Friday, January 28, 2011

My Raciest Post Ever

Caution: This post contains some mild sexual content. Mostly involving cats. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Having taught Sex Ed to 6th graders in my former life, I am a firm believer in being open and honest with my kids and not making this subject taboo. So when Firstborn asks questions, I like to give him the basic information he's looking for without getting too in-depth, and without any embarrassment or secretiveness. This morning, we had the following conversation:

Firstborn: Can I have a cookie?

Me: It's 9AM, so no.

Firstborn: Mom, why did we get Anakin neutered?

Me: So he can't accidentally have babies with any girl cats.

Firstborn: How would he do that?

Me: (mom radar perking up and not wanting to say too much) Cats are mammals, so they have babies the same way we do. The dad helps the mom with it.

Firstborn: Oh, so the mom cat has an egg in her tummy and the dad cat has that other thing. What's that thing called again?

Me: Sperm.

Firstborn: Well, that dad cat must have to really shove that sperm in there because cats have LOTS of babies!

Me: (panic stricken and shooting coffee out of my nose) Let's have a cookie!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wishes

Today there is a lot of buzz here about a local online discussion forum. Someone from the Booming Metropolis area started a new thread asking people to post their wishes, and asking those who could grant them to do so. The result has been quite fascinating.

Admittedly, in order to find the gems, you do have to sift through 70 pages of people asking for a wealthy benefactor to pay off their astronomical credit card debt, presumably so they can go right back out there and rack up some more. And there was also the middle-aged man who admitted that his wish was to have a couple of hot 20 year-olds come sit in a hot tub with him (in his defense, he did also want someone to come fix his wife's car. Husband of the Year!). Some of the posts, though, really tugged at the heart strings.

I wanted to cry for the out-of-work mother who didn't have enough money to cover the costs of her child's expensive prescription medication, and hug the dozens of people who pledged amounts large and small to ensure that this child continued to receive it. Ditto for the woman wanting to get out of an abusive relationship for the sake of her kids, and for the sheer number of people unemployed and just wanting to work, and those who were desperate to lose weight or quit smoking before it killed them. Reading through this stuff made me realize just how good I have it.

When I got to the post from someone who had lost the support of her entire family because she'd come out of the closet and just wanted a safe, private place to to marry her partner, I very nearly emailed the Captain and informed him that when he got home this spring, he'd be standing at the end of our driveway in his army boots, bouncing homophobic party-crashers while I walked around our ramshackle backyard in heels and a headset, barking orders at the caterers. Luckily (for the Captain. I am devastated), a couple of other people with acreages far closer to the city, and likely in far more appropriate condition for this fairy-tale event, had the same idea. It's probably for the best. When I imagine my dream nuptials, they don't usually involve wedding pictures with my dog pooping in the background, being down-wind of the sewage ejector, a runaway cow crashing through the fence, or a filthy and excited Rosemary's Baby swinging from the trees.

The generosity of people is a heartening thing to see. I lost more than an hour of my life reading people's wishes and seeing others make them come true, but I can't say that hour was wasted.

Still keeping it simple over here. More to come!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Style


I got an award! Look at this:


Thanks, Suburban Princess! I get called a lot of things these days, but "stylish" isn't usually one of them, so this was a very pleasant surprise!

In accepting this award, I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about myself, and I thought I'd keep it style-themed, just to prove there are still a few brain cells lighting up in there. Or whatever it is brain cells do when they're working...

1. I prefer pearls to diamonds, though I won't say no to either.

2. I own 22 pairs of boots. Don't ask.

3. Covered in animal hair is, unfortunately, my signature look.

4. I rarely wear necklaces or bracelets because I have a short, pudgy neck and a kid who likes to yank things. But I won't leave the house without earrings, one chunky cocktail ring on my right hand (wedding set on the left) and a watch on my right wrist.

5. Finding a label I couldn't possibly afford new, in my size at the thrift store for under $10 is the most thrilling feeling in the world. If it still has the original tags attached, I might lose consciousness.

6. I don't own many dresses because I have a rare condition called upside-down-butternut-squash syndrome. I'm a size 8 on the bottom, and a 10 (at best) on top. I like to think of it as God's ultimate practical joke as I try not to topple over from my top-heaviness.

7. I'm no fashion snob, and I like a frugal ensemble as much as the next girl, but I never cheap out on regularly-worn footwear. That's the kind of thing that'll come back to haunt you when you're 80.

I don't generally pass these things on, usually for lack of time, but I do have a few blog buddies who really deserve this award:

In Real Life: She's training for a marathon and doing it in style. I'm inspired!

Glenda: A serious paper crafting pro. She's the epitome of style!!

Melanie: She's focusing on the bigger picture, abandoned her purse addiction (crazy!!) and is getting us all connected. Join the discussion!

Check these girls out. They have all the style of a room full of Vogue editors, without the attitude or eating disorders!

Wishing you all a stylish Wednesday!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Target!

It's finally happened. Target is coming to Canada!

I know as a proud Canadian, I should be observing a moment of silence and mourning the loss of a great national institution, but my sister and I both worked for the Hudson's Bay Company, and I don't think either of us would consider it a particularly great employer. On top of that, two (TWO!) of my siblings were unfairly accused of shoplifting by overzealous security guards there as children. So frankly, Zellers can kiss my enormous butt. And I'm crossing my fingers that JC Penney wants to come in and take down the Bay too.

I've been collecting HBC rewards points since 1987. Back then, they were called Club Z points. I have never used them. I just kept racking them up, dreaming that one day I'd be able to buy myself a lawnmower or something. Well, once the news hit yesterday, I figured I'd better beat the rush, so I hustled over to the website to cash in my 483,000 points. It turns out that 23 years of dutifully handing over my points card has culminated in (drumroll, please...) a $50 gift card. Nothing to sneeze at. A bit of an anti-climax though, I have to admit.

But no matter. Soon, I'll be sifting through Target clearance racks and enjoying way better dollar bins than Zellers was ever able to come up with! I'm looking forward to enjoying amazing deals on shoes, bags and jewellery! Which is not to suggest that I need any of it, of course. Besides, if all the other American takeovers of the last two decades are any indication, I probably shouldn't get my hopes up. Going to Wal Mart usually makes me want to blow my own head off, and an attempted online purchase at Bath and Body Works last week ended in disaster when they tried to charge me $20 shipping for a half-dozen pump soaps. I guess when it comes down to it, you can put a new face on and spruce things up all you like, but you really need that American population and ravenous appetite for consumption, or it just won't be the same.

Still, I'm betting it won't stop us from looking.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another Random Thursday


I seem to be back to posting once a week at best. The truth is, there's just not that much going on. Unless you all really want three posts a week detailing how much cleaner my floors are lately, or what a relief it is to have finally picked up all that clutter in my basement. If that's the case, I could keep you riveted for days.

Here are some random shots instead:

The Dirt Dog really is the greatest thing that ever happened to me as a housewife.


Rosemary's Baby is a big fan of huckleberry jam. Good thing, because no one else is, and I have about 10 quarts of it in the pantry.


Check out what RB has recently started drawing! Must be all that brain-boosting huckleberry jam.


It may be time to patch up the hole in the basement ceiling...

Over the holidays, I discussed the lousy selection of Barbie outfits available these days with Sister #1. She has three girls, so she keeps up on these important issues. When I went to buy a Barbie for the gift tree at Zellers last month, there were about 20 different Barbies but only 3 (pretty skanky) outfit packages to choose from. This confused me, because when I was 10, the Barbie section at K-Mart was like heaven on earth for a budding fashionista. There must've been hundreds of outfits to choose from. These days, the evil geniuses at Mattel have realized that if they don't make extra outfits, the only way for little girls to get a good Barbie wardrobe going is to buy dozens of dolls. It was bad enough that the original store-bought clothes were about the cheapest quality you could get. Now they're trying to squeeze even more money out of this by not making clothes at all? Well, screw that! I've come up with the smartest business idea ever. Behold! Practice Gown #1:

This is my ratty old Sindy doll, and she's the only doll I will ever use to model these sorts of things. No flawless, botoxed, anorexic, flashy new Barbie dolls at MY modelling gigs. Here, you get the real deal!

If you do any shoe shopping online, you might be familiar with the satin shoe bags that some companies include when you buy their stuff. That's what I used to make this navy strapless ball gown with a bubble hem and bow detail in the back (it's more form-fitting than it looks. The bow bulks up the look a bit and I need to work on my photography skills). The best part about making Barbie clothes for my nieces is that I can use up scraps of fabric that aren't really big enough to do anything else with. Here are some more examples of fabric/yarn scrap use in action:




I'm still at the practice stage, but essentially, there's next to no cost, it doesn't take a lot of time, and there's a need for this particular product out there on the market.

If I could dig down deep and find my inner entrepreneur, I'd be a millionaire!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Quick Catch Up

Here we are a week into the new year and I'm just sluggishly making my way back to blogging. Did you think I'd gotten stuck in a snow bank? It was a distinct possibility. I have to veer off the beaten path out there to find the compost pile, and I do sometimes suddenly find myself knee-deep. Roll on April!

The boys and I had to drop the Captain off in the capital this week. He's gone to Ontario for 10 weeks on course. This, obviously, is no fun at all. But if all goes to plan, this should be the last long separation for us for a while. Unless he gets deployed again, which is always a possibility. But finally, after more than 7 years of him being gone at least 6 months out of the year, he may actually be able to settle into a more "normal" 9 to 5 kind of schedule for a while. Hallelujah to that!!

While in the big city, I made sure to stop at the HUGE Value Village and grab myself a few sweaters and a really nice shirt. I swear, I could've spent the Captain's next 6 months of pay in there. There was a lovely classic Marks and Spencer grey wool coat with satin detail that stopped me in my tracks. I have so many coats, I couldn't fit another one into my closet, but at $25, I was sorely tempted to cram this one in there anyway. They had a massive array of adorable skirts in my size, but I have a closet full of barely-worn skirts and they're so easy to make, it'd be ridiculous for me to buy more. Still, the variety alone was tempting. I managed to get out of there without bankrupting us though, and the kids were thrilled with the books and toys they got to choose. Man, I love thrifting!

The rest of my week has been spent working on my New Year's resolution to keep it simple. I'm thinking a monthly check-in will keep me honest throughout the year, but it was definitely a good idea to move from having one specific resolution to just having a more generalized idea in mind of what I want my life to look like.

One thing that struck me this week is how many sources of low-grade irritation there are in my day-to-day existence. I'm talking about things that aren't urgent, but are constantly annoying, like the clutter on the microwave, the curtain rod in the living room that's been down since Rosemary's Baby swung Tarzan-style on it, and the various unfinished home improvement jobs. So this week, I turned off the computer and started getting to work just dealing with those things--no big crazy everything-must-get-done-or-I'm-a-failure ultimatums. Just looking at what needs to be fixed and working on it one thing at a time and seeing where it takes me. I tell you, you would not believe how much you can get done with no computer to distract you! The basement is clean! The kitchen is tidy! And it's amazing how much of a weight that is off my mind! Keeping it simple is improving my life already!!

Now, if I could just get into the habit of keeping it simple on the treadmill and around the leftover holiday baking...