Tag Archives: ramblings

Summertime, and the living is …

Let me say right now I LOVE summer and am not in reality, a Debbie Downer. I am however a critical thinker, and I’m just not going to sugarcoat it anymore. As we officially embark into summer and I proudly display my chalky bare legs resplendent with spider veins and bug bites, I find myself pondering some of the “great” things about summer that if I’m honest – are not that great.  I’m talking about things that people pretend are awesome, but they’re just NOT.  Hear me out –  my top ten.

# 1 CONVERTIBLES.  If the day is hot enough to have the top down, that also means the seat is the temperature of the sun, and you will lose at least one layer of skin from the back of your legs.  Things will cool off somewhat when you get up to speed, at about the same time your head tries to fully blow off.  If you have hair, you arrive looking like you did that time you went to the science centre and put your hand on that thing (Note, not a science geek)  If you don’t have hair  – and many sporty muscle car owners don’t (these are mostly owned by senior men who are trying to recapture youth by way of finally owning a car that the actual cool guys in the ‘70s had) – then sadly the whole cool effect is lost with the Tilley hat with built in SPF and chinstrap.

#2 SUNROOFS – see# 1, with the added bonus of all your receipts and loose paper car contents swirling around you as you drive, like you’re in a vacuum canister.

# 3 What offers endless bending over, huge amounts of dirt, constant neediness and ultimate disappointment?  If you said parenting, you’re wrong (are you though?).   The answer was VEGETABLE GARDENING.  UGH.  Planting a bunch of stuff, then trying to figure out if whatever comes up is what you want or if it’s a weed, then WATERING it a whole bunch of times in a row, then trying to decipher what disease it has (ALWAYS has a disease)  or what exactly is the bug that’s eating it and then going to the Farmer’s Market to buy your produce anyway.

#4 FARMER’s MARKETS – Yes, please “Organic Sarah”  I’ll pay you $8.00 for 2 tomatoes and a sunflower, because I came up too close to your booth and so now I’ve entered into some sort of unspoken contract to buy something because we spoke and you’re obviously gifted because your tomatoes aren’t diseased or riddled with holes from pests unknown. And I want to look all Harrowsmith/whimsical-like in my sundress and take the visual focus off my aforementioned legs – therefore I’ll carry the sunflower out in plain view, preferably in a wicker basket #blessed.

#5 CAMPING. Enough said.

#6CAMPFIRES.  Can’t even concentrate on the singing of Kumbaya when it’s equivalent to having 6  chainsmokers sit 2 inches away and aggressively blow smoke in your face.  The burning eyes and air quality issues are only forgotten when nursing wounds of small children who have eaten charred marshmallows that are the approximate temperature of molten lava.  The smell of the campfire in your clothes and hair is a gift that keeps on giving, well into the fall.

#7 POND SWIMS   No thank you.  It’s always FREEZING.  Either your feet touch gross mud or slippery rocks.  SO many other creatures are in there too.  Creepy little spiders that shoot along the top of the water like aliens. Turtles.  Fish.  Crayfish. There COULD be leeches.   Once a watersnake almost touched me.  There was a bit of a scene.  Let’s just say I’m glad ponds don’t have that chemical in the water that turns purple if you know what I mean.

#8FISHING.  The ACTUAL worst.  You have to carry a lot of gear.  You have to be QUIET.  You have to touch the grossest stuff to bait your hook, then via trickery, you try to get an unsuspecting fish,  minding his or her own fish business, to lunge for it out of hunger, only to have it rewarded by getting unceremoniously dragged kicking (with no legs) and screaming (with no voice) into your boat or up on shore, where you then decide to toss it back in with the worst lip piercing story ever, or the other fate of it gets to become your probably mercury laden dinner. Thumbs down.  Two words – Captain Highliner.

#9USING MY CLOTHSLINE  This one I’m torn about.  I like hanging the clothes up.  I love watching them flap in the breeze.  But I then lose interest and I definitely don’t want to go get them off the line.  Sometimes they stay out there for days, and come back in the house with the addition of bird poop. When I do eventually bring them inside, I don’t like that the towels are stiff and can stand up by themselves and can also do double duty as dermabrasion device.  Plus, EVERYTHING needs ironed which, let’s be honest, was never even a possibility.

#10   SANDALS  I do like that they are cool and comfy.  But it’s hard enough keeping my hair/face/hands presentable to the rest of the world, but then there is the added burden of FEET. All winter they get to be hidden away in the deep dark recesses of my boots. Now add to the growing checklist of grooming tasks (eg – did I fill in the bare spots of both of my eyebrows or just the one?  Are there any new rogue whiskers that people are too scared/shy/mean to tell me about? Did I convincingly cover up that age spot that aspires to be a third eye?) … I now also have to worry about if my toenail polish is chipping and do my heels look like an ancient creek bed in the Sahara dessert.

That’s my 10 – and perfect timing – I couldn’t even make this up if I tried.  Hubby just stuck his head in and told me to water the vegetable garden.  So, here goes 30 minutes  and several gallons of water I’ll never get back.  I guess it could be worse.  We could be heading up north in a convertible for a combo camping/fishing trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Home and Garden, Humor, Thats Life

Memories of Mischief and Mayhem

Took a little trip in a time machine this week. I found a journal that I used to keep when the kids were little. Below are a few of excerpts, from the early nineties. This is very timely, because sometimes I get melancholy about missing my little ones. A quick trip down memory lane takes a bit of the sting out of empty nest syndrome.

May 1993 (kid’s ages 2, 4, 6)

When we were going to town this afternoon, I put on nice clean white pants and a nice top, and felt not too hideous. I get out of the car at the school and the whole pocket of my pants at the front is covered in chocolate. Nobody even had chocolate. When I asked where the chocolate came from, Laura  does this very exaggerated shrug and says, “I don’t know. Katie bad.” So that explains that. Also just for a treat, somebody left about 12 crayons in the back seat and they melted all over the upholstery of the new Mazda.  I had to clean it up as best I could, using a blow dryer to melt it and a spoon to scrape it up.  Tonight I was making muffins and I turned my back for a minute. The next thing I knew Laura was carefully spooning dishwater into my batter. 

And then another one from about a year later …

The girls are going through a stage now where they love to listen to Alanis Morisette. I had a nephew tape songs for Richard, and he was supposed to edit out the suggestive songs, but guess he forgot. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen 3 year old Laura lustily belting out, “I don’t want to be your mother, I didn’t carry you in my room for 9 months”. (18 years later SHE makes fun of ME for getting song lyrics wrong)

There will be blood …

Took girls into town to Foodland and Best Buy, thought about picking up Richard but didn’t know when school got out. (What kind of mother doesn’t know what time school gets out???) Took girls to park and came home. Richard got off bus, tried to ride his bike to house, fell and put a big hole in his face. Was bleeding all over, and screaming that he didn’t want to go to the hospital. Away we went to Emerg, with Kate and a very cranky Laura in tow. For an encore Laura wiped out on the floor of the waiting room and put her bottom teeth through her lip. More blood. I’m thinking I’m in hell. Richard was very brave getting his face stitched up – even though the whole time he was getting stitched up Laura was kicking the gurney he was laying on, so basically the Dr. had to stitch up a moving target.

And more blood

We had a classic drive home from Milton tonight, where the kids fought the entire trip in the back of Mazda, and then it rained from Rockwood on. About Arthur it turned to hail, and shortly after Richard got an incredible nosebleed and the next thing Laura was bawling her head off because Richard got blood on her blanket.

Oct 2, 1995 – And even more blood …

For Richard’s birthday we gave him a Sega game and dad gave him some homemade arrows that he could use with his homemade bow. He was pretty good with it for days, but the other night when I was preparing for a small dinner party we were hosting, he made one shot straight up in the air that was quite spectacular I guess, because Kate watched it all the way up and then all the way down, until it hit her right between the eyes. We heard the most horrific screams coming from both of them outside and Kate came running in with blood streaming down her face and all over her sweater.  Took her to the hospital and they taped it so it wouldn’t scar. By the time I got home our guests were here, and I had to say “Let me get out of this bloody shirt and then we’ll get dinner on the table.”  Nice. On the upside though,  I think they’re considering giving me my own parking space at Emerg at the hospital, and the doctors call me by my first name. (And in our defense,  how could we have possibly known that arming a seven-year old walking sibling rivalry complex with a bow and arrow might end badly?)

And the barfing

Yesterday morning I was awakened at 6:00am to the sound of someone puking. It was Kate, hanging over the top bunk. Laura was oblivious, asleep in the bottom bunk. When she woke up she told me that she was dreaming that it was raining lasagna.

Oh, good times. I guess I do have revisionist recall, because in my memories everyone is very cute and adorable and well-behaved.  I guess I just have a fairly high tolerance for all the  people  I carried in my room.

P.S. – I wasn’t the only one having fun in the nineties.  In my journal I also reported on my sister’s life…  My nephew (6 at the time) “… was playing with his mom’s new speed dial phone the other day and phoned her work and left a message saying things like “Arsehole” and “I hate you”.  It was on the machine when her partners came into work. She was so proud.”

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Filed under Family, Humor, Kids, Memories

The Powers of Austin

Driving to work these days, I keep seeing a lot of newborn baby animals in the field.  It always gets me thinking of a certain little calf that had a pretty rocky start at our place.

My husband always says, “If you’ve got live stock, you’ve got dead stock.”  That particular spring we had a tragic incident of a cow that died while giving birth.  The thing was,  on top of having to deal with the trauma of the scary dead stock truck coming, there was  still a little matter of a newborn calf to contend with.  In a previous life I had worked a vet office for almost a decade, and I knew that there was virtually no chance of us hand raising the little guy.  I tried to break it to the kids, who at that time were about 6, 8 and 10.  The little calf, while cute as heck, had very little chance of survival, unless we found him a surrogate mother, which seemed unlikely within our usual social circles.

My 10 year old son was totally accepting and matter of fact about the calf’s impending demise.  In true male form, if it wasn’t going to affect him in a negative way, he was fine with it.  (This is the same boy who, when he thought his little friend Zach who was over for a playdate had been completely swallowed up and met his end in the “quicksand” near our pond, stated simply “Well, guess I’ve got no more friend to play with.”)  His sisters however, are caring nurturers (just like their mom), and they were staunch in their determination to save the little orphan.   My husband humoured them by going to the Co-op and buying a big bottle with a nipple on it, (which for some reason my son found hilarious)  and something called “calf starter”, which sounded appropriate.

I came home from work the next night and here was this calf (now named “Austin” – as in Powers) casually lounging, tied to the tree in our front yard.  The girls were taking turns mixing up his formula, and feeding it to him in his big giant bottle.  I was very surprised to see that he was looking quite perky, and certainly seemed to be loving all the fussing and petting he was getting.   He really gave that bottle a workout over the next few days – the nipple got longer (and funnier) every day.

The girls continued their TLC, and Austin never looked back.  He grew stronger every day.  The only issue that he developed was an identity crisis.  He had no idea he was a cow.  He hung around the house and the yard, like the dog and the cats.  In fact, if you threw the Frisbee for the dog, he would run alongside the dog to get it.  If he arrived at the Frisbee first, he had no idea what to do with it  — but I think he may have derived satisfaction from humiliating Riley by making him come in second to a cow in a footrace .  It was a classic case of  bullying. (Sorry ... couldn’t resist)

Once it became evident that Austin may in fact survive, we attempted to initiate him into the herd of cows.  He trailed along behind us wherever we went, so we would walk out to the field where the cows and their calves were, and we would stand there quietly and wait until he became interested in grazing alongside them.  Then we would sneakily tiptoe away and then run toward the house.  Without fail, he would race past us on his way back to the house with a terrified look on his face that seemed to say “HOLY CRAP – WAIT UP YOU GUYS –  you almost left me out there with those COWS!!”

Sometimes my husband would be out barbequing steaks, and the dog always hung around the BBQ, but now Austin joined too and  it was super awkward. We always felt the need to apologize, and assure him that these delectable cuts on our plate were no relation to him …or  that they “had it coming”, or that this one “ was quite sick anyway and we just had to put it out of its misery .” He seemed unconvinced.

I knew things were completely out of hand one day though, when I was out on the lawn talking to the kids, with the dog and calf sprawled nearby.  The phone rang, and I ran into the house to get it.  Austin liked to chase anything that ran…. and I made the mistake of leaving the door open behind me.  I grabbed the phone, and then I heard the distinctive sound of the pitter patter of hooves on my kitchen floor. Who knew that cows could run up steps?  I’m sure that the insurance lady on the phone thought I’d lost it.  I screamed, and then muttered something incoherent about having to call her back because I had to get the “stupid cow” out of my house . (Probably thought I was just having a Coronation Street style brawl with a crazy female acquaintance.)

But happily, one day out of the blue, Austin became a petty thief, and our days of having to bottle feed him ended.  For no apparent reason, he simply one day decided to join the rest of the bovines out in the field.  He strolled out, ducked underneath the electric fence, like he’d been doing it his whole life.  He waited in the shadows until one of the calves was nursing beside its mother, and then he casually walked up behind her and without so much as a “how do you do” he proceeded to start nursing on her other teat from behind, sticking his head between her back legs.  She couldn’t really kick him away because if she did she would kick away her own baby too.

It was a most successful venture.  So began his life of crime as a milk stealer.  He wasn’t particular about which cow-mom he stole milk from, whoever was handy.  He became part of the “cool calf” gang in the field, and forgot about his brief stint as a Golden Retriever wannabe.  He was lucky he had little calf friends with MILMs – or “Mom’s I’d like to Milk”, and he grew fat and strong,  and like most adolescents, forgot all the civilized manners we taught him and began acting like he’d been born in a barn.

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Filed under Animal Stories, Family, Farm Life, Humor

Fashionably Late

It’s always the badly dressed people who are the most interesting.                  ~Jean Paul Gaultier

Even so, it may be time to think about a new wardrobe.  Mine is, after all, largely from the previous century, and I mean that literally.  I’ve just never been much of a fashion maven.  My weight over the past few decades has stayed fairly consistent, which I guess is the good news, and the bad news is that means I never HAVE to buy any new clothes, so I don’t.

Occasionally I’ll buy something current because I’ll notice that my collars are way huger and pointier than anyone else’s in the room (think Elvis Presley), or I’ll go to a meeting where I’m the only one sporting Alexis Carrington giant shoulders (Google it).  Or I go to a class at the gym and I’m the only the one wearing a headband,  tights, leg warmers and a fuschia high-cut leotard.

People talk about fashion faux pas such as wearing white after Labour Day and stuff.  Mine have always been a little more basic, and obvious.  Like the day I arrived at work wearing panty hose that had another complete pair of panty hose balled up in one of the legs.  It looked like a tumour. Or the time I was performing a last minute button repair to my black silk dress in the car, enroute to a wedding. (Hmm… black to a wedding? That was probably bad too.) Things seemed to have gone okay, the button was back in place, until I stood up to get out of the car, and my glasses, which had been on my lap, were now firmly attached to the bottom of my dress.

Or the day I wore two different shoes. In my defense, they were both black. I had to stop on the way to work to drop the kids off at my moms, and she looked all concerned and asked,  “Are you limping?”  It seems that the heels weren’t even the same size. (Note: I was extremely busy and tired throughout the nineties.)  Of course, I couldn’t go to work like that, so we dug through her closet to find a pair that I could borrow.  At that stage of Mom’s life she was mostly wearing house slippers, so I opted for her “Christmas” shoes – a lovely  pair of black velvet pumps,  complete with some shiny bling on the toe.  Did I mention it was July? Looked fabulous with my summer dress. Nobody at work batted an eye.  They were used to my “unique sense of style” by now.

I guess I just don’t have a good grasp of the subtle nuances of fashion, such as accessories and whatnot.  Like I get confused when I hear someone say something is too “Matchy-matchy”.  What???? I thought that was the idea?  Crap.  There go my themed, all beige outfits that make me look thin AND naked.  Plus, what’s going on with belts?  I had one thin belt that served me well through the seventies, but then I needed a giant version for the eighties and then in the nineties I think I mostly wore bib overalls and suspenders … so now that it’s 2011 which belt should I even keep?

And once we figure out the belt situation – what pants can I wear?  Are the ones with the huge wide legs and cuffs out now?  How about the pair with the built in fake seam right up the middle?  Are my Steve Erkel jeans that go up to my rib cage okay, or should I be wearing the “low-rise” ones that proudly display a plumber crack if I drop something?  Am I supposed to be wearing skinny jeans?  (At some point things got blurry when my girls and I started wearing the same size, and I wouldn’t let them get rid of any clothing items that fit me and had perfectly good wear left in it.)  I’m now either embarrassingly outdated or just plain embarrassing as hell with my low rise jeans and my West-49 belly top.

And once in awhile it seems a fashion memo goes out that I have simply not been copied on.  Like a few years back when suddenly it was okay by “business casual” standards to wear an untucked shirt under a pullover v-necked sweater.  It was an outrage, and I couldn’t do it! It was all I could do to resist tucking OTHER people’s shirts in.  I continued to tuck, fashion police be damned.  Eventually I finally conformed, but still felt like a sloppy rebellious adolescent, with my shirt tail flapping in the breeze.  Compliance was made easier by the fact that it is physically impossible to tuck anything into low rise pants.

And finally,  what’s with the whole movement toward scarf accessorizing?  I love the way they look on the magazine people, all chic and sophisticated, outfits with a matching scarf (but not TOO matching) casually slung around the neck area all elegant-like.  So I buy them, or I ask for them as gifts – and unless my daughter arranges it for me, I always just end up with a giant knot tied at my throat, looking like a croupy toddler all ready to go outside and build a snowman.

It’s not easy being this interesting.

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Filed under Fashion, Humor

Mentalpausal Musings

Wow, times have really changed.  I remember when my mom went through “the change”, she was CRAZY.   Certifiable.  Us kids still at home probably should have been placed into some sort of protective custody, but those were different times.  She had intermittent crazy eyes, and a flair for the dramatic, and when she was really feeling it, she would burst into a rousingly mournful rendition of the country tune “Unwanted, Unneeded, Unloved”.  Good times.  Hmmm, now that I see that written down, there may have been some underlying self-esteem issues going on,  but I can’t say for sure –  I’m not a doctor. Or Oprah.

Now that Barbie and I are both 50+, I may have had a couple of menopausal symptoms so far, but all in all I think things are going pretty well.  At work, I’ve pretty much mastered the art of staying focused during meetings, even though I am sometimes dangerously close to bursting into flames.  At home, in spite of the wintry weather,  we keep our house heated to a blistering 62 degrees (as further proof of my age, I still speak Farenheit.  Still not convinced this whole “metric system” thing is going to catch on).  At least at home I can dress the way that I want (HA- and everyone said I was crazy for keeping those tube tops I got in the summer of ’77).    At work I dress business casual, which usually means dress slacks and turkeynecks.  Oh – sorry  – turtlenecks.  Just an unfortunately accurate Freudian slip.

There might have been a couple instances of lapses of memory.  I begrudgingly had to confess to one recently, when hubby asked why I was feeling my toothbrush and I had to admit that it was to see if I had brushed my teeth yet.  He said, “You used to have to do that to check up on the kids”, which naturally made me run dramatically upstairs weeping loudly.

Couple other subtle signs.  I got to the store and read my grocery list and it said:  Milk, Eggs, Mayo, Bread, Peanut butter , Mayo, Coffee, Paper Towels, Mayo.

Plus it’s getting expensive –  I suffer from chronic lack of counter space, so was using the George Foreman grill on the top of the stove to cook some asparagus, and even though the grill was on, “HIGH”,  just for good measure I apparently also cranked the burner underneath to “HIGH” .  What made things worse, as it was snapping and cracking and smelling, I was casually thumbing through a magazine and said “That thing stinks – there’s something wrong with it.”  Hubby leapt into his stop, drop, and roll routine, taking it out to the lawn, as I chased him to salvage the asparagus.  That stuff costs like $3.99 a pound.  Yeah, that’s right – a pound.

I’m not yet singing along to sad Country tunes (mostly because I can’t remember the words) , and I don’t have crazy eyes, and I don’t terrify the children – although rumour has it that their plans to come home for the summer are now “up in the air.”  Come to think of it, I have also noticed that the cats are now a little tentative around me.  Like for example, they meow at the door to come in, but if I’m the one that opens it they crane their necks to see past me to see if anyone else is home before making their final decision, and, inexplicably, when I’m alone, they sometimes opt to just  stay standing out in the rain….        Unwanted ….

Plus I’ve been going out of my way to be considerate, and caring and maternal, and my busy offspring don’t even have the time to acknowledge the motherly comments I make on their photos they post on Facebook,  like “Did you really wear that?” and “Looks like your skin flared up again – maybe should layoff the pizza.”  If caring is a crime then I’m guilty as charged……Unneeded….. 

AND yes I guess when provoked I may have a bit of a shorter fuse, but that Revenue Canada guy on what they laughingly call the “help” desk I spoke to today can’t prove that I said “effing”  – I’m doubtful that they even record those calls.  ALL I was trying to do was file my daughter’s tax return, as she is quite anxious to get her refund to finance her extended travels so she doesn’t have to come home one minute earlier than necessary.…..Unloved….

But one of the scariest signs of mental instability combined with advancing aging occurred on the weekend when preparing our Easter dinner when I, for no apparent reason, felt the inexplicable urge to make … a jello moulded salad. I think it may be some sort of complex psychological combination of longing for the simpler days and Easter dinners of my youth,  combined with a self-preservation instinct,  preparing myself for the institutional food at the third rate budget senior’s facility of my children’s choosing, that I expect to soon call home.

Oh well.  At least I will have my memories.  Or not.

jello Mould

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Filed under Aging, Family, Humor, Memories

Food for Thought

I was reflecting on how our eating habits have evolved over the past 30+ years of marriage. When we were first married, I didn’t know how to cook.  Somebody took pity on me (or actually probably on my malnourished hubby) and bought me a Betty Crocker cookbook at some point, after having attended a “special occasion” dinner party at my house, which consisted of Shake & Bake pork chops, boil-in- a- bag broccoli WITH cheese sauce if you please, frozen French fries, topped off with a nice Mrs. Smiths frozen apple pie.  You put that with a nice bottle of Baby Duck and BAM you had yourself a 1980 gourmet meal.

Next I learned how to be a by-the- book -cook , and my repertoire expanded so that I was making us delicious little numbers like authentic Caesar salad, which the two of us would romantically eat together by candlelight, from the same large wooden bowl, while gazing into each other’s eyes.

Then the kids came along … and I morphed into some sort of Organic Power Ranger type.  I spent hours painstakingly making nutritious meals and snacks.  I made all my own baby food, and became a bit of a freelance in-your-face nutritionist, recoiling in horror when people tried to contaminate my offspring with the likes of hotdogs.    At one young and overly zealous point I joined forces with my close friend Meryl Streep in a letter writing campaign to government officials, demanding they immediately put a stop to pesticiding the hell out of veggies and fruit. I think we know how that turned out.  I blame Meryl.

Once the kids were in school, I mellowed somewhat, but still carefully prepared home cooked breakfasts, and sent ecoli- proof cooler packed lunches. Snacks were strictly home baked treats.  Of course I found out later, that these home baked treats got very old very fast, and were widely traded on the school market at a ratio of one of my chocolate chip cookies to two for Oreos and Chips Ahoy.  And as for the poisonous threat of hotdogs, I was fighting a losing battle.  The school itself declared an actual day in honor of them, and peer pressure and the fear of being shunned as “different” was stronger than the drive to avoid death by nitrates, so on a weekly basis I sent hotdog day money, constantly torn between my own maternal instinct to protect my children from avoidable toxins, and the more immediate and pressing need for me to have a day off from packing lunches.

As the kids got older, they became even pickier with the school lunches.  I was no longer allowed to send egg sandwiches because they stunk up their locker and the hall and the schoolbus, and, they were constantly being accused of having just farted, which was wreaking havoc with their social lives.  They were increasingly jealous of the cool lunches other kids had – loaded with various plastic delicacies posing as food, such as “cheese”  strings and fruit” roll ups.   Side note –  It didn’t help that my sister also had a teenager at the same time, and  enjoyed some fleeting fame as the coolest mom in the world when she, by accident, sent beer on her Grade 10 son’s lunch not once but twice.  The can looked the same and was located in the same area of the pantry as the pop, was the official explanation.   He was thrilled, both times, and his own cool factor at school reached Fonzie-esque heights. But I digress. ..

Nowadays, our offspring are out in the world and preparing their own meals, they seem to have a healthy appreciation for all the food groups, which I take total credit for. They read the nutritional information on the labels, and make wise food choices.

Meanwhile back at home though, mom and dad have taken a giant leap backward.  A lingering pre-dinner cocktail (but only on the days that end in “y”)  now means that dinner is either: A) non-existent or B) a bag of chips or C) cereal. Where I used to feel a need to cover all the food groups and make meat, veg and potatoes every single day, now I’m in the kitchen dumping snack bags into bowls, preparing a basic wine and cheezie tray, or  muttering about how potatoe chips are technically veggies, and too much meat isn’t good for you,  plus I’ve revised the threat level of pesticides up to red, so vegetables are obviously out.

Hubby and I do still on occasion huddle together sharing a Ceasar salad out of the same big old wooden bowl, but we have abandoned the candlelight in favour of Clapper controlled lighting, and we’re usually sitting side by side on the couch, each with a cat in our lap, yelling out incorrect Jeopardy answers to an ever- pompous Alex Trebec.

Vive la romance!

P.S.

As a partial homage to Betty Crocker,  here is my somewhat bastardized version of her  Ceasar Salad recipe, and a pic of my 32 year old  salad bowl.

1/3 cup oil (I use ½ canola, ½ Olive)

1 tsp worchestershire sauce

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp salt

Fresh Ground pepper

1 ½ tsp lemon juice

Crush  1/2 large clove garlic and smash it all around inside bowl.    Add dressing to bowl (start with about ¼ cup) toss with washed and spun romaine lettuce pieces, adding more dressing as needed, just enough so leaves glisten but not so much that they get wet and gross.

Lastly,  toss with ¼ cup shredded parmesan or even better, those fancy parmesan “petals” and add croutons and crumbled crisp bacon (but not those gross fake bacon “bits”),  if desired.

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Filed under Family, Food, Kids, Marriage, Memories

An Embarrassment of Riches

A number of corporate events I’ve attended have included ice-breaker sessions where we attendees are asked to share our “most embarrassing moment”.  I’m always amazed when people stand up and rhyme off an anecdote about that one time they did something stupid. Are you kidding? How can I possibly choose just one?  My cup runneth over.  My only consolation is that I’ve tried to take a life lesson from each humiliating incident.

Like that time in Grade 8 when I had a role in a school play, cast as a news reporter named “Lena Lampoon”, and I had to burst onto the stage and fling open my coat and say “Lena Lampoon to the rescue folks”,  – except for I flung open both my coat AND my blouse.  Life Lesson –  Even when you’re a perky teenager, you should always wear a bra.

Or … maybe it should be the time in Grade 11 that I went for a job interview as a part-time office assistant for Ontario Hydro, and underwent a five-minute typing test to see how many words per minute I could type.  I’m a really speedy typist – contrary to popular belief,  that is why they called me “fast” in high school.  During the speed test my fingers flew like lightning across the keyboard.   I knew I was about to impress the heck out of my interviewers, and I would have too, if my left hand hadn’t shifted off the home row, and I hadn’t  typed a solid half  page of letters, numbers and symbols, with a noticeable absence of  any actual words.   What made it worse is that I had to go through the whole charade as the girl took my “test” into the Manager in the glassed in office, and the two of them just stared at it for the longest time, before he called me in to interview me to see if my other skills were as remarkable as my typing.  I completed the interview and was surprised to get a call from them shortly after I got home. It was to tell me that I had left my purse hanging on the back of my chair.  Life Lesson – Public Utility job postings are bogus – they already know who they’re hiring.

Or let’s see … it could be that time we went to Bahamas on our honeymoon, with 2 other couples. (I know, I know, you don’t usually take friends on your honeymoon, but we were going down south ANYWAY, and it kind of morphed into a honeymoon.)  I got a big kick out of teasing one of my girlfriends, because she was shy and self conscious and worried about what people thought of her.  I  was always reminding her that since nobody knew us in Bahamas, we could be as outrageous as we wanted. To illustrate my point, I tried to hold hands with her every chance I got, because that really flustered her and she would get super-embarrassed  (It was, after all, 1979).  One day we were all six of us snorkeling, and I swam up to her and tried to take her by the hand, underwater.  She yanked her arm away and swam from me as fast as she could.  I kept grabbing at her, and then she turned and started swimming like a maniac toward my husband … with me right beside her, groping and grabbing at her the whole time.  The faster she went the faster I went.  Except, when we got up closer to the guy – I saw that it wasn’t my husband after all.  I turned to her to say,  “Wait -that’s not him”, but when I did so I looked into terror-filled eyes because it also wasn’t “her” – it was a total stranger lady, and she was swimming for dear life toward her own husband, trying desperately to escape this underwater, unprovoked lesbian attack.  Life Lesson – Nearsighted snorkeling is extremely dangerous.

(My pals didn’t agree to let me to post this, but I figured that A) snorkel masks hide identities better than black tape across the eyes and B) the bodies we currently reside in bear no resemblance to these)

Or, how about when I had FINALLY matured and settled into my role as wife and a front-runner for mother-of- the year, with 3 little ones, the oldest in Kindergarten.   It was time for my very first parent-teacher interview, and I was feeling like a very capable and contemporary version of June Cleaver.  As usual it was hectic getting everyone ready, but I loaded the kids  into the car at the appointed time to meet my son’s teacher.  I sat across from her, and in my most mature and parental voice, asked a number of important and appropriate questions.  Mrs. Mitchell smiled broadly throughout – I could tell she was impressed with my awesome parenting skills.  We finished our chat, shook hands, and I returned to the car and buckled everyone into their carseats, feeling quite pleased with myself.  I got into the driver’s seat, and then caught a glimpse of my reflection in the rear view mirror.  The turtleneck sweater I was wearing was not only inside out, it was also on backwards.  I had conducted the entire conversation with a very large rectangular gold label right at my throat.   Life Lesson – Teachers have a dark side.

And sadly,  that only brings us up to the early nineties.  I think that from here on in I’m going to see if these corporate events can switch it up a bit – and ask the question:   “What was your most successful, effective and mature moment?”  That way I will have much less trouble standing up and rhyming off about that one time…

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