Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I spent a good chunk of the day today going through receipts to ensure that I have spent enough money for reimbursement for our Flexible Spending Account. This is the first year we have actually participated in it. Anyway, my new crown and my glasses pretty much used up most of the funds that we decided to put in it but I was still about $100 short. I found receipts for crap-loads of Benadryl, Zyrtec (before we determined it was evil) and Children's Motrin that we've purchased through the year and those purchases more than cover that balance. Now I just have to submit the receipts.

We are off to Ash's house for her annual NYE party. I have a cold (runny nose, sore throat and body aches) so I don't imagine we'll stay much past midnight. My kids are napping right now so they'll be good to go right to the end of 2008.

I am looking forward to 2009 and all the good things that it will bring.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I know you missed me yesterday. Our cable went out before 9pm and was not back until this morning. Of course this meant that the cable, Internet AND phone was out. I swore I would not renew our "triple play" with Comcast because of all of the phone outages but it saves us about $50 per month so I stuck with it. But now my new cell phone service (AT&T) works in our house (so there, T-Mobile!) so we can keep the spotty cable telephone service too.

I finally made it back to the gym to work out today. I barely made it through the class. Hopefully I will be back on track by next week (me an thousands of others who are making New Year's resolutions to get back to the gym). Later, we took the kids ice skating today (back in the old country I would just say "skating" but living here I feel that I need to add the "ice". Like when I order tea in restaurants I have to say "hot tea" so I am not brought a big jug of overly sweet icky iced tea). Anyway, it was Jax and Cars' first time skating and Dex's second time. They all did really well. We took Ash's kids as our Christmas gift to them. I think Kins enjoyed it more than Gav but they both did well too. Amazing to see how quickly everyone caught on! We also rented a "walker" to help the younger kids learn to skate. It helped them learn to balance a bit. I think they need larger ones for bigger kids though.

Spy's dh and her sons were there too practicing hockey on the little mini-rink they have their. Cars was so pleased to see Col and not long before we were ready to go, Col came out on the regular ice to skate and Cars told me to let go of his hand because he did not want Col to see that he needed help skating! It was so funny to see my 5 yr old trying to look cool and tough for his 4 yr old friend! Stephen took Jax for his appointment today - for the first time since Jax started going just over a year ago. Just a few more to go and Jax will be done. I am so happy and proud of him.

Ok, off to get ready for bed. I think I am coming down with a cold and I need to rest up for the annual New Year's Eve party at Ash's house.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We went to The Container Store to buy more $helving for the Lego Room because of all of the new Lego. Stephen will probably put it up tomorrow or the next day. Afterwards, we bowled at Lucky Strike Lanes which apparently is the most expen$ive bowling alley around (it was upstairs from The Container Store). The kids had a really great time though so that was fun.

After dinner, I decided it was time to clean our oven because Stephen accidentally dripped some grease in there on Christmas when he took the roast out of the oven. The self-cleaning stopped abruptly and the display screen is flashing F9 at me. I looked it up online and it looks as though our oven is now broken. Aargh! The door is still locked (presumably due to the heat from self-cleaning) but apparently this is a common problem with these types of ovens and the fix is expen$ive. Merry Chri$tmas!

Looks like it was our day to $pend a lot of ca$h.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hurray! I got out of the house today and went somewhere other than Safeway! I vroomed Stephen's 4-wheel drive car up the driveway and sloshed and slid down the street to the main road which was bare and off I went to the mall.

Of course the mall was packed and it took me 20 minutes to find a parking spot. The stores had good sales and the selection was really good but the lines in all of the stores were horrible. Long, long, long lines. Anyway, I did get a few things that I needed (b-day present for Ash and a black belt for me. Ok, and a pair of black patent pumps). I also treated myself to an Orange Julius. I don't think I had had one in about 10 years. It was so refreshing and just what I needed because the mall was about 80 degrees. I actually left two stores (The Children's Place and Illuminations) because the stores were so hot and I felt as though I were going to faint. The clerks in The Children's Place were complaining to each other about the heat so I know it was not just me.

I have to say I wonder who all of the people were in Nordstroms who were swarming the designer shoe sales rack. Shoes on sale 50% off for $200-$500! Wow! And I felt so extravagant buying myself that pair of patent leather pumps at Macy's for $50.

In the hours (and hours) that I was at the mall, it rained and warmed up so much that our street was a breeze driving along when I arrived home. I am sure by the end of tomorrow or the day after there will be no more snow on the road. We'll be back to our normal rainy winter. I am so looking forward to it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day! I hope everyone had a happy Christmas.

We had several people (18 including us) over for dinner and a few more (6) for drinks/playing after dinner. I had a great time and I think that our guests enjoyed themselves too.

The kids and I bought Stephen a Wii for Christmas and they are just setting it up now because typically we reserve Boxing Day for Lego Building. And boy did they build Lego.

It has been snowing all day (although it has actually stopped for the moment). It was a snow/rain mix for a while so it is really yucky outside. I am about to venture up the driveway to see if I can cram anymore garbage in our bin which has been sitting out for 9 days now. Today was supposed to be garbage pick up but looks like we'll have to wait until next week so that will be 3 weeks worth of garbage at once. The no-stinky garbage (Christmas wrapping, etc) is sitting in the garage with the recycling that cannot fit in the recycle bin. What a mess!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Whomever is dreaming of a White Christmas...

please stop!

Photos from today (December 24)

And of course it would not be Christmas Eve without a photo of my boys in front of the tree wearing their Christmas Jammies.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas is coming...

Well, Christmas is just about here. It seems a little surreal since I lost about a week's worth of prep time (and shopping time).

The roads are better today so Stephen went out with his car and hit Big 5 Sports, Costco, QFC, the butcher shop, liquor store and Safeway. So many of the stores have not been able to get their deliveries so Stephen could not find garlic until he hit Safeway. Later, I went to Safeway to get icing sugar (powdered sugar) and Safeway was out so I had to go to QFC. The gas stations by QFC have run out of gas and the gas trucks cannot get up the plateau to deliver more. Glad my tank is full. Of course I have not driven my car since Wednesday (I took Stephen's out today since it is an all-wheel drive). It has been parked out on the street since last Tuesday.

Anyway, we are all set for dinner so now I have to whip the house into shape tomorrow. I completely forgot to take my linen tablecloth to the cleaners to have it pressed! Yikes! I am going to try to do it tomorrow but it is 120" long and will probably take HOURS.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I feel a little better today because Ash and I got down off the plateau in her truck. The roads were really bad but we were able to get to Target and Fred Meyer for groceries and I was able to get a few gifts. What a relief! I still don't have gifts for everyone.

Our dinner plans for Christmas have changed as it was first to be my family and Ash's family. But today T called because her parents' flight from the Midwest was canceled so they are not coming for Christmas so T, E and their kids will come here now. Then, Ash's dh asked if one of his friends could come too because his flight was canceled today too. So we are up to 14 people with a possibility of 18 as another friend had her flight to Denver canceled so they will be home for Christmas now with no plans.

BTW, all of these flights have been canceled due to snow at SEA-TAC.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Still more friggin snow! Aargh!

We had a great time at Spy's house last night. She and her dh sure know how to throw a party! It was much smaller than planned because everyone from out-of-town had to cancel due to the roads so there were just 5 couples. Spy stole the show from her dh with her "championship belt" as Stephen called it. :)

I shoveled the driveway twice today. The kids told me they were "bored" of the snow so they did not go out until late afternoon. Then they built snow forts and had a snow ball fight.

I ordered new snow boots from and they are supposed to arrive tomorrow. I hope they come early in the day. The boots that I have are inadequate for traipsing through the snow. I bought them 11 or 12 years ago when I lived in Minnesota where of course we would get way more snow much more often BUT the roads and sidewalks would get ploughed so I was never really trudging through 6-8" of snow unlike here.

I have also been wearing my big winter coat that I bought 11 years ago. It screams 1990's with the big gold buttons but it is longer than my other coat (which I bought not necessarily for warmth but because it is waterproof - something usually more important than warmth around here in winter).

Of course being snowbound does not mean that I have finished my Christmas cards! Oops! Hopefully I can finish them up tomorrow. I have been mailing them as I go so at least half of the people should have them already.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The next round of snow has hit and everyone here is in full panic mode. Safeway was crazy again today (Stephen went there). I went to the drug store and I was not the only one buying Christmas gifts there. I also popped in the liquor store to get some minibar sized bottles for Stephen's stocking and the line was huge as people were stocking up to hunker down for a few days.

I think we are prepared for the wind storm. Stephen brought in a few piles of wood for the wood stove. We have our cast iron fry pan for the stovetop if need be as well as the cast iron kettle. We are probably a little short on water but I won't worry about that unless a water pipe bursts. I really do not want to lose power but the news and the city's website are basically calling it a sure thing. Let's hope it won't be for long.

Our babysitter is walking down the big hill tonight and Stephen will walk her home (she lives across the street from our old house so just 1/3 mile away). We are going to Spy's house tonight for her dh's 40th birthday party and they are just 1/2 mile away so we'll walk there too (or maybe catch a ride with Ash and her dh as they are dropping their kids off here to be babysat).

Ok, off to get ready for tonight...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day #3

School for today was canceled by 5pm yesterday. We had soooo much snow. The roads are so icy. Stephen treked off the plateau today and bought chains for his car at the tire store. I need some for my van too. This weather is nuts!

Today, the kids played outside for ages and then we walked to the store. We stopped for lunch first then off the Safeway and it was a complete zoo! People were in panic mode because of the snow AND we are due for a wind storm tomorrow night. And everyone remembers the last big winter wind storm so they were stocking up like crazy.

Later, the kids and I walked to Ash's house for Cosmo Friday. It was painful going there (just under a mile away) because we had to walk up two big hills while lugging sleds. Coming home was smooth sailing though. I almost liked the walk because it reminded me of home and of the years we spent in Minnesota - Stephen and I walked all the time in all kinds of weather then. It was clear and crisp and cold. Like this:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day #2 (with snow!)

School was canceled again today but at least we had snow this time. I could hear the frozen rain hitting the window in the morning before I awoke but then it changed to snow. It snowed all day long. Spy invited the kids and I over for lunch so we walked over (she lives about 1/2 mile away). The kids had a blast and played outside for nearly 3 hours! I think there was over 6" of snow.

Stephen of course did not go to work today and was irritated that he could not connect to work (as the other 30,000 people who work for his company in the area could not go in either and they were all trying to connect at once apparently). He was able to get some work done while we were at Spy's so that is good.

Here are a couple of photos:

Boys playing in our yard about 9:30AM

About to trek home from Spy's house about 3:15PM (photo courtesy of Spy)

School has already been canceled for tomorrow because the temperatures are expected to drop well below freezing tonight (and that was to be the last day of school for the Christmas vacation!). The roads are nearly impassable without chains. The highway was closed and they showed accident after accident on the news tonight. Buses are not running and people are stranded everywhere. What a mess! This is not the weather we are supposed to have in Seattle!

Jax has an eye doctor appointment tomorrow at 10AM that I will have to cancel (at a co$t of $25 according to their website). I will walk to Safeway tomorrow morning to get milk, cheese, bread and some supplies to make Christmas cookies. Hopefully they'll still have some of those things and that the delivery trucks get through.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We had a snow day today but no snow! It was in the forecast but it did not arrive. It snowed to the north and to the south but no snow anywhere in our school district!

So, to pass the day, the kids and I went to the grocery store, had hot chocolate at Starbucks, built a gingerbread house, played the game of "Life". They then played Battleship, played a bit on the computer, made videos using Jax's Flip video camera and they read. They were perfect!

Now, more snow is coming as well as very cold weather again (help me)!.
Schools are closed due to icy roads and the threat of a huge snowfall which is expected to start any minute.

I'll never finish my Christmas shopping!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I am so tired of this cold weather already. The faucet outside popped a leak and was spewing water for God-knows how many hours. Can't wait to get our next water bill. And the furnace has been running non-stop too - the gas bill will be lovely.

I know that I sound like such a suck, complaining about the cold weather. Especially since I lived in Minnesota for six years and I grew up in Toronto and Ottawa. But, the difference is that I have acclimated to this milder region (well, what used to be a milder region) AND there are so many hills around and a lack of snow removal/sanders/de-icer equipment around that it makes it very stressful trying to get around.

I have driven in horrible snow storms in my life. Storms that would make the roads virtually impassable and driving home from work would take well over 2 hours for a normal 25 minute commute. In Minnesota, it was so cold that often my car would not start (no engine block heater to plug in - nor outdoor outlets at our apartment). But that was ok because I knew eventually I could get the AAA to come (maybe 12 hours later but they'd come) to give me a boost or that the snow ploughs would have the roads cleared by the next day. That just does not happen here.

I had such a hard time of it last winter with the cold weather. And I was so looking forward to a beach vacation that disappeared with the Saab's exploding radiator. I honestly don't know how I will make it through another really cold winter again without some warmth. Maybe I just need to re-invest in some nice wool sweaters and sheep-skin slippers? Whatever the answer is, I need to find it to make it through this winter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?


Normally this is the time of day when all hell is breaking loose. The kids would have arrived home from school, been complaining that they were STARVING or about HOMEWORK while unpacking their backpacks, their lunch boxes and shoving armloads of paper at me to sort through. Teasing, bickering and whining is what I am used to hearing at this time.

No today though.

Jax and Dex are at their cartooning class (last one today) and Cars is on a playdate. Cars was so excited to take the bus one extra stop today to go to his friend's house. So, I have another sweet hour and a bit of quiet time until I have to pick up Jax and Dex at the school then swing by to get Cars. I guess all I've managed to do is put off the chaos for a couple of hours.

And what I am doing with my time? Blogging and desperately trying to decide what last minute gifts I can get for some young adults on my Christmas list. Usually I buy them American Express Gift Cheques/Checks but today I arrived at my local American Express Travel Office only to find out that they closed up shop in November. And of course these need to be mailed to Canada TODAY to make sure they arrive on time.

So, I came home (oh, after spending 55 minutes in the post office, after a 10 minute wait for a parking spot and then finding out that the very cute Christmas cards that I bought are "bumpy" so each card mailed to Canada and Internationally require an additional $0.20 of postage. That is a freaking lot of money considering that most of my cards are mailed to Canada!) to surf some lame Canadian shopping sites for gift cards for these receipeitns who will be now be receiveing their gifts AFTER Christmas.

Oh, and since I spent soooo long at the post office (and too long in Kohl's as I ran into a very chatty friend), I just now took something out of the freezer for dinner so I am hoping it is defrosted in time to reheat (a meat pie) for dinner. And we have to eat a little early because Dex has his "Third Grade Performance" tonight at the school and since he has a speaking part, I want to arrive a little early to get a front row seat to video him (ok, writing "video him" sounds weird but I had written video tape him then changed it because it is not video tape but digital video on Jax's Flip Video Camera - ok, rambling here).

Ok, so while I hear nothing but sweet silence, all I can hear in my mind is a great big clock counting down.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I hate being cold. I hate the snow.


I love that my kids love it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

It has been a crazy week! I took the boys to the dentist on Wednesday and Dex has two cavities and he is DEVASTATED! He was wailing "I WILL HAVE IT FOR THE REST.OF.MY.LIFE!" (in his adult molars where the sealants fell off). I haven't had the heart to schedule the appointment yet.

Yesterday, I had offered to take a meal to a friend whose mother has had a stroke and she has been spending a lot of time at the hospital and getting her mom settled at home. Ok, I know I cannot cook. You know I cannot cook yet I offered to do this. I made my mom's famous pork chops (they are really pretty good and honestly, one thing that I can actually make without screwing up). Anyway, I burnt my hand on the oven rack while testing the temperature of the pork chops (ouch)! About 5pm, I packed the kids in the car with the pork chops, corn, salad, buns, bottle of wine and a Lazy Daisy cake and off we went to deliver it. She was not home! No one answered their phone. I called my other friend who organized it and she said "Just leave it on the porch" so I got out of the car and started walking up the driveway when a big, brown lab charges up to me and starts barking its head off. I called my other friend back who said "Oh that's just 'Insert Dog's name here as I now forget because I was scared shitless'. Don't mind him". Riiight. This dog is barking and GROWLING at me and I was thinking "I am not leaving these pork chops on the porch for this damn dog to eat!" so my friend suggested I drop the food off at her house and she will contact other friend to come get it when she gets home.


So, I do that (they live right around the corner from each other) then rush home to work on dinner for my family (also pork chops but I put them in just before we left). I burnt my hand AGAIN. Geez!!!

Stephen got home and I put dinner out for them and then go get ready because it is our book club's Christmas Celebration which was a lot of fun!

Now today, we a big winter storm has hit. What that means here is a lot of rain and wind. The power has gone off once so far today. but I am prepared. Flashlights, tons'o'D batteries, plenty of food, the grill's propane tank is full, we have a neat pile of wood outside for the wood stove in case we lose power for any length of time.

Hopefully the storm will pass without the rain turning to snow (the temperatures are to drop). We do not yet have our Christmas tree so we'll be out picking out a sopping wet tree this weekend.

Ok, off to post this before the power goes out again!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We went to another work Christmas party today at Stephen's VP's house. I started chatting with the wife of one of his co-workers who I had met briefly at the party on Friday night. Anyway, she asked me if I was at the gym today because she said she thought it was me because "I recognized your hair". LOL

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Yes, it was my hair. I coloured it. Well, sort of. I mean, yes, there is colour but not all-over-colour like I used to do. Just foils with high lights and low lights.

After all that pain and ugliness I went through to grow out my hair colour, why on earth did I go and do it again?! It's simple. Pure vanity.

I bought a really pretty top to wear for the holidays, figuring I would just pair it with some black wool pants. Anyway, it was pewter and black. I thought it looked nice on my in Macy's (where is there a different sale every day and coupons galore that they practically PAY you to take the clothes). I brought it home and in the different light, the pewter with my grey hair made me look MATRONLY! OMG! It was horrible. I decided right there and then that the shirt was going back. And I started obsessing about colouring my hair.

When I first grew it all in, I thought it looked ok (well, after I finally cut it). I had enough dark hair left that the grey looked, at least with my rose-coloured glasses on, distinguished and unique. But in the last year it has become more grey. I was first struck at how grey it really was in CraftyMama's Zoo photo. And when I pulled it back, the right side was completely WHITE underneath.

Then, wearing that top and looking OLD and MATRONLY was the final straw. It did not help that I was in dire need of a haircut since I had not had it cut since the end of August.

I made an appointment at the local $alon and told them I wanted to discuss hair colour. I went in, said I did not want all-over-colour but just something to make it look a little less grey. Also, she assured me that it would not be that noticeable growing out. I hope she is right.

So that's my story. All this angst and battling with myself over hair colour is over. I am very happy with the results. I may even go back for more in a couple of months.

Oh, and thank you for all the lovely comments. I'd better watch it or I'll get a fat head.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Can you see the difference?

Here are two photos of me taken about a month apart. The most recent is on the right and was taken on Friday. There is something slightly different about me. So slight, in fact, that none of my friends have even noticed. Stephen did though.

Leave a comment if you think you know what it it is.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I haven't been much inspired to write in my blahg lately. Even the mundane day-to-day stuff is a chore to write about. Hoping this indifference lifts soon as I don't want to lose my readership. :)

Thanks to those of you who still read.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Stephen, Jax and Dex put up the Christmas lights today. They look good and I am so proud of the boys for helping Stephen out.

We went to Stephen's holiday party last night. It was fun. The food was great (especially the desserts!).

I need to start on my Christmas cards. I cannot believe how many I have received already! Yikes!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Gotta love the dentist. Why else would you pay someone $500 to torture you - break your teeth, jab sharp objects in your mouth, inject you with some chemicals that make kill your taste buds, cement man-made materials to what's left of your tooth, then spend the rest of they day aching?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sunday night at dinner we were talking about dreams and Dex described a dream that he had about church:

I was going down the aisle on the way to the Children's Liturgy. (the kids in grades K-6 can leave the church and go into the chapel during the readings and the homily but come back for communion) All of the kids were chained together at the ankles and it was very hard to walk because we were walking through some thick, green goo. Then, if we did not get down the aisle fast enough, we had to start all over again.

Stephen had a heyday as he is "anti-church". (I'd say at the moment but the moment has lasted about a decade). Anyway, Stephen says to me "Are you hearing this?". Of course I was hearing it. I told Dex it was just a dream and then Stephen starts on about how some people believe in dream interpretation but I stopped him before he decided to interpret Dex's dream for him.

I know that my children do not like going to church but they also don't like eating vegetables or brushing their teeth. But it is something that I have decided they need to partake in. They all complain about going to church. Well, that is not true. Cars rarely complains as, up until this year, it was always fun for him. He had Sunday School during Mass and then he got to play in the gym/social hall for an hour with his friends while his brothers went to their religious instruction classes. He is less impressed this year as the kindergartners now go to Mass and now he has religious instruction afterwards so he misses playing with Spy's son, Col, and other preschool and Sunday school friends in the gym.

When Jax complains about going to church, I just tell him that I made a promise to God that I would take him until he was a man and he doesn't want me to break a promise to God, does he? Ah, I've started the Catholic Guilt early, eh? Jax is terribly concerned with the idea that someone may have eaten peanut butter before coming to church and perhaps they have not washed up so he hates giving the Sign of Peace and holding hands during the Lord's Prayer (ok, I have to admit that I don't like that either).

Dex does not really complain that much either. At least, not loud. I can hear him muttering from time-to-time during Mass that it is "so long". He is the one most likely to follow along in the hymnal (reading, but not singing but I'm ok with that) so I guess it can't be that bad for him, right? Hey, I can interpret things too! ;)

I guess I really cannot understand their feelings about church. My mom left the church when I was about 6 or 7 years old so my family all stopped going because there was no way my dad would get all 5 kids up and ready to go to church on Sundays. Up until that point, I loved to get all dressed up and go to church. I had fond memories of wearing white tights with velvet dresses and shiny shoes every Sunday. I did not go back to church again on a regular basis until I was an adult. So it was a decision that I made and not something I was "forced" to do by my parents.

To make matters worse, our Mass has stretched to an an hour and twenty minutes in length! Our priest is not the most dynamic speaker and his homilies take ages! He insists that we sing every verse of every hymn. And now he has eliminated the "sattelite" communion stations so what really should be an hour service is regularly one hour and twenty minutes long. An eternity for children (and for their parents who try to keep them occuppied). I do not believe that my kids should have to sit still for that length of time and even with them going out during the Children's Liturgy (which is infrequent due to lack of volunteers for that program), Mass is just too long for them.

Our neighbours, whom I just found out go to our church as they told me they do not go all that regularly (I admit we don't go often during the summer), asked me if Mass ever ends "on time". Funny to say that. Mass should be an hour long. It should not be longer unless it is Good Friday, Easter Sunday or any of the Christmas Masses.

Oh, so here I am complaining about church, just like my children. Perhaps I do understand their feelings after all.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Did It! (Again!)

I blogged all 30 days of NaBloPoMo! But, not a huge stretch for me because I pretty blog everyday anyway.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I finally got a new cell phone today. I am pleased as punch with the service as I can actually make a call in my house (thank you AT&T) and I am happy with my phone. Shhh! Don't tell Stephen but it is an iPhone. Ok, he knows. I was going to get another PDA-type phone when he actually suggested that I look at the iPhone. I had not considered it at all up to that point because remember all those "I'm a PC. I'm a Mac" commercials? Especially the "Cancel or Allow" one because he was responsible for that part of the security and boy did they get beat up about it.

Anyway, he told me to look at the iPhone and I did and guess what? I fell in love with it! It is cool. I am not overly thrilled with the "keyboard" but I can live with it because of all the other great features.

Besides the phones, we picked up the last of the giving tree items which we'll drop off tomorrow at Stephen's work. We also checked out Co$tco Home for a new bed but nothing appealed to Stephen. We'll check out Sleep Country next.

Ok, off to add some apps to my phone and update my contacts' info. Fun!

Friday, November 28, 2008

BookList 2008

There are just a few weeks left in the year and I don't know how much more reading I will get done. I did not reach my goal of reading 24 books this year but I came close, especially considering that two of the books that I did read were over 900 pages and a third was just shy of 900.

Pez's 2008 Book List

  1. A Salty Piece of Land, Jimmy Buffet, 460pp

  2. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez,348pp

  3. Mrs. Mike, Benedict Freedman, Nancy Freedman, 284pp

  4. Three Cups of Tea : One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time, Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin, David Oliver Relin, 368pp

  5. Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris, 112pp

  6. Letter from a Christian Citizen, A Response to Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris, Douglas Wilson, 112pp

  7. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See, 288pp

  8. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch, 224pp

  9. The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett, 973pp

  10. Digital Fortress, Dan Brown, 384pp

  11. Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen, 350pp

  12. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry, 960pp

  13. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss, 896pp

  14. Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer, 768pp

  15. The Constant Princess, Philippa Gregory, 400pp

  16. The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd, 368pp

  17. March: A Novel, Geraldine Brooks, 304pp

  18. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingslover, 384pp (did not finish)

  19. When We Were Romans: A Novel, Matthew Kneale, 240pp (did not finish)

  20. How to be Good, Nick Hornby, 320pp

The two books that I did not finish had to be returned to the library because there were holds on them. I will probably get them again some other time to finish them.

I thoroughly enjoyed virtually every book that I read this year. Five of them were non-fiction (and all ready for Book Club).

Speaking of Book Club, December marks the start of our 5th year together. I think that is very exciting! We've had a couple new members and one left (well, a second left then came back) but it has pretty much been the same core members. There are a few things that drives me nuts about it (a couple of members miss every other month and another almost never reads the book) but we always have good discussions though lately they seem less and less about the book and more and more about life. I guess that is how it works and it reminds me a lot of the very first book we read Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons. I love that!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

As I walked to Safeway today to pick up a couple of items I once again forgot to buy, I realized that Thanksgiving as a holiday does not mean that much to me. I wonder if it is because I am a "foreigner" to this country. We have Thanksgiving in Canada but it is just not the same. People do not make the big to-do there that they do here.

Since we do not have any Thanksgiving traditions from our childhood to reminise about with our kids, today is just about the food for us. And the shopping on Black Friday. I feel really shallow saying this but it is true!

And this year, the scary news about the economy makes me not even want to shop this year. I glanced at the ads but nothing more. I even sat down for a second look a few minutes ago and then tossed them aside.

That said, we did have a nice Thanksgiving. I felt like a heel shopping at Safeway (these people, to whom this holiday really means something, should be home with their families rather than ringing up my Pillsbury Grands and purple onion) but, I did enjoy the walk with the boys to and from the store. And dinner was really good. We had another family over whom we have known since we first moved to the States (they lived in Minnesota too before moving here about two years before we did).

Now that the day is (almost) over, we can start thinking about Christmas and I can get excited about that. I love decorating, going to church these weeks and planning Christmas dinner. I love the Christmas traditions that we've been able to pass along to my kids as well as starting new ones. For those things, I am very thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


My MIL called me today to ask me to order something for her. She had seen a commercial for the InStyler® Rotating Hot Iron Hair Straightener and she wants it but they do not ship to Canada. I had to laugh because dh's family is always the ones to buy all of the "AS SEEN ON TV" items.

When my in-laws were here in May, my MIL was determined to find some Mighty Putty (we found it at Linens 'n' Things before they went out of business).

My in-laws were the first people I know to have a George Foreman Grill. They were the first to try OxiClean. They had a Ronco The Inside the Shell Electric Egg Scrambler, and Didi Seven.

One of their favourite items was the Hot Diggity Dogger. DH was so taken with it that my in-laws gave us one for Christmas on year.

Their fascination with items seen on tv that it has been passed down to their children. Dh's younger brother has purchase The Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and the Magic Bullet.

From tv, dh purchased our original FoodSaver (a replacement was purchased at Co$tco). Before the FoodSaver, he bought a Pump-n-Seal. And don't think his purchases have been limited to food storage items. There was also the Ab Roller and Tony Little Personal Trainer Tapes.

Anyway, so I ordered the InStyler® Rotating Hot Iron Hair Straightener for my MIL. Apparently if you buy one you get one free so she has told me to keep one of them. I'll be happy to do that to add to our AS SEEN ON TV collection.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Purple Schmurple

My husband apparently missed the day in kindergarten when one learns how to mix primary colours to make secondary colours. He really has no idea (or at least never remembers) how to make purple, green or orange. And it is seems to be some sort of mental block that he cannot even logically think it out.

Anyway, tonight he was making Nanaimo Bars for Dex to take to school tomorrow and Dex wanted the vanilla filling coloured purple. Stephen could not figure out how to make purple using the red/blue/yellow pots of food color gel that we had so he called me (I was with Jax at his appointment). I asked him to ask the Cars because Cars and I both talked about it yesterday. I heard both Dex and Cars in the background pipe up "Red and Blue!".

As someone who fancies themself as an artist, I find it stunning that one would not know that or even be able to figure it out. It is a definite mental block for Stephen. And I am glad that my kids do not have the same problem.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I've decided to take part in All Adither's(Angie) What's Inside Your Handbag? challenge. Here is a photo of the contents of my purse (sans the crumpled kleenex too and the zippered pocket with the stash of feminine hygiene products).

So, what do we have here? It was surprising to me that there was so little in there. You can totally tell it is a Mom's purse. I have a Star Wars pen and a Halloween pencil as well as three other pens and an orange Sharpie. One SpongeBob glove. No idea where the other one is. I also had a little zippered pouch full of Canadian coins from our trip to Vancouver. I've taken that out now.

I also have 4 Epi Pens (two in each allergy pouch, which are also crammed with Benadryl tablets), an Epi Pen trainer, two peanut-free chewy bars (I ate the third). Cell phone with my bluetooth ear thingie is usually in my car but I took Stephen's car last night so I put it in my purse last night.

I have a card for a friend that I have to address and mail, a piece of paper with my physical therapy appointment schedule on it and two release forms from last week when Stephen and I got flu shots at his work. And of course my key chain with all of my loyalty cards on it (except for Safeway's - they still have the big credit-card sized ones). I need to take off the lime-green thumb drive that I attached when I made prints at Bartell's last week.

And there you have it. Usually there are tons'o'receipts and coupons jammed in my purse but I guess I cleaned out the purse recently and when I shopped last, I did not take the purse, just my wallet (which weighs about a pound!).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Parent/Teacher conferences yesterday went well. Cars' was first. I mentioned to his teacher that I had had concerns about sending Cars to school since he just turned 5 in August and was probably the youngest kid in the class. She said she was really surprised that he was that young (she said she had not memorized everyone's birthdays) and she said that he definitely acted "older". And he is right where he needs to be with everything else so I am glad that I sent him "on time".

Dex's conference was next. You know how I mentioned that his teacher said he was a good citizen? Well, she raved about Dex! I could tell that she really likes him which is nice and she loves his writing "voice". It was nice to hear. I really did not think we'd have a lot to talk about but we even ran over time which made us late for Jax's conference...oops!

Jax was waiting for us with his teacher when we got there (Spy was watching my kids while we went to the other conferences and she sent Jax to his on time). He discussed what he was most proud of and talked about his results on certain things. He did a great job with his presentation to us. He really is doing well this year and I think he has gotten over and forgiven the teacher for the peanut-butter-sandwich-making situation. He showed Stephen a few things around the classroom and I thanked her again for getting him an individual desk because I know that has alleviated some of his anxiety in class.

Afterwards, it was my turn to watch all of the kids while Spy had her conferences. We were lucky that it was not raining so the kids got to play outside (even though it was a little chilly). Spy's son wrote an essay that his teacher showed Spy about his best friend, Dex. It was so sweet to read. The embarrassing thing is of course that the teachers all know about Cosmo Fridays now. Makes us look like a couple of lushes. And really we aren't. At least, only on Fridays anyway. :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

I had a Cookie Lee jewelry party tonight. Five bottles of wine later, I earned some free jewelry! Thanks to my wonderful friends! :)

And this post will be quick because I need to get it done by Midnight to keep me NaBloPoMo-ing.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

All Reports Good

The kids got their report cards today and I was delighted with them. Cars really wasn't graded on anything other than music and computer class and his "life skills". I guess we'll find out about his "reading" levels tomorrow at Parent/Teacher conferences.

Dex's teacher called him a "conscientious, well-mannered child" who was "one of our better citizens". I wonder if those are stock lines that she puts in everyone's report cards! I'll pretend that they aren't. Now that I think about it, I don't think they were in Jax's 3rd grade report card (same teacher). Ah yes, Dex rocks. ;)

Jax's report card was good too but the teacher commented that he "... is a strong, independent worker but also frequently asks for help when needed to be sure he is on the right track.". Ok, so what is it? Is he independent or needy? She also said he likes to relate all things to cheese. He thinks he is so funny when he turns everything to a cheese comment. Oh, the humour of a 10 year old boy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Since receiving the flu shot on Monday, I have been exhausted! I feel like I could fall asleep at the drop of a hat and in fact, I did fall asleep in the waiting room at Jax's appointment last night. While he was doing his biofeedback relaxation thing in the office, I sat in the waiting room. It was really unusual in that there were no other parents in there last night. I closed my eyes for just a minute and awoke 15 minutes later to the sound of the door opening. I even thought briefly about lying down on the bed at PT today while I was hooked up to the machine (don't know what it is called but stimulates the muscles with electrical pads. Little ones are called TENS machines. Are the big ones too?) but then thought I'd be very embarrassed if I fell asleep so I just sat in the chair.

So, instead of going to bed early tonight since I am so pooped, I watched TV (I love "The New Adventures of Old Christine"), did some laundry and read all the scary news about the economy. Now I am too frightened to sleep.

Oh, and I did make a grocery list for tomorrow. It is Fred Meyer's free turkey week (with $150 purchase). We are so low on groceries that I will have no problem spending that amount.

I also need to make a trip to Co$tco before next week so I don't end up there with the rest of the world as they stock up for Thanksgiving. BTDT and it will never happen again!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I am excited because our book club (well, most of us) is scheduled to go see Twilight on Sunday night! We read the book for our July 2007 meeting (and I think that we've all read at least the next two and about half have read the final book in the series).

I have a huge crush on Robert Pattinson. I don't even want to think about the fact that he is 21 years younger than I am! I have watched HP4 umpteen times to see him as Cedric Diggory. ~swoon~ Stephen says I am sick since he was just a teenager when that movie was filmed. He's 22 now though. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just Another Manic Monday

Three nights in a row of late nights for the kids and then Monday morning rolls around and none of them can get out of bed. Ugh! I decided to forgo making lunches and spent the time getting them up and out of bed in more relaxing time frame.

I got my flu shot today. Stephen's work offers free flu shots each year. We had originally planned to go to lunch but then I forgot that I had a PT appointment scheduled so we just had coffee/tea together. We don't do enough of that (sit down together, not get flu shots).

I have one more PT appointment scheduled. The therapist thinks I have improved my flexibility enough and the knot in my neck/shoulder is gone that I don't need to go back after Wednesday. The change in the tightness, stiffness and pain in my neck/shoulder is incredible! As well, I have been working on exercises to improve my posture so the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is improving and my hands and when I raise my arms, they do not go numb as quickly as they did in the past.

I helped out the son of an online friend today who needed to interview someone from another country. He then had to take my answers and translate them into Spanish. I wonder how "universal health care" translates?

Jax and Dex are taking a cartooning course after school so Cars was so happy to take the bus home himself. It made him feel like a big kid. I picked him up in the car because I had to run a couple of errands before we went back to the school to pick up the other two when their class ended and Cars decided that since he was a big kid, he would sit in the big-boy booster seat in the back row of the van. He was soooo proud of himself. It was so cute! Well, cute until it was time to get Jax and Dex and Cars bossed the other two around and told me that they were not allowed to sit in the back with him. He was unceremoniously dethroned and had to sit back in his regular seat. I cannot believe how bossy he has become!

When I got back from getting the boys, Stephen was already home from work so he could fix the garage door. What seems like it should have been an easy fix turned into an hour of us arguing (we do not work well together) and I almost got my finger ripped off in a pulley. Anyway, it seems to be working although I apparently need to buy another spring because you are supposed to replace both at the same time for even tension.

We've spent the better part of this evening shopping online trying to find the Lego that the kids want for Christmas. They are nowhere to be found except on eBay at 2x the original price. I wish they'd want something that no one else wants. Cars did tell me that he wanted a Chia Pet (Chia Alex actually). I wonder if that will do rather than a Batman Lego?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

We are home from our weekend in Vancouver. We all had a blast at the game! The kids loved it but I think were more in awe of the crowds than of the game. I am sure they heard the word "SUCKS" more in one night than they did in their entire lifetimes! Anyway, the Leafs lost (they did indeed suck!). At one point they were behind 4-0 and Dex cried a bit because he wanted them to win so badly. The Leafs changed goalies and then scored two goals themselves but really they were totally outplayed throughout the game. It was exciting to see so many Leafs fans there.

Here is a photo of me and the boys before we left for the game:

And one of Stephen and the boys at the game:

Yes, that is the BACK WALL behind them. We were in the second-last row of the arena! I cannot complain because at least we got tickets! It was the first time in three years that the Leafs had been to Vancouver so definitely a game that everyone wanted to see.

Our trip home was good. We stopped at Costco in Richmond to have poutine for lunch. Then our regular grocery store stop. The border was a relative breeze (only a 30 minute wait). We were home by dinner time and in time to work on Jax's project that is due tomorrow (he informed us Friday just before we left!!!). He is usually very on top of things so I was very surprised at how much work he had left to do of it tonight. It was assembling a scrapbook so there was not really anything we could do while we were away (especially with such late notice). I'll have to monitor his homework a little closer - at least his projects.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I am making a quick entry to fulfill the NaBloPoMo requirements in the event that I do not get a chance to update later (I have paid for just 24 hrs of Internet service in our hotel room).

Anyway, we are going to walk around downtown this morning (we haven't done that since we were here for Jean-Paul and Marilyn's wedding before Cars was born!). The we'll take the Skytrain to GM Place. We are soooo excited about the game. No idea where are seats are yet. We'll pick them up at the Will Call office before the game.

When I checked in last night the front desk clerk asked me why were in town and I said "To see the Leafs game!". He looked at me and laughed and said "You mean the Canucks game".

Go Leafs!

Friday, November 14, 2008

And we are off to Vancouver for the weekend to see the hockey game. I'd say look for us on TV but I think we'll be in the nosebleed section. Go Leafs!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Off to book club tonight. I am taking these again. So good! Yum!

We'll be discussing March by Geraldine Brooks. I am still not quite finished and probably should be reading rather than blahgging... Anyway, I have enjoyed the book and I look forward to our discussion tonight.

We'll also have a Secret Santa drawing tonight. One person says she hates Secret Santas and wishes not to participate. How awkward that will be at our December meeting. She has also said she doesn't wish to go where we had planned to go (we go out for dinner in August and December rather than have a regular meeting). Everyone else was agreeable to the Secret Santa and our meeting place. When no one replied directly to her note to she sent it out again in case we did not receive the first one. No one replied again. I am not sure what she was really expecting...

Ok, off to stick the jalapeno thingies in the oven and to finish the last 20 pages of the book...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our house is falling apart! Well, a few things around here are anyway.

I mentioned that the motor on the hot tub is just about shot so we are having it replaced tomorrow.

One of the cupboard doors in the kitchen broke. It broke in the same manner as did one of the bathroom cabinets a few months ago when Cars leaned on it. He said he did not touch this one but I am skeptical. Anyway, Stephen will try to fill the hole then reattach the hinge.

One of the springs one of our garage doors broke. I went to Home Depot to buy a new one and apparently garage door springs are colour-coded so you know which one to buy. There is a little spray paint dot painted on the end of each spring. You either have to know how heavy your door is or what colour spring you need. Fortunately, I brought in the broken one and I needed a "yellow" one. Until we get it fixed I am parking out in the rain. (one side of the garage is filled with stuff and I park in the other. Stephen parks his new car outside. heh)

I hope nothing else breaks again soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stephen has now decided that he can no longer tolerate our new bed. So, next week we are off to buy another bed and Jax will inherit our Heavenly Bed. Jax is very excited because he thinks it is nice and plush (it is!) and he often complains about how hard his bed is (it is an extra firm mattress). If his bed were not a full-sized one, I'd just switch out the mattresses.

Anyway, so we'll be going mattress shopping next week. Co$tco seems to have a deal going on starting next week but I cannot tell if the mattress is a pillow-top one or not. I'll watch for sales this weekend too. Macys and Sears always have mattresses on sale. There is also a "mattress shop" in the plaza by our house. I think that is so weird. It is in the middle of nowhere. Well, meaning our city which is small with very limited retail space and up pops a mattress shop (not even a national chain one like Sleep Country). Oh, and a carpet store opened in the plaza too. The local plaza is not a place I would choose to shop for bigger ticket items.

Lest We Forget

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians are asked to pause and remember the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and democracy during the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Afghanistan conflict and during peacekeeping missions.

Rest of Article

Monday, November 10, 2008

Windows OneCare saved the day! We already had it on the desktop computer and Stephen realized that he could use the same license on all of our network computers (my laptop). So we backed up my computer (I am ashamed to admit that I had not backed up my laptop in eons!), we installed OneCare and voila! It detected the infection and cleaned up my laptop!

I was so happy that I even told Stephen that I was willing to upgrade to Vista. He was not impressed. I think I have mentioned before that he said he gave four years of life to it and I *refused* to install it. Two years later, I am now willing to give it a whirl. He said I am on my own so I will stay with XP. :)

At least I am considering a cellphone that runs Windows Mobile. Shouldn't that count too?!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I spent two and a half hours today raking up wet leaves. My lawn sweeper doesn't work as well as I had hoped with wet leaves. So I had to resort to the rake and I have blisters on my hands! Ouch! I filled up our 96 gallon yard waste bin and two of those huge leaf bags.

Our garden still needs to be prepped for the winter. I need to cut back the bushes, perennials and some stupid wild rose bush that we have. We also have a problem with moles. I should probably call someone to fix the problem. Our neighbours bought a couple of those ground rodent repeller stakes. He is not quite sure if they are working or not. I think they are and I think the moles have burrowed across to our property!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I did not get a new cell phone...yet. My contract is not up until the 25th of this month and I am considering switching cell phone providers (we have terrible coverage at our house with T-Mobile). I can upgrade my phone at T-Mobile but I will look around to see who has the best deal and the best phone for me. There are so many choices out there. Perhaps too many for me!

I have some spyware on my computer that I cannot get rid of. I am pissed off about it. It is a fake thing that says my computer is infected with spyware and then tries to get me pay $50 for virus tools. It is more a pain than something that will hurt my computer but I cannot get rid of it. I will try again tomorrow. I have to access any place that has my credit card info on the other computer. It is soooo frustrating!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Today I started to move a pile of papers on the dining room table and felt a sharp pain on my finger. I lifted the pile and there was a BEE underneath the pile and it had stung me! Hello?! It is NOVEMBER! Why was there a bee in my house and what was it doing UNDER the papers? I smooshed it with the fly swatter. Weird!

The motor to our hot tub seems to by dying. This thing has been the biggest money-$ucking thing ever! Stephen loves it though so we'll just pump more $$ into it.

We had Cosmo Friday for the first time in about 2 months. It was fun although Ash told us that she had a breast biopsy yesterday and will find out the results on Wednesday. Scary!

I am planning to get a new cell phone tomorrow. Off to do some research!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Need to make a quick post for NaBloPoMo because our power has flickered a few times already tonight. Tons'o'rain and potentially a wind storm on the horizon for us. Winter is here!

A friend at my mom's club today suggested that Dex submit his photo in the PTA "Reflections" contest. I took a copy of the photo in today for a craft (mod podge the photo to a 6" square tile). I spoke to Dex about it when he got home today and he said he would like to do it. The theme this year is "WOW" and I think that photo is a definitely a WOW.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

On Tuesday, I bought two new travel mugs from Co$tco. They are aluminum with plastic spill-proof caps. I was excited because my old one tasted like coffee which I hate (Stephen used it a few times for coffee when I wasn't looking). Anyway, these are aluminum so the coffee flavour should not leech into them.

However, the most exciting thing about the purchase I did not notice until I got home.

Do you see it?

The perforated line across the top of the packaging for easy opening.

Genius! However, it did not tear open as easily as I had hoped but it was a lot better than wrestling with the scissors that don't really cut that plastic open very well anyway.

That plastic packaging is so maddening and I always manage to cut myself! Never mind that I just imagine how much of that plastic (made from oil, mostly!) ends up in the landfills.

And funny enough, later that day I opened the newspaper and read an article about working with manufacturers to reduce the packaging and "wrap rage" that ensues from plastic clam shells and the billion little twist ties.

In the meantime, I think the little things like perforated lines in the plastic will help. As will investing in little tools like The Plastic Surgeon.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Jax's 504 Review was yesterday. We now have it written in that he gets an "individual" desk and not one of the the double shared desks. Also, no teacher will use peanuts or peanut products in a lesson plan. If they have plans to they will contact us to work out a suitable replacement. The portable issue will have to wait because they do not know for sure if the 6th graders will be in portables next year. And no movement on the "buddy lunch" and peanut butter thing. We can't win them all, I guess.

Jax told his counselor tonight what happened last week. He mentioned that he was not sure that he liked his teacher anymore because of what happened and his counselor suggested that he might like to give her another chance. I really appreciated that he said that. Jax needs to hear things like that from people other than his parents before he will consider them.

And on another note...


Monday, November 03, 2008

Tonight was a "Mom's Night Out" for my mom's club. A group of about 10 or 11 of us went to Eastside Baby Corner which is a local agency that collects and redistributes clothing and baby items to families in need. The service children up to age 12. The set up they have is so very cool. You get a bag with an age and size on it and then fill it with a certain amount of clothes for these kids. There were a ton of people volunteering there and it was amazing how quickly the work (and the clothes go). Our group was there for about an hour and a half. I filled up four bags of clothes for kids and then started sorting the new clothing donations that came in.

In the past, I have donated clothes to Goodwill but knowing that this place gives them away for immediate use is somehow compelling to me. I have told Stephen that from now on all of our children's clothing items will go there rather than to Goodwill. I am actually a little verklempt thinking about what a wonderful job this place is doing for our area.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Dex's appointment with the neurologist went well the other day. Well, other than the fact that I had to drag him crying out of his class Halloween party since it had just started. And he cried all the way to Seattle. I was so worried about being late that I was flustered and could not console him. I pulled into the hospital and headed down a ramp to the parking lot and wondered why they put a "DO NOT ENTER" sign at the top of the ramp only to find out that I was driving down the up ramp and head-on into cars exiting the parking garage. Yikes! At least I was not the only goof who did that as there was a car directly behind me on the ramp.

Where the ramp met the garage exit, there was enough room for me to do a 27-point turn and headed back up (the other guy just drove up backwards) and drove around the block around and came back down the correct ramp. I circled around and around the garage until we found parking then Dex, Jax and I rushed to the appointment only to find out that he was running *45* minutes behind! Oh, if I had only known Dex could have stayed for his party!

So, we went for a walk around the hospital and bought tea/hot chocolate/Pepsi and hung out. After 45 minutes, we headed back up for the appointment and it was another 30 minutes before we were called into to see the doctor.

We discussed medication so now we know what we are dealing with if we went that route. We've decided that we'll only medicate him of the tics continue to bother Dex (he doesn't really even notice them anymore) or if he is being teased (he says only a couple of people have asked him about them). The neurologist also taught Dex a way to try to "trick" his brain. When he feels the tic coming, he grabs a spine of a koosh ball (I need to buy one) and pull on it 10 times until the urge to do the tic goes away. The next week he does it 5 times, then 2 times then 1 time and by then hopefully the tic has gone away. Dex sat there glowering at the doctor the whole time (this guy made him miss his Halloween party AND interrupted his Nintendo DS game that he had been happily playing in the waiting room).

And of course Dex did not do his tic once during that whole appointment. He did it immediately before and after but not during the appointment. :\

After we left, Dex said he wanted to try that "trick" and he explained how he gets a feeling like a bubble in his brain that gets bigger and bigger then he has to do his tic to make it go away. Now why did he not explain this to the doctor instead of pouting and making dagger eyes at him?!

Dex said he'd like to try to trick his brain so I've ordered some small koosh balls (they don't really sell them anywhere anymore - at least I could not find them). While we wait for them to come, Dex will try squeezing a little stress ball.

And let's hope the tics go away soon so we don't need the meds after all.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


I am participating in NaBloPoMo again this year. I hope I can post everyday. Ok, of course I can because I do mostly anyway. :)

It was one year ago this weekend that we moved into our new house. I cannot believe it has been a whole year already. It was a great move for us and even though the housing market is shaky and we've lost some equity, it was still the right decision. Sometimes I wonder how we lived all crammed in that other house.

So happy house anniversary to us!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween, Chocolate and Cosmos

The kids had a great time trick'r'treating. We went up the hill to our old neighbourhood. The first house we went to was our old house. Stephen was skived out but it was fine. She had her house all decked out and it looked great.

We went with Spy's kids (and her dh) then Ash's family joined us. The kids had so much fun! It pissed rain all day then about 4:30 it stopped and there were actually some blue patches of sky before the sun set. It was mild so no big coats for the kids.

Afterwards, Ash's family came back for a bit (Spy's son has a very early morning hockey game so they had to head home). We had an impromptu Cosmo Friday. Not official since Spy wasn't there (and dh and Ash's dh were there). It was the first Cosmo Friday since the first Friday in September.

After Ash's family left, we sorted through the candy and took away all the peanut stuff. Stephen will take it to work on Monday. Anyway, my kids did not even care that much about me replacing what I took away. They were just so excited to go out. Halloween really is a fun holiday.

Here are some pictures:

Two pumpkins that Cars designed. I had him design the big one on a piece of paper first. The second he drew right on his pumpkin patch pumpkin.

Jax and Dex's pumpkins. Degutted, designed and carved by them. A little rough but I am proud they did it all by themselves!

The kids in their costumes. Jax's evil jester mask totally freaked me out. I cannot look at it! Cars is a Clone Trooper and Dex is a Swamp Monster.

Ok, so this pumpkin looked like Sarah Palin to us. Square winking eye. Looks like long hair on the side. We asked the lady whose house it was at and she was seriously offended because she is an Obama supporter.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A little cheese to go with this whine...

Jax is home sick today for the second day in a row. Yesterday is was an inconvenience though I did leave him at home alone for an hour and a half while I went to get some blood work done (I have a nice 3" bruise on the inside of my elbow to prove it!) and to buy some groceries. Today it is a hassle that he is home (nice mom, eh?). He is sicker today. He has a higher fever, body aches and sore throat - yesterday it was just fever and body aches. I was supposed to help run Cars' class party this morning (Halloween as the kids have no school tomorrow). I just ended up dropping off the donuts and leaving.

I am also supposed to run a craft for Dex's class party later this afternoon but I will just have to drop off all of the supplies. I was going to need to leave early anyway because Dex has an appointment with the neurologist to discuss meds. :'(

Jax's class has planned their own party with no parent involvement. We did drop off what he needed to provide - Cheez Its, two boxes and ballots for voting for best costume and best dancer as well as a prize for best costume (a wig and fake nose/glasses <- his idea).

We de-gutted three pumpkins last night then ran out of time to carve the faces because I had to run to Krispy Kreme to get the donuts. The kids are upset because we won't have any fancy pumpkins this year because the Master Carver has been in Los Angeles all week and does not return home until tonight. I told them Jack'o'Lanterns only this year. Not that it matters if we even have them because I don't imagine there will be any trick'r'treaters around here.

My cable box died on Wednesday night so I had them replace it yesterday. The cable guy tracked MUD across the carpet. He is the only cable guy who has ever come into the house without putting on those little blue bootie things. Aargh! So, we lost all of our recorded shows.

Then my internet connection was out until about an hour ago. *pout*

This has been a long friggin' week.

On the plus side:

  1. The kids have the day off tomorrow are we are going to a party if everyone is healthy.
  2. A 504 Review meeting for Jax on Monday after school. I am glad that is was scheduled quickly.
  3. I've lost 7 pounds. I need to mention that now before I get into the Halloween candy.
  4. I bought myself some cashmere socks at Costco last week and they are wonderful.
  5. Spy rocks as she will watch Cars after school today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cars took a photo of me the other while I was plucking away at "Molly Malone". Notice my very fancy music stand.

I am so excited because now I know all of the notes to also play "Amazing Grace" and "Yesterday". I'll be touring before I know it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Today, I went for a physical therapy appointment to finally treat Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that I was diagnosed with in January '04! The vascular surgeon told me to get PT and I never went. I had no time! For my "vacation year" this year I am finally making the time for me. And also I have noticed it is getting worse and I have a really hard time lifting any kind of hand weights in the circuit training class because my arms go almost immediately numb when I lift them over my head.

Yeah me for taking care of myself!

Jax's teacher emailed me today because the kid who sits next to him (they share a 2-person desk) had a pb sandwich for lunch. WTF is going on?! It is almost like some sort of conspiracy. Anyway, Jax was very agitated so the teacher asked the other kid to move but told me she could not do that again. She then suggested that she look for a single-person desk to have brought into her room for Jax. She was able to locate one and it is all set up for him for tomorrow (though he probably won't go to school because he has picked up some sort of virus and has a fever and body aches).

I also sent an email to the principal asking for the 504 coordinator info (the dipstick from last year has left the school). We need to get in his plan accommodations for shared desks, pb used in lesson plans and now I am looking ahead at next year when he will be in a portable with no running water. How will he wash his hands?!

Monday, October 27, 2008

We had another peanut issue at school on Friday but I am too weary to write about it. Jax handled it superbly however, the only casualty is his attitude towards his teacher. I explained to him that while her judgement may have been poor, this is nothing like the case with the music teacher. He is not convinced. I fear this will completely affect his school work. He is having a fantastic year so far. He's won an academic award (they are given out pretty freely, IMO, but it was nice that he was recognized), he is doing well on all of his tests and assignments. He genuinely has been interested in school which is refreshing after last year. I hope he can shake off these feelings towards her.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I took the kids to the skateboard park today then we walked around the city center commons. It was a glorious day.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


We are watching The Last Starfighter tonight. Jax asked me if it were made in Canada. I said it was not and why did he ask.

Jax: Because his mom said "Sorry"
Me: "Sorry"? What's wrong with that?
Jax: Because here we say "Saw-ry"
Dex: Yeah, only people from Canada say it "Sore-ry"
Me: The word is Sore-ry, not Saw-ry so make sure you pronounce it correctly!
Jax: ~eye roll~
Dex: ~eye roll~

I have had a conversation about Sore-ry/Sawry before with Spy. And in the "How I Met Your Mother", the "classic" video of Robin singing "Let's Go to the Mall", she really emphasizes "Sorry" (her character is from Canada). See video here. ("Sorry is about 23 seconds in).

By the way, I looked it up the the mom in "The Last Starfighter" is not from Canada but from Pennsylvania.

So, do you pronounce SORRY, like SORE-RY or SAW-RY?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This week I have received four Christmas catalogues in the mail. Ugh! I don't want to think about it yet!

My kids have been talking about Christmas already too. They have mentioned starting lists. It is going to be an interesting year because this is the first year that I am certain that Jax does not believe in Santa Claus.

How do I know this? Well, a few weeks ago at school, the new counselor came in to the class to talk to the kids about kindness and compassion. She asked for an example and one boy raised his hand and said something along the lines that kindness is still pretending to believe in Santa Claus so you don't ruin it for younger kids. Oops! I know that Jax was not the only one in the class who still thought there might be a Santa Claus (I heard this story from Spy, btw, whose dd told her about it. Jax has said NOTHING!).

Anyway, Jax has not yet said anything about asking Santa for such-and-such a gift. Dex and Cars have both said something about it. I wish Jax would say something to me. I'll have to bring it up to him the next time we are alone. I have always said in our house that if you believe in Santa, he'll bring you a gift. I wonder if that is why Jax is not saying anything.

I also hope that he does not say anything to Dex or Cars. I can totally remember trying to show off my knowledge and how grown-up I was by telling my youngest brother, Wally, that there was no such thing as Santa Claus the year that I found out (I was 9). My brother was devastated and devised a plan to find out if it were true. Wally refused to tell my mom and dad what he wanted for Christmas and said he was only going to tell Santa when we went to visit him at the mall. Fortunately, one of my older brothers, JP, managed to find out what it was that Wally wanted so JP told my mom who was able to get the gift. Wally was so delighted on Christmas morning to know that there was indeed a Santa (at least for that year).

I can totally see Jax doing what I did. And I would be so disappointed if he did.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I am so tired of election ads on television! Not necessarily the ads for President (but I am weary of seeing those too), but the WA State ads for Governor are making me sick. The Republican candidate's ads are slimy and the Democratic ones are ludicrous. I cannot wait until the election is over.

That said, I will say that I have a sign in my front window for my choice for President. I wish I could vote!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I read Doonesbury today. The character (sorry, don't know his name because I do not read that strip daily) refers to bloggers as "narcissists".

Is that what bloggers are?

Is that what I am?!

I am editing this to add that I don't actually expect an answer, especially a "no you're not" one. Those were rhetorical questions. I know why I started this blog (help overcome ppd and not wear out my welcome at the SAHP forum I used to go to) but I have to admit that I am overly concerned with how many readers I have on a daily basis and I look to see how they arrived at my blog using sitemeter.

I don't think I am a narcissist but I know I want people to like me (Sally Field syndrome?). I am a people pleaser and that totally bugs the shit out of me. I often do (or don't do) things because I worry so much about what others will think or because I know so-and-so will or won't like it.

Now I have to worry about people thinking I am narcissistic for having a blog. Why do I even care?! If they don't like, they don't have to read it, right? I like having one. I like writing about my life. I like having my say!

And now I hope that did not come across too vain.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Today was my day to be Dex's advocate.

First, I helped plan the Halloween party for his class. I chose activities that I thought Dex would really like. And I did push for things to be completely peanut-free (there are two PA kids in his class). This helps Dex too because he does not being around peanuts because of Jax's allergy. He's so kind-hearted.

After school, I visited with Dex's teacher today to discuss his reading. Of course today he passed an AR test and moved up a level in SRA because he finished two SRA tests this week! So, I think the reading thing is really a non-issue. He is feeling better knowing that he has moved up an SRA level and has passed his AR test.

Also, I spoke to the neurologist's office today. The doctor wants to see Dex again to talk about medication to control the tics. Yikes! Of course the appointment date they gave me was December 29th! I told the nurse (I think she was a nurse and not just a receptionist because there is another person in the office to handle appointments) that my concern with that was by the time we get in, the tics will be gone and there is no way I will accept any meds for him without the doctor witnessing the tics. She said she'd talk to the doctor. She called back a while later and said the doctor did want to see him sooner so they were able to schedule an appointment in two weeks' time! I am still very unsure about medication for his head-shaking tics (they are very severe though) so I need to know more about the medication, how it works and how long he'd have to be on it.

The one sad thing for Dex is that the appointment time conflicts with his class Halloween party. That totally sucks but it is what needs to be done.

I told Dex that I was taking him back to the neurologist. He really wants help with his tics. He gets frequent headaches from them and he himself has noticed that the head shake is starting to be a head and shoulder shake. :(

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Misc Stuff

Cars' last day of soccer is tomorrow. Hopefully we can go back to Cosmo Fridays after that. Oh, wait, it will probably have to wait another couple of weeks as Spy cannot make it on the 24th then it is Halloween. I can't remember the last time we had Cosmo Friday. It was at Spy's house but I don't recall if it were before or after the school year started.

I had my guitar lesson today. I am still on Lesson 3. I am having a hard time progressing past the notes on 3 strings. Hopefully I will get better as I am getting frustrated. I guess it is a good thing that I can read music else I would be struggling with that too. I just cannot get my fingers to do what I want them to do.

Dex is down on himself about school because he cannot seem to pass any AR tests. Actually, he has passed one. He is ploughing through books but apparently not retaining any information. The teacher is not concerned as he is doing well on SRA (anyone else remember doing SRA in Grade 3? You know, the little books with the coloured levels - brown, lime, aqua, etc). He just needs to stop being so hard on himself, I think.

I finally bit the bullet and called the neurologist today. I just left a message since it went right to voicemail but no one has called me back yet. His head-shaking tic has lasted almost seven weeks now and it does not appear to be abating. :(

I went to Sears today to buy new winter coats for the kids. I ended up ordering Lands' End coats for Jax and Dex (shipping is free if you order at Sears). The coats will be here soon and I hope they like the coats because it is starting to get cold! I am also concerned about the sizes. According to their size chart, Jax and Dex should be wearing the same size!

I pulled out two size 5/6 coats from the closet for Cars to chose from. He says he is sure it is going to be very cold tomorrow because he wants to wear the coat he chose. Nevermind that today he insisted that he would not be chilly with an unzipped hooded sweatshirt. He also asked me to find him some mitts. This time of year is so funny because it can be very chilly in the morning but then warm up (today it was about 60F). People are all over the map with what they are wearing too - shorts, t-shirts and others in parkas with fur collars - all on the same day!

Anyway, Cars' coat is ready for him to wear tomorrow if he wishes. I forgot to dig out the mitts so he'll have to settle with his pockets.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A few photos from our weekend away.

Cars was very perturbed that Lola would not look into the camera so he thought he'd help

Someone was very tired while we waited in the long line to cross the border back into the USA. He slept for about 40 minutes like this. Heehee!

Guy selling ice cream and water while we wait our more than hour and a half to cross.

I realized I had forgotten to take a picture of the mirror before this point so I took one as we were approaching the US border in stop and go traffic. I guess I could have gotten out for a better shot.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It was expen$ive to fix the side mirror but I took the opportunity to get an oil change, replace the burned out fog lights and for them to fix the light over the license plate. There are still scratch marks in the paint on the side of the car and the plastic along the window is dinged up but not worth fixing, IMO. If it were Stephen's new car, we definitely would have gone through insurance to have the car brought back to like-new condition.

I was trying to figure out what kind of owl hit us. I am still not quite sure but apparently owls being hit by cars on a highway is much more common that one might imagine. Whoo knew?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Here is a quick run-down of our trip to Vancouver:

1) While driving along I-5, not far from the border, an owl smashed into the side of our car and broke the side mirror. It scared the crap out of all of us and Cars is still traumatized
2) My sister's boyfriend got sick so they did not make the long drive from Edmonton to Alberta
3) Stephen and I were watching election coverage on CNN. Dex later told us that he used to like Obama but doesn't want him to win because the tv said he used to be a terrorist. Yikes! I see how an 8 yr old might draw that conclusing based on what he saw but it makes me sick that adults believe it!
4) I had a Thanksgiving turkey dinner at White Spot. The dressing ROCKED.
5) Lola is so funny! Dex and Cars were falling all over each other trying to make her laugh.
6) My mom and I get along a lot better when we are not sleeping under the same roof.

That's it. I need to call a dealership tomorrow to see about getting a new side mirror.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blogger ate my post. It was witty and smart and it is all gone.

Acutally, it was probably a bit dull anyway so Blogger did me a favour by "editing" it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian readers (both of you!).

Happy weekend to the rest of you! I hope you three enjoy your weekend. ;)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Book Club is tonight. The book is called "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Unfortunately, I was only able to get through June before the book had to go back to the library. The book club also marks the "official" return of a former member whom we voted back in. I organized the anonymous poll on I would be interested to know who voted Yes and who voted No. And one person abstained from voting. I know who it was. She felt that she could not vote one way or the other because she did not want to hurt anyone's feelings.

December will be the start of our 5th year of book club. I really love going and for the most part, have always finished the books. It is unfortunate that I had to return this one on Tuesday else I would have completed it. I will probably borrow someone's copy and finish it at another time. Anyway, we have one member who almost NEVER reads the book. Sometimes she has not even picked it up. And mostly she has read just a few chapters of it. Another member has missed about half the meetings since she started (she was not an original member). That bugs me! And often her reasons are things like "we have birthdays next week and I have to prepare" as if the three hours at book club will this week be the make or break it for her party prep. Now, if it were a one time thing, sure I could see that. But it is often.

Back to this current book - it is about eating only locally-grown (as in what this family grows) foods for one year. They can buy or trade with local farmers and friends but that is it. It is an interesting concept. So no strawberries in October. Of course it totally made me think twice about what I was going to take tonight. Lately, I had been taking veggie trays. But looking through Safeway today, I noticed the red peppers that are on sale are from Mexico. And I am sure that celery is not "in season" in WA either. In the end, I made meringue cookies (hopefully the eggs are not from too far away) with organic chocolate chips (not local and hopefully "fair trade" chocolate. Plus they were on sale ;)

Ok, off to make dinner for my family then get ready for book club. Looking forward to the sparks flying (there will be no avoiding political talk with the impending election).