Tuesday, November 22, 2011

They Don't Call it a "Mom Blog" for Nothing

Well ladies, I'm finally back and I've got something to brag about!

All girls love receiving jewellery, right? Even the most serious marriage-eschewing feminist wouldn't say no to a nice string of pearls, or a diamond-encrusted brooch. It's in our DNA!

So today, when a very important man in my life came home with a little something sparkly for me, I was obviously thrilled. I've been wearing it all day:


Yeah, that's right. RB made this beaded masterpiece for me in nursery school today. And it's one of a kind, so don't even think about trying to score one for yourself.

In all seriousness, considering the state of his fine motor skills a year ago, this is something special indeed!

I'll be wearing it with this chic accompaniment:


Firstborn made this bracelet for me for Mother's Day 2009. The instructions were to pick beads in Mom's favourite colours. But since Firstborn didn't know my favourite colours, he went with the most likely and obvious choice: the colours of Spider-Man. He's always thinking.

Anyone can look good in diamonds and pearls. Only the truly stylish can rock plastic.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Satellite TV

I commit to writing two posts a week, and suddenly blog fodder is falling from the sky! And I mean that literally.

Last week, after eight years without any paid-for TV and two years without any TV at all (we gave up after RB broke his fourth set of rabbit ears), the Captain finally took the plunge and got us satellite TV. And it turned out to be an awful lot more exciting than I could have imagined.

We had two people here working with RB, and the satellite guy turned up just after lunch. He was about 70, but he knew far more about the whole thing than I did, so I was hardly going to argue. Off up the ladder he went and got to work installing the dish, and I busied myself cleaning the kitchen.

About halfway through the installation, I heard a thump and one of the girls in the living room suddenly yelled "CALL 911! HE'S FALLEN OFF THE ROOF!"

Are you frickin' kidding me?!

I grabbed the phone, dialed 911 and got...A RECORDED MESSAGE! Oh. My. God.

I was kept on hold for at least a minute before an operator was available to take my call. Meanwhile, I had an unconscious 70 year-old on my driveway!

By the time the ambulance arrived 10 minutes later (yes, you read that right. And from what I hear, this is a lightening-quick response time out here in the back of beyond. Just cross your fingers I never have a heart attack...), our satellite guy had come around, stood up (despite my anxious instructions to stay still), and was rolling his eyes at what a fuss we'd made over absolutely nothing. Bear in mind here that he had no recollection of one of the girls trying to get him to talk to her while he was out cold on the gravel.

The ambulance people gave him a good looking-over, determined that they thought he was okay, but recommended a ride to the hospital to see a doctor just in case. Our satellite guy refused, signed away his right to sue if he dropped dead in the next 24 hours (I guess at that point, suing wouldn't be his main concern anyway), and as the ambulance was backing out of our place, he was climbing back up the ladder to finish the job! I wanted to call the satellite company and recommend him for employee of the month, but as the accident happened because he didn't set his ladder up right, I was afraid I might get him into trouble instead. Still, that's one dedicated employee!

Everyone else just gets a guy out to set up their paid-for TV service. I got a story to go with it. And I'm thankful for that because, as I suspected all along, the installation was much more entertaining than what's actually on TV. I swear, if I see David Caruso take off his sunglasses one more time, or that stupid egg-boiling infomercial,  I'm climbing up there and ripping the dish down myself.

But don't worry. I'll call 911 before I get the ladder out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How To Keep That Poppy On

For years I have worn a poppy in early November to observe Remembrance Day. And for years, I have looked down several times each November to find that the poppy has fallen off my coat. From what I can gather, a lot of people have this problem.

A year or two ago, someone taught me an easy trick to eliminate the need to keep running back off to the store to buy another one, so if you already know this trick, forgive me for stating the obvious. But just in case a few of you out there don't know it, I'm going to share it with you.


When you pin your poppy on this year (on your left side--just a reminder), pull the pin back a little once it's attached to your coat and stick it through the side or bottom edge of the red part from the underside. Does my explanation make sense? If not, look at the picture. It's pretty self-explanatory.

You'll notice I have my poppy pinned to my leather jacket. On Friday, when I attend my local Remembrance Day service, I'll pin it to the lapel of my dressier wool coat. But it doesn't matter what kind of coat you wear. Leather, denim, fleece, wool, leopard-print, psychedelic tie-dye--the poppy goes with everything. And now, instead of worrying that it's fallen off, you can think about why it's there:

You wear a poppy because every decision you make--from the opinions you express, to the TV shows you watch, to the books you read, to the grilled cheese sandwich you'll have for lunch today--is yours, courtesy of all the men and women who have stood in harm's way to secure it for you.

Now go put one on.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Someone Hold Me Back!

I love my husband. I do. But over the years he has done a really thorough job of sucking the joy out of gift-giving for me.

To begin with, he is a man. As such, he is already impossible to buy for. Add to that the fact that the few things he is interested in--electronics, tools, coffee--he generally just buys for himself as and when he needs them. When he does want something, the thing that he wants is so specific, it almost guarantees that if I try to buy it for him, I'll screw it up.

Around Christmas 2006, we were just getting into the whole mp3 thing. The Captain had been away (as usual) all fall, so he hadn't had a chance to get online and do his requisite 60 hours of research into the matter, so out I went and got him what I figured was a decent deal on a new mp3 player. I was pleased with myself, and when he opened it on Christmas morning, he seemed perfectly happy with it too. It was a blissful 24 hours before he came to me, told me enthusiastically that he'd found a better one on sale, and kindly offered me his "old" one. The fact that I managed not to take a kitchen knife to his head can only be described as an act of divine intervention.

Five years, and many poorly-received gifts later, I came up with a couple of Christmas ideas that had me excited. The Captain has been talking for some time now about how a decade or so ago, I threw away his old, rusty pasta machine that was missing its handle. As I like to have my shopping done by the end of November so I can concentrate on leisurely baking (and relaxing) in December, I planned this month to go to the fancy kitchen store and get my husband a shiny new pasta machine to put under the tree. I also got my brother, who lives in beautiful New Mexico, to send me some hot sauce the Captain has been raving about ever since his last trip down south. Gift buying for the most impossible man on the planet had begun, and I was on a roll!

And then the inevitable happened.

On Saturday morning, the Captain came strolling in with that same self-satisfied look he always gets when he's scored himself a bargain, and informed me he'd just spend such-and such an amount on a great new pasta maker. I gritted my teeth and willed myself not to kill him as I explained my situation and asked him not to buy himself any more presents until after the holidays. He acted suitably regretful and I swallowed my rage.

But that wasn't the end of it.

Today at lunch, he informed me that there'd be a $65 charge to our credit card. That's right. He's ordered himself a large supply of that hard-to-find hot sauce.

At this point, the only thing I can think of to get him is a nice, vintage book. I'm leaning towards this one:


I think I've found the perfect gift.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Passport Photo

It occurred to me a while back that my passport had expired. This made me nervous. I like that secure feeling you get when you know that, no matter what happens, you can always leave the country.

I went about the rather lengthy business of filling out new paperwork and then off I went to the mall to have my picture taken. My last passport photo was, if not flattering, at least a fair representation of what I look like, minus glasses. So having my picture taken this time didn't seem like too big a deal. Until I got it back.

At first I thought they'd given me the wrong picture. The woman in it looked like she'd been picked up for robbing a 7-Eleven to support her Twinkie addiction and was trying to look remorseful for her mug shot. But since I could hardly go back and ask them to retake the picture because I didn't feel I looked pretty enough, I stuffed the photos in my purse and convinced myself I was being overly critical. No one likes how they look in pictures, right?

When I got home, the reality hit full-force. Upon seeing the photo, the Captain, who is an expert at not reacting to things because he's been married to me for 14 years, actually let out a loud gasp. At this point, I knew it was bad.

So you know I'm not exaggerating, here is the picture I'll be showing to customs officials around the world for the next 5 years:


Staycation, anyone?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's November?!

Is anyone else wondering where 2011 went?

I'm still kind of reeling that last night was Halloween already. We always go out with our neighbours and it makes it extra fun for everyone. The kids like having some friends to run around with, and I like having another adult present to keep me sane! Here's a shot of my boys before we headed out:


As you can clearly see, Lord Voldemort teamed up with the local fire chief for a bit of trick-or-treating. An odd pairing, I have to admit. Someone should've told Firstborn to look more evil. That grin made him look more like Uncle Fester than the dark lord, and he was wearing it all night. Luckily, I thought ahead and made him that Slytherin patch so people knew not to hold back on the candy, lest they fall victim to the Cruciatus Curse.

This is it, people. My blogging has hit an all-time low this year, and now it's November. I'm officially committing to two posts a week from now on to ease myself back in. If I don't kick my butt in gear now, it's all downhill, and my brain will be mush by the New Year!