly Now"
with The Holly Cole Trio

Thinking of you on this beautiful, sunshine-y day...

Here's to you... and thank-you.

A little late... but better late than never, right??

Due to stock market madness, and the resulting general berserk nature of this household (even more berserk than usual, I'm afraid), I find myself woefully behind on many, many tasks... But the very first one I want to catch up on is passing on a few awards!! (Hey, I've got priorities!! Mt Washmore can wait another few hours... and I can always just buy new underwear for the kids, right??)

Several weeks ago, my friend Leann over at "The World Through The Eyes of Me" awarded me this lovely hot pink lion:


Leann's mom is going through chemo, and one evening several months ago, I received an email asking me for a little advice about head-coverings. I was able to pass along a beautifully detailed scarf-tying description, written by the gorgeous, stylish Cancer Survivor, Kim (who writes "The Merits of the Case"). Leann read the instructions, and spent the remainder of the evening practising the technique on her husband's head (since her mom's scalp was still sensitive from the chemo). Leann and many members of the family had shaved their own heads in support of their mom... and that night, I was bowled over by the incredible love Leann and her husband have for their mother, and by the hilarious image I had in my head of the two of them trying to figure out that fancy turban!!

Thank you, Leann. It seems only right that I pass the award on to Kim, who was so generous and prompt to provide all the information you needed!!

Last night, my good friend Shauna from "Up In The Night" sent along this sweet little award:


Over the past few months, Shauna and I have become tremendously good friends, and I really enjoy all of her emails, as well as her blog posts!!

I would like to pass the candy hearts along to:

Mrinz, at "NZ Links", who delights me daily with accounts of her happy life "down under" (and over-the-water a bit... She is a very proud Kiwi!!)

Canape, at "Don't Take the Repeats", who has just seen her best friend through a wildly successful surgery, and is about to give birth to a beautiful "Little Bird" any day now...

Leann, at "The World Through the Eyes of Me", because she's got SO much going on all the time, if I miss a day, I miss A LOT!! Kids, nursing school, and mom's tumour shrinking are only a FEW of the topics she covers on daily basis...

PM, at "Painted Maypole", who "gets" all my theatrical silliness, and shares the details of her life and work with me...

and the dynamic duo, MTM from "Circle of Life", and her husband, SciFi, from "Tales from the Dad Side". These two have been my real-life friends for over a decade, and have been so tremendously supportive of my foray into blogging... Love you both!!

Last, but certainly not least, I received this beautiful button from one of my favourite people, Slouching Mom, from "Slouching Past Forty":



I would like to award it to ALL of you; anyone who is out there, reading! I do so appreciate your friendship, your comments, and your emails.

Here's to you... and thank-you.

xoxo CGF

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tomorrow


Tomorrow, January 22, 2008, is a very, very special day. A day I have been waiting for... longing for... PRAYING for.

Tomorrow, my friend Susan (a.k.a. "Whymommy") is having surgery. A double-mastectomy.

Tomorrow, she will become "Cancer-Free".

It has been a long, hard road for Susan. It has been a Fight for Life.

And fight, she certainly has. She endured the long, hellishly intense course of chemotherapy that shrank her tumour to an "operable" size, with all the courage and stamina of a prize-winning champion. And through it all, she was generous enough to share her experience with us. She set herself a personal goal: to spread the word about Inflammatory Breast Cancer to as many people as she possibly could, with the hope that no other woman; no other FAMILY; would have to go through what she and her family have.

I cannot even begin to put into words the lessons that Susan has taught me over the past year-- not just about cancer-awareness, but about Living. Loving. Trust. And most of all, Grace.

This incredible woman, to me, is Grace, personified.

Today, on her blog, Susan has written:

Thank you for all your prayers, well wishes, positive thoughts, healing energies, and everything else. I am going into surgery confident, strong, and with the knowledge that I am not alone. You have come through for me. You have encouraged me and given me strength when I did not feel strong. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for being my friends. I have one thing left to write and post before my surgery - a short account of the story of how this all came to be. I’ll leave it up while I’m in the hospital, and WonderDaddy or Stimey will post updates on my condition as comments to tomorrow’s post.

Thank you all. For everything.

Please pray for me one more day — for strength. For healing. But most of all for clean margins — that the surgeon can remove all the cancer from my body successfully. It’s the only thing I need.

Susan, my girlies and I will be praying for you today, tomorrow, and every day. You are in our thoughts, and in our hearts. You can do this-- just as you have endured the journey to this point. We continue to be with you in spirit, every, single step of the way.



Here's to you, Sweetie... You did it!!!
We are so very proud of you.
xoxoxoxo Candygirlflies and Girlies 3

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thank God...

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe,
of "The Goon Show"

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light."

-- Spike Milligan

Reason # 1, 469,883, 001 why I hate winter:


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Our New Arrivals...


There are two new babies in our household this week:

Allow me to introduce Toot and Puddle, the newest addition to the Guinea Pig "family".

Toot


Puddle

We are just delighted to have them with us... But in truth, no one seems to be more thrilled to have their company than new "Granny" Cupcake. She has been a little TOO quiet and subdued since the passing of her sister, Cookie, in early December. The presence of the young 'uns seems to be doing her no end of good-- my kitchen is once again filled with the sweet sounds of squeaking and "chattering", as the little animals talk back-and-forth to one another.


A few times a day, the girlies bring Cupcake out of her palace to have a little up-close visit with the "grandchildren". We won't be putting all of them together in one pen, due to the extreme age difference, and Cupcake's various little ailments...

But we're ALL looking forward to springtime, when we can take them out on the lawn to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air!


Welcome, little babies. The girlies and I are so happy to have you here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Because chocolate is cheaper than therapy...


This week, for the very first time, eleven-year-old Child Number One has "left home".

Early yesterday morning, I waved her off on a three-day, two-night school trip. She and her classmates will be up north at an outdoor wilderness retreat, for what the school calls a "team-building workshop". All I have to say is, they'd BETTER build teams... or else SOMEBODY'S going to freeze to death. Purchasing and assembling all of the gear on the "required equipment" list took ages... and then we had to cram it all into ONE SUITCASE...

Luckily, the practical issue of packing has preoccupied me for much of the past several days, thus allowing me to push the emotional repercussions to the back of my brain. For this is the longest amount of time that my first-born has ever been away from me, without another family member to look after her. And as I saw her onto that bus, accompanied by all of the brash-er, bold-er, and considerably more boisterous children that make up our school's grade six class, I could feel my heart begin to hurt. And that ache, accompanied by the feeling of being a little lost... a little muddled... continued as I got back into my car and drove home.

When I was in university, I was fortunate enough to make friends with a girl who was a few years older, and a few years wiser than myself. I found my early years "under the gun" at the largest university in the country to be hellishly gruelling, and mind-bendingly frustrating, to put it mildly. Jessie was a wonderful friend to have. When, in fits of stress, I would explode into her dorm room, she would slowly turn herself around from the essay she was typing, lean back in her swivel chair, and LISTEN to me.

When I had finally exhausted my entire arsenal of expletives, she would smile, and offer a few well-chosen words of encouragement. Even if it was only one or two sentences, the calm that this girl exuded from every pore of her being worked magic on my soul. Don't ask me how, or why. That was just Jessie.

Once I was settled down a bit, she would offer me a chair, and say the most theraputic words of all:

"I think we need to eat something GOOD."

She would then pull out a tin, and unearth some sort of sinfully delicious cookie or square that she had purchased, which we would snarfle down on the spot. Or, we would don our coats and make a break from the campus for a few precious moments, and hit a wonderful coffee spot that was several blocks away.

Eating something GOOD almost always worked for us. Mind you, looking back, the problems we faced all those years ago (like lousy marks and narky professors and what the hell James Joyce was REALLY talking about) pale in comparison to the "real-life" emotional benders that motherhood throws at me on a regular basis.

However, I was willing to give just about anything (legal) a shot at nine-thirty yesterday morning.

I walked back into my house, headed straight for the kitchen, and began methodically mixing up my very favourite Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies.

These cookies are DEEPLY sinful, people. Yet medicinal. The recipe came to me from another one of my very best friends, who, as well as being a culinary genius, is also a doctor. So she oughta know.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream together:

1 c margarine (I use Becel's olive oil margarine, in a vain attempt to be "virtuous")
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp good vanilla extract

Sift together:

1 2/3 c all purpose flour
1/3 c cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix together well, until light and fluffy.

Then, add:

1 c chocolate chips
1 c white chocolate chips
(I have been known to throw in a few handfuls of chocolate-covered caramel morsels, too... just to add a little extra to the sin-factor)

Drop teaspoonfuls of the batter onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies. Serves one.

It's a good thing Child Number One will be back on Friday evening.

**burp**

Let's hope I'll still fit through the front door by then...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bought today...


At Child Number Two's specific request:

A teeny, tiny Toronto Maple Leafs hockey jersey.

I presented it to her at lunchtime. She donned it immediately, and danced back to school, up-off-the-ground with happiness.

NOW.

The question is: do I have to enlighten her that the Leafs are currently last in their division?

And furthermore: that last is not an unfamiliar place for them to be??

Nah...

Better to give out only "age-appropriate" information, for as long as I can get away with it.

Because, as The Husband remarked when he got home from work this evening:

It's best to start when you're young and innocent, if you're going to be a die-hard Leafs fan. It's been 40 years since The Boys brought home a Stanley Cup, and at the rate they're going, it could be a good chunk of Child Number Two's lifetime before they manage to win another one...

A Great "Canadien" Story...

"The Hockey Sweater" by Roch Carrier

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"It's all about Bums On Seats..."

video

With the utterly splendid Hugh Laurie as "Shakey Bill", and Rowan Atkinson as The Producer...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quote of the day...


"I am NOT naughty... I am MISUNDERSTOOD."

--Child Number Two, age 6

Challenge of the day...


"I Am Not Really a Waitress"
(her favourite colour)

Painting the teeny, tiny toenails
of a squirmy three-year-old...
who also has the hiccups.

From today's Yahoo News...


DES MOINES, Iowa - Jane Hambleton has dubbed herself the "meanest mom on the planet." After finding alcohol in her son's car, she decided to sell the car and share her 19-year-old's misdeed with everyone — by placing an ad in the local newspaper.

The ad reads: "OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."

Hambleton has heard from people besides interested buyers since recently placing the ad in The Des Moines Register.

The 48-year-old from Fort Dodge says she has fielded more than 70 telephone calls from emergency room technicians, nurses, school counselors and even a Georgia man who wanted to congratulate her.

"The ad cost a fortune, but you know what? I'm telling people what happened here," Hambleton says. "I'm not just gonna put the car for resale when there's nothing wrong with it, except the driver made a dumb decision.


"It's overwhelming the number of calls I've gotten from people saying 'Thank you, it's nice to see a responsible parent.' So far there are no calls from anyone saying, 'You're really strict. You're real overboard, lady.'"

The only critic is her son, who Hambleton says is "very, very unhappy" with the ad and claims the alcohol was left by a passenger.

Hambleton believes her son but has decided mercy isn't the best policy in this case. She says she set two rules when she bought the car at Thanksgiving: No booze, and always keep it locked.

The car has been sold, but Hambleton says she will continue the ad for another week — just for the feedback.

All I have to say is this:

Thank you, Ma'am,
from all the rest of us out there on the roads.
You are MY KIND OF MOTHER.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Because I NEED a laugh today (and you probably do, too...)



Donald O'Connor, Extraordinaire!
"Singin' In The Rain"

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Christmas Wish Come True...


There are very few things in life that I love more than a beautiful, White Christmas.

However, once the magical holiday season is over, I confess that I am amongst the very first people up here in the Great White North who start whinging and whining:

"When... oh, WHEN will this blasted Winter be OVER???!!"

I hate being cold. Hate. I WILL, however, put up with being cold --without complaining too much, even!-- IF the date falls BEFORE January 2. Because THAT is when the Post-Holiday-Let-Down begins to set in, and I force myself to set my sights towards my second most favourite season: Planting Season. The very MENTION of the word "plant" makes my heart fill up with delightful anticipation...

WA-HOO, PEOPLE!! Time to set out the seeds,
because The Garden will soon be back in business!!

Well. I guess it kind of depends upon how you define the word "soon".

"Soon", as in... let's just say that last year, there was STILL a gigantic cludge of dirty, discoloured, rock-hard snow sitting in the middle of my front lawn in late May. I finally got so fed up and depressed by the sight of it, I alarmed my neighbours by going out with my sharpest, most lethal spade, hacked the damn thing to pieces, and threw the remains out into the middle of the road in front of my house.

"Soon", as in... let's just say, I might go out there and claim to be "working the soil" in what we call spring, but it's only the soil as deep-down as is already thawed. And that would be not very deep at all. It is considered EXTREMELY UNWISE to actually set out plants before what we in the Great White North call "The May 2-4 Weekend". Yep, we have been known to sport damaging frosts around these parts right up until June.

Okay. So Planting Season ISN'T coming "soon", as in "any time soon".

Which leaves me to howl at the heavens, immediately after I've polished off every last crumb of the Christmas baking:

"RIGHT!! ENOUGH WITH THE
GIANT DEEP-FREEZE, ALREADY!
THE FRIGGIN' SNOW CAN MELT, ANY TIME NOW!!
BY GOD, ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS SPRING!!!"

And for the past two days, it would appear that SOMEBODY up there has been listening.

For the past several days, in this gigantic sno-globe we call Home...

It Has Been Raining.

Yes, you read that right: RAINING.

Today, it was dark and dreary and drizzly and delightful, and my thermometer read a most satisfying PLUS 14 DEGREES CELSIUS!!

And the snow?

That lovely, Christmassy white stuff that dumped and dumped all over us late last year??

Gone.

As in: GONE.

I actually went out into my garden in my shirt sleeves this afternoon, in the pouring rain, not only to fill up the birdfeeders, but also to perform a little ritual soft-shoe on the patio, à la Gene Kelly in My Most Favouritest Movie of All-Time...

I know this reprieve from the harshness of winter is precious, and will, no doubt, be extremely short-lived... But today, I was thankful, and giddy with happiness.

And I think maybe... It might just be time to start taking those Christmas decorations down, now, after all.

Because you really need to SEE this to FEEL it...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A New Role for a New Year...


Today, at our house, the role of Cleopatra
will be played by Yours Truly.

Why Cleopatra, you ask?

Because. She was Queen of De-nial, of course.

And today, I absolutely and completely confess: I am in SERIOUS denial.

How did these holidays pass me by so quickly?? There is just NO way, after ALL that work and ALL that stress, planning and preparing and cooking... NO WAY that they are already over, and I will be schlepping my poor wee girlies back to their respective schools bright'n'early tomorrow morning.

No. Way.

But, as they say in Wayne's World, "WAAAAYYY!!" And so here I am, scrambling like a madwoman, trying desperately to savour every. single. last. minute. of Holiday Togetherness that I possibly can.

For starters, I have decided NOT to take down the Christmas Decorations this week.

HAH! Take THAT, 2008!!

Oh, I know, I know ALL about that "Twelfth Night" stuff... Revelry and craziness and hot mulled wine and all that. And, as my friend Beck so kindly mentioned on her blog this weekend:

January 5th - The Twelfth Day of Christmas, or Twelfth Night.This is it - the last day of Christmas JUST LIKE IN THE SONG. Take down your Christmas decorations because to have them up tomorrow is terrible luck. In fact, you should burn your tree today if you can.

Well, I'm just going to have to risk it. Because my decorations were just too damn beautiful this year. And the fact that that tree fell on me and nearly did me in absolutely CLINCHES my decision to keep it up another few days, just to wring every single little bit of enjoyment and pleasure out of it that I possibly can. It owes me, people. Big-time.

Today is Epiphany. And for Epiphany, I've had a PERSONAL epiphany.

And that is: I don't have to be "perfect" or "start fresh" today if I don't WANT TO.

What I want to do is go slowly. Enjoy my family. Take it easy...

And earn myself a big, fat Standing-O for portraying an impeccable Cleopatra... Queen of De-Nial... For as LONG as I can POSSIBLY get away with it...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Just one of the MILLIONS of reasons why I love Old Musicals...

video

"You'd Be Surprised!"

by Irving Berlin, and sung by the immortal Madeline Kahn

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

... and a Happy New Year


Here's the thing...

I don't make New Year's Resolutions.

I used to-- but was dismayed to realize that I almost always set unrealistic goals for myself, and then became depressed about the fact that I couldn't adhere to the resolutions... for more than a few days or weeks, anyway.

This week, however, when I was reading my friend Leann's wonderful blog, "The World Through The Eyes of Me", I discovered that she had posted something that could, REALISTICALLY, become my New Year's Resolution... And one that I am determined to keep:

To My Child

Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry
and pick you up and take you to the park to play.

Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink
and let you teach me how to put that puzzle together.

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off
and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.

Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny
when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck
and I will buy you one if he comes by.

Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up,
or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.

Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies
and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.

Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal
so you can have both toys.

Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.

Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.

Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray,
I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.

I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children.

The mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms.

The mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.

And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter.

A little longer.

It is then, that I will thank God for you
and ask him for nothing.

Except one more day.

-Author Unknown-

Parenting is hard. Hard, because all too often, Life. Gets. In. The. Way. And then there's that indescribable fatigue... fatigue that is so bone-achingly deep, it is hard to press on past it.

But, THIS year, thanks to Leann, I am going to make the "To My Child" post my own personal New Year's Resolution. And I'm going to try and remember it, not "just for this morning", or "just for this afternoon", or "just for this evening"... but way, WAY more often than that.

Because, childhood is short.

And, when it comes right down to it, it's the little stuff that matters in life, more than anything else.

 
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