Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back in October when I went to help my mom pack before she moved, she gave me about 100 35mm slides of the family because she could not throw them out. She had already thrown out hundreds of others of my dad's political life, their vacations to Greece and many other things that were not "personal". I looked through the slides (by holding them up to the window) and they really are treasures.

My brother was visiting this weekend and so I asked him if he had access at his work (he works at a university with access to many media products) to a machine that could easily transfer slides to digital prints, otherwise I would buy a 35mm slide image scanner. Fortunately, he has access to professional products so I very warily and reluctantly gave him the slides to copy for me and my siblings and my mom. I hope he is able to get it done by Christmas because I think it would be great to give copies to my mom and sister and other brothers then. I hope it gets done!

Some of the photos are real gems! A Christmas when our family lived in Ottawa (we lived there for just 2 years after my dad lost an election and became an aide to a member of parliament so we rented out our house and moved). Photos of our family with the family up the street at our rented twin cottages. We just rented them for two or three summers in a row and I was very, very young but I still have such distinct and wonderful memories of those times.

The thing about slides is that they were never made to hard copy prints. My dad would occasionally set up the projector, take the painting off the dining room wall and we'd sit and look at the slides. It was fun and interesting as long as it were photos of us that we were viewing.

The worst slide shows were of the trips to Greece that my mom and dad made in the 80s. Literally HUNDREDS of photos of the Greek country side in Florina (the sister city to my hometown). Zzzzz We used to joke all of the time about my dad and his slides. When Stephen and I were first dating my dad pulled out the slides and Stephen sat very politely through them. I think my dad loved him just because he had a captive audience and Stephen made all of the correct nods and asked just enough questions to make him seem interested. Oh those slides!

I am not sure why my dad loved slides so much. He was an amateur photographer and he probably thought that slides were superior to negatives/film. So many of our family photos were on slides (and lost somewhere in moves). Or if he did use film, he'd have them developed onto contact paper rather than in regular sized photographs and the negatives long gone. (No doubt my mom threw them out at some point as she often called my dad a pack rat and when he wasn't looking she would throw out boxes and boxes of his papers that he had stored in the crawlspace. Just an aside but after my dad died my mom dumped so much crap only to find out later that my dad had been hiding gold coins that he had been collecting in them. Who knows how much gold is now in the Toronto garbage landfills?!).

Anyway, the slides are a real treasure and I hope it isn't too long before I have digital copies of them. I would also like to have the actual slides back but Stephen may accuse me of being a pack rat like my dad! Unfortunately, I have no gold to stash with them though. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

All about Cars

Cars starts swimming lessons tomorrow. He is mad that I signed him up but really he cannot swim! I mean he can kind of swim but since we had NO summer last year and we spent the winter in the hockey arena instead of pool, he seems to have forgotten how to swim. When he last finished lessons, he "graduated" to youth 4 but when I signed him up for these lessons I put him back in youth 3. Anyway, it is a 2 week intensive course so hopefully he will pick it back up quickly.

He also learned to ride his bike finally. For shame on me that it is less than two weeks until his 8th birthday and he could not ride a bike. Well, to be fair, he had no incentive to do so. He is a stubborn little Leo and while he can balance and we did take the training wheels off his bike a year to two ago, he just doesn't ride. "It's too haaaard!" he'd complain. So, I had to figure out what his currency was to learn because we are going on vacation in a few weeks and we are taking bikes. Enter Pokémon. He is obsessed with Pokémon and I told him I would buy him 5 packs of Pokémon cards (he is now claiming that I said 6 but whatever) if he could ride from our house to the end of the street and back. Sounds easy but the road has a slight hump in it so on both ends so it really is uphill both ways. :) Hopefully by the end of this week we'll be at the drug store buying him those cards.

And today he went to a birthday party that had a video game theme. There was a truck with 4 50" tvs and 4 xboxs, 4 Wiis and the kids can play video games together for 2 hours. Cars knows that I do not allow him to play Halo and so he did not play because he knew he wasn't supposed to play. I could totally see Dex playing anyway and saying "well everyone else was playing". I am pretty proud of Cars for doing that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer O'Fun 2011 Day 20

I took Jax and Dex to see the final Harry Potter movie tonight. We tried to go see it in 3D IMAX but traffic was bumper to bumper along 520 so we got off, turned back around and went to a small cinema to watch it. We still saw it in 3D but just not IMAX.

I did not take Cars with me for a few reasons. First, I knew the movie would be a little dark and he is not quite 8 years old so I thought it be best to let him see it at home. Also, whenever we go to the movies he has to peed like 2 or 3 times and I have to take him and I really did not want to miss any of this movie. So Jax, Dex and I left as soon as Stephen got home from work. I also did not mind saving about $15 on the cost of a ticket and snacks for him (sorry, Cars).

* * * * * SPOILER ALERT BELOW * * * * * *

Anyway, I really enjoyed the movie. I have enjoyed all of them as well as the books too. I recently finished reading the 7th book for the 3rd time and I can say that this is the first time where I felt Harry's compassion for Snape. Before that I was just still pissed that he killed Dumbledore and while he was a pathetic character and I felt for him, it did not seem believable to me that Harry would name his son after Snape. However, this third time through I could see that Harry is far more compassionate that I ever could be. Also, and it showed Harry's maturity and understanding.

I feel a little sad at the end of this series. I remember reading the first three books back to back just after Dex was born and I could not wait until book 4 and of course the movies! When book 7 was released I took Jax and Dex to the midnight release party at our local Borders store. (a sad note too that Borders is going out of business this week). I have read all of the books at least twice (and some of them three times). I've seen all but this last movie 3 or 4 times. My kids have had Harry Potter birthday parties, we have tons of Harry Potter lego (in fact, Jax's first Lego set was Hogwart's Castle).

I wonder if there will be another series like this that captures so many hearts and imaginations. I hope so!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Breaking Through the Hoard

For months Stephen has been saying that he wanted to buy a mini-fridge" to put downstairs so we could keep beer and pop cold without crowding our main fridge. He finally bit the bullet and purchased one last month and I was sweating, wondering where the heck he was going to put it. We could make room in the garage but not easily. Even worse was trying to make room in the laundry room with all of the crap I have in there. Anyway, the fridge came (and it is far from being "mini" fridge. I think it is called a compact rather than a mini as it is 5.7cu ft. The first one was damaged so we just took it right back and had to wait a week for the next one and it arrived on July 1st which was too close to our party date to do anything other than make room in the kitchen and plug it in there (the fridge fit nicely in the space where the garbage can was but the garbage can fit not well in the middle of the kitchen).

Anyway, today, two weeks after we got the fridge, Stephen announced that we were moving it and we had to find a spot for it. WHAT?! I started to panic a bit because all my stuff was in the laundry room and what was I going to do with it?? Breathe! Breathe!

I told Stephen that I needed help to make room and he was very patient with me while we made room for it. We did have to move my craft table (which was really nothing more than a flat surface to put unfinished crafts, empty bags and anything else that did not have a home. I filled three garbage bags of stuff for Goodwill (many of them craft stuffs) and two garbage bags (did I really need 15 empty tie-dye bottles? Yes people, it was that bad).

We cleared out room for the fridge, moved some things into the garage and now the laundry room looks much better. My next project is to go through all of my craft containers and drawers to really get rid of the things I will not use. And it would be good to consolidate everything so, for example, my beading tools and supplies are not in 8 different containers.

Babysteps. Flylady would be proud.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer O'Fun 2011 Days 8-17

It has been a good summer so far! We have had much nicer weather that we had all of last summer (although the past couple of days have been cool, overcast and a bit wet). Our 4th of July party was a lot of fun! We are still recovering (well, in the sense that the keg still needs to be returned to the brewery and we have a little fridge in our kitchen that needs to be moved to the laundry room).

I took the kids to the beach last week and they had a grand time although Dex insisted that he could apply his own sunscreen and ended up with a bad burn on his shoulders where he completely missed applying it. Ouch!

Dex has also started back at counseling because he had a bad few weeks. His anxiety levels were ok but it seems to be depression that is kicking his ass right now. It breaks my heart to see him so sad at times. I am sure he'll have to be on medication in the coming years. :(

Yesterday our Summer O'Fun included a 7:15am appointment with the orthodontist. The good news is that Dex does not need a palate expander after all though both he and Jax will probably need braces by next summer. The bad news is that Cars needed to start his treatment now and he'll get a palate expander later this month to help fix his cross-bite. He also has a severe overbite and needs braces now (as well as later) but his lateral incisors have not yet grown in so there is nothing to attach the wire to. In fact, the incisors have not moved at all since last year and the orthodontist things there is a change that they are impacted (maybe from the trauma of them being knocked out a year ago May?). Anyway, keeping my fingers crossed that they will eventually erupt on their own.

Today I took the kids to Seattle to Archie McPhee's. They had a good time poking through everything. In the end, Jax and Dex bought some "handerpants" and Cars bought a huge box of Kraft Dinner (empty box probably used as a promotional item). Whatever.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Summer O'Fun Day 7 (2011)

I had to stay indoors today as my face heals from the photodynamic therapy so I hired Babysitter to come and take the kids for the day. She is a wonderful babysitter. She first started helping out when we moved into our old house up the hill and she was 9 years old. She LOVED Jax (he was 15 months old). She would come over and play with him as often as she could. When Dex was born the following May, I hired her in the summer for $1/hour to be a mother's helper (her parents would not let me pay her more and I had to *insist* to them that I needed her to take the money).

Anyway, she babysat for us whenever we wanted to go out (which really wasn't that often). It was a sad day three years ago when she moved away to go to college. She is planning to become a teacher and she will be an excellent one!

Today she took the kids to see a movie, then out to lunch and then to the skate park while I huddled indoors and read, baked cookies and did laundry. It is a shame that I could not go out because it really was a lovely day - sunny and low 70s.

The redness and swelling in my face is nearly gone and it definitely does not hurt anymore. I have the ok to go outdoors in the morning. I get to repeat this again next month and in August. I still keep using the ointment on my face for 5 more months though and we'll see if it brings any more pre-cancerous cells to the surface.

Wear sunscreen!