Thursday, May 31, 2007

And Then They Hatched

If you read my post a few days ago, and managed to stick with it to #7 on the list, you know that we have a little jar with holes in it. And if you had peered into the jar with wonder you would have seen little tiny orange eggs stuck to the underside of a spring leaf. That was Monday.

Well, yesterday I woke up and the orange eggs were gone. They were replaced with little tiny black bumps. At first I thought the black was mold, kinda like the stuff you see growing on rotten tomatoes. (If you have ever watched the Magic School Bus you would know that microbes cause food to rot. In the MSB episode on microbes, those little rotters - pun intended - caused a perfectly good cucumber to turn into a perfectly good pickle. I have grown to love microbes. They are a good answer for many, many questions that kids ask, like "How come we have to clean the table?" Microbes, I answer. "How come our compost is steaming?" Microbes, again. You should try it sometime.)

Anyways, I thought that we had killed the entire lot of mini eggs. BUT, upon closer peering, I realized that the eggs had hatched into some type of little teeny, tiny black bug with legs. What a great thing it is for a six-year-old to become a parent to a brood of bugs.

To add even further interest to this story, when we woke up this morning, the black bumps had disappeared and were replaced with what actually looked like lily-white broken egg shells.

The world is a wondrous place. Something orange makes something black and then something white. No artificial colouring or spray-paint involved even.

But, where did the bugs go? I opened the hole-punched lid and peeked in. Nothing.

Oh, there you are little buggy. The sneaky little things had found their way between the lid and the jar and were just waiting for us to unleash them. They were now crawling down the outside of the glass like they were escaping for their lives, which I guess they were.

We put the jar and the lid outside, carefully.

My younger son went out alone to say good-bye to his new family that he was losing so quickly.

"I will never see them again," he said with his head hung and his longish bangs covering his eyes.

I know that the answer to this one is not microbes.

"That's right sweetie, you won't see them again. That is sad, I know."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pillows, Chins and Cheeks

This morning on the way to daycare with my younger son:

"I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight," he says.

"Why not?" I ask.

"Because my chin will hurt."

"Oh, really? How come your chin will hurt?"

"From the pillow."

"How come the pillow will hurt your chin?"

(I am already thinking at this point, that I will just have to share the story with you. I am eager to hear his response, and at the same time I am desperately trying to implant each word into my steel-vaulted memory bank.)

"Because I have to sleep on my belly, and put my chin on the pillow so it doesn't hurt up here," he says, and then takes both hands and digs into his cheek bones with his palms.

"Hmmmm." What else can I say?

"When I lie on my back it all goes up and so I have to sleep on my chin," he adds.

"We'll look at your cheeks later tonight and I'm sure we'll figure out some way to ensure you cheeks don't hurt while you sleep."

This evening, about 7:10:

"I can't walk upstairs," he declares.

"Why not?" I ask.

"It hurts too much on my leg. I'm going to have to stay here."

He cuddles up on our over-sized blue-grey couch, snuggled up between two over-sized blue-grey pillows.

Lying on his back, hands at his sides, chin in the air, he slips into a deep sleep.

I am sure his cheeks are comfortable and happy too.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Childhood and Boys Stuff

This morning in The Vancouver Sun, a columnist I enjoy reading wrote about "the days when kids once played outside in the dirt until the street lights came on" as a "nostalgic flight of fancy."

No more glass jars with air holes in the lid to keep the insects. No more pockets full of live worms. No more mud puddles or garter snakes. No more... well, boys, of the traditional Huck Finn, Stand By Me, and Peter Pan type at least.

She wrote about this loss because of a book that is selling like hotcakes in Britain and has won the British Book Award. It supposedly gives instructions on everything a boy needs to be a boy, including instructions on marble shooting, skipping stones, building a tree fort, and putting together a bow and arrow. You will notice that playing on the computer doesn't enter that list.

And then she wrote this:

"But it's also a bit sad, leafing through the pages with their unrelenting reminders that child's play was once just that, and realizing that our kids really do live in the artificial, antiseptic and often lonely bubbles we have built around them."

I wonder if she was writing about her own kids, but I hope not. I do not know any urban, computer-loving kids that fit that description. I know lots of little happy, laughing kids (and teens, for Paris's sake) that play with their neighbours, play with their parents, play with their bugs and dolls and bikes and buddies.

In fact, if I look at what our family got up to over the last 10 days, here is what it would look like:

1. Turned over rocks on the beach looking for crabs and sea stars
2. Chopped wood, whittled sticks (with a real pocket knife), lit a fire, and roasted marshmallows
3. Jumped on the bed
4. Had a tickle fight
5. Played badminton in the backyard and made up our own rules
6. Rode bikes along the train tracks
7. Looked for crickets and grasshoppers around a pond but found orange eggs under a leaf instead. Of course, we took them home and placed them in a glass jar with holes in the lid
8. Fed the ducks
9. Fished for rainbow trout, bonked them over the head, cleaned them and pan-fried them for dinner (no, I did not do this myself)
10. Sprayed each other with the garden hose
11. Had a soccer tournament in the backyard
12. Raced down the back alley as fast as our feet could go
13. Read the Dinosaur Dictionary (and pronounced all the names correctly)
14. Bounced on the suspension bridge in Lynn Canyon
15. Went for a SCUBA dive, looked for octopus and lingcod
16. Ate ice cream before dinner
17. Blew dandelions into the wind
18. Got our hands dirty picking up garbage on the streets
19. Took our socks off and went barefoot on the grass
20. Climbed on the monkey bars and slid down the fire pole
21. Raced around a dirt track on a BMX bike
22. Built a model of a motorcycle from a tool box full of mechanical pieces
23. Chased the bee around the room until it flew safely out the window
24. Smacked and killed a blood-sucking mosquito
25. Chased the black cat around the house

Okay, so you get my point. Well, I don't really have a point except that I don't like it when people generalize and then write about it in the newspaper. I think it kinda makes me defensive. (I hope I am a typical parent in that respect, and hopefully that statement itself isn't a generalization.)

And yes, our list also included:

26. Watching Peter Pan and Go Diego Go on the tv
27. Playing Runescape on the computer

But I don't think the computer makes our kids "the new isolates...whose definition of play is often a singular computer link." Even if they are on there for a few hours, they are chatting, laughing, playing with their friends online, on the phone, on the chair next to them. They are being social.

I guess if you can't even write 10 outdoor fun stuff from the last 10 days (and girls, this includes you too), you should get a copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys. Hopefully it isn't a sad book for you.

As for myself, I just wish I thought of it first. I have a feeling our family could have been able to write a few chapters, like how to chase bees and bounce on bridges and walk along train tracks. Or chop wood and get a new cloak online in Runescape.

If you get a copy, can I read it after you?

Milestone Post

When I first started this blog my objective was to write every day. In the first month I pretty much did it. The second month, not so much. Well, this is now post #102, and even though I missed acknowledging post 100, I feel pretty good that I have got this far.

Oh, and a Happy Unbirthday to you, by the way.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Just another day at the cabin

Here are some photos from our recent visit to my parents on the Sunshine Coast.

It just isn't a visit without Pilsner Urquell in the hot tub.

Doesn't every beach house have one of these?

Paris took this one. I kinda like it.

He took this one too. Big tree, little man.

Phat Fat

So, after reading Red, White, and Drunk All Over, I signed up to receive Nat Decants, a newsletter on wine from Natalie MacLean. The newsletter this week offered a new wine word: fat.

Here is what she wrote about fat:

"The first word of the week is fat. This is a descriptor that usually refers to the texture of a wine that is smooth, round and slippery on your palate. Often these wines are high in glycerine, low in acidity and generous in their fruit flavors. In the wine world, fat is usually a positive term … I like that."

I kinda like that too, especially since I have been indulging in a bit too much wine lately.

And speaking of fat, I just discovered that phat is a backronym (and for a little light mental exercise, check out the definition of backronym from wikipedia). Here is the lingo around phat:

"An adjective in African American slang used to express approval. Hence, someone or something that is phat could be cool, entertaining, intelligent, attractive or otherwise to be admired. When the word first surfaced in the 1960s, men generally used it to describe attractive, or "fine", women. This meaning of phat has been assigned numerous backronym meanings, most commonly Pretty, Hot And Tempting, but also including others such as Perfect Hips, Ass and Tits and Pretty, Hot And Thick and "Penis, Hips, Ass and Tits" for unisex reasons."

Two very positive definitions of fat/phat.

Which leads me to one of my new favourite website, Acronym Finder, where I learn that phat also stands for Peace, Honour, and Truth. And fat also stands for Faithful and True.

Fat, or phat, is turning out to be a very, very positive word after all.

It all depends on how you look at it.

Oh, and by the way, THIN stands for The Health Improvement Network. Enough said.

My Favourite Photo

This was once my favourite photo. I took it in Vancouver, BC, down at English Bay. It was my first evening date with Manfrotto.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Moto Photo

Now that air is warm again, I just want to spend all my time outdoors hiking, kayaking, SCUBA diving, taking photos, and sitting on the back of the motorcycle.

To be honest, I would love to get up front and have my own, but something about riding around car-crazy cities just doesn't entice me go out and get a personalized set of handlebars.

But if I lived here, and this was my commute, I would be all over it:

Check out more moto photos at adventure rider.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tunicate Tidbits

My younger son and I just read a book about plants that eat animals. So now, we want a Venus flytrap. Funny, but tunicates are often referred to as venus fly traps, like this excerpt from the Monterey Bay Aquarium:

"Predatory tunicates live anchored along the deep sea canyon walls and seafloor, waiting for tiny animals to drift or swim into their cavernous hoods. If you’ve ever seen a Venus flytrap capture an insect, you have a clue as to how a predatory tunicate eats. Its mouthlike hood is quick to close when a small animal drifts inside. Once the tunicate catches a meal, it keeps its trap shut until it’s ready to eat again."

Being the kind of natural gal I am, I hate screens on windows and doors. Let nature in, I say. Which means our house is filled with flies, bees, and moths in the summer months. Unfortunately, those moths get into everything, including our food.

Our plan? To get a few Venus flytraps. But, perhaps now I should get a few tunicates as well.
Here's another thought. Not that I have ever said it before, from now on I think the kids will think it's cool when I say "keep your trap shut." I will be sure not to use it in public

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day I got:
  • To sleep in with my younger son
  • To wake up by myself and have a cup of tea in a quiet house
  • To play with my photography, no interruptions
  • To watch my son, wearing only a t-shirt and his superhero underwear, bring me his homemade gifts: a beaded bracelet, a beaded necklace, a potted flower, and a card saying "I love you Mom"
  • A little rock from my older son Paris
  • To hug Paris for a very, very, very long time
  • A simple picnic with croissants, fresh strawberries, and a fire
  • Told many times by my husband that he loves me
  • Another hug from Paris
  • A book that I wanted to read
  • To have dinner with my family: mom, dad, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews
  • To give my Mom a present she has wanted for a very, very, very long time: a photo album full of pictures of her family, sons, daughters, grandkids
  • To hug my mom for a very, very, very long time

No diamond rings, no fancy restaurants, no eggs benedict in bed.

Just time, love, a few small things, and a few big moments. Perfect.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Squamish Kite Surfing Photography

The blast forced me to sit lower and lower on the rocks, allowing the jutting spit to block the Mother of all winds from reaching my stinging ears. Despite their dry suits and wet suits, the kite surfers swore at the cold BC water, and shared their sorrows with us onlookers. And then they would soar off again, into the snow-capped mountains or Shannon Falls or against the cargo ship docked on the opposite shore. I sat and shot away, and relished in the action as they played.

Here are my favourite shots from a morning at the Squamish Spit, windsurfing haven of the world.

The day was hazy and the sun was high, not a good combination for photography. However, I wanted to show you this next shot to get a perspective on the height, and the scenery. Man, we live in a beautiful place. The spit runs out from a protected estuary, and I half expected a grizzly bear to join us for a spell.

This yellow board hammed it up for us.

I love the colour contrast in the kites, and the mandatory hoodies walking around.

My Favourite Photos

This was once my favourite photo. The white flowers are a star constellation in a sky of purple petals. I took the shot at the San Diego Zoo.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Family Ratings

Pretty Crazy how some things catch on.

Paris has now achieved stardom by being included in a Top 5 Best and Youngest Blogger list.

Kje was #4 in his first BMX race of the year. He was looking cool in his new racing jersey.

I am #1 Mom of the day. I got a small, painted wooden heart, with a bit of dirt on it.

Pantie Prelude to Mother's Day

When I was 8-years-old, my mom took me shopping for underwear. I was drawn to a pack of three panties, each with dots, stripes, or flowers in various shades of blue, green, and yellow.

Then I noticed the price tag. The colourful undies were more expensive than the white ones plainly sitting next to them.

"I'll just take these ones Mom", I said, handing her the white pack.

"But don't you like the other ones better?" she asked.

Mmmm -hmmm. Nod.

And that is when I got one the first life lessons I remember. Variety is the spice of life, she told me, and it's nice to treat yourself every once in a while to something different, just for fun.

Extend this philosophy beyond the pantie drawer, and there is a great excuse to try anything in life - just to shake it up every once in a while, and because you deserve it.

Today, I am wearing pink undies with indigo, mauve, red apple, lime, and purple grape dots. Yesterday, lime green and blue stripes. The day before, black with a hot pink cat painted on (I did that myself, meow!).

Plain Jane over top. But underneath, cardamom, anise seed, and cayenne pepper all over!

Here's to all the Mom's out there, especially mine, spicing up their kid's life.

p.s. I once worked in a manufacturing facility where ALL the women wore super glamorous, expensive lingerie under their drab lab coats. I love that!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Damn I Sounded Good

Forget the shower. Singing is way better when you are on the back of a souped-up VFR on a warm sunny day, your head inside your helmet.

I'll have a Blue Christmas without you.
I'll be so blue thinking about you.
You'll be doin' all right, with your Christmas of white,
But I'll have a blue, blue Christmas .

Who cares if it isn't Christmas and I'm not Elvis, damn I sounded good!!

And thank god no one else could hear me.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Bow To Your Partner

It was one of those moments to cherish.

My older son is at the age - thirteen - where he is "exploring" music. Let's just say our usual Ben Harper, Bob Marley, and eclectic mix of mostly mellow melodies is being replaced with Jay-Z, Timbaland, Nelly, Fergie, Mims, Akon, etc...

Not that I mind, cuz ya know, I'm in wid that.

And it's entertaining to hear Paris ya know, get ina da me-u-sak, with arms a flailing swaying side t side rappin' like ya know, ya know, like its goin down, D-O-W-N, hit it and i'm outa here with da beat, da beat, gonna lay on some skins, JWIN. I-pod me homie like I'm William Hung. Smack that!

And that is when the moment happened.

Hey mom, want to square dance?

I still remember my square dance song from mandatory PE classes in grade five. Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh! still rings true and I can recite it... on an as needed basis. "Well, we all join hands, and we circle the ring..." you get the point. I gave up square-dancing as soon as the mandatory was dropped.

But this moment I wouldn't give up for front row seats to Nelly and J-T combined!

We do-si-doed, went front to back, and back to front. We laughed while swinging on elbows and sashaying down the imaginary grand chain. We wheel around and squeal around and giggle around until we promenade home.

Bow to your partner.

Thank you Paris. For the dance. For the music. For the moment.

Polliwog and Cream Soda In Use

The word of the day on my computer is polliwog. I love that word! In use:

The boy was contemplating whether to dip his hand into the pool where hundreds of polliwogs swam like a teeming mass of vibrating dots.

On another note, the spring sun and cerulean sky warmed my heart so much today I had to stop at 7-11 for a coke and cream soda slurpee to thrust down into it. In use:

The girl was contemplating whether to thrust her hand into the slurpee where hundreds of cream soda ice crystals vibrated like a teeming mass of swimming polliwogs.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Absolut farewell

I heard a rumor. After 40 years, Absolut Vodka is stopping their famous bottle-shaped magazine ad campaigns. I may only buy vodka for visitors at Christmas time (and even then I don't think I buy Absolut), but I am a big fan of the ads, and will miss the clever compositions. Today, I found out they have a gallery of all their previous ads, sorted by campaign. Hours pass as I search through them all...

My favourite is based on places around the world.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Black bad-ass Ford truck
dappled with cherry blossoms
petals drift behind.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

From my Mom, a special golf ball in my life

My Mom sent this to me today. I kinda like it:

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else---the small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you."

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked." It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, "there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

p.s. Note to Mom - THIS is why my house is a creative mess, most of the time!

My Favourite Photo

This was once my favourite photo: Wild Cactus at the Zoo - San Diego variety.