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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Peter on the Porch


Peter on the porch(with Tabs)...Arizona dreaming. He wants to go down and pick himself up a Porsche. I'm all for it. The pic was taken at Fintry.
Peter, Pip and I had a quick supper tonight at Joey's. Pip brought two mouse puppets with her and we mouse wrestled while we waited to be served. Mist and Tabs were dining at the neighbors.
Ran this AM but girls didn't feel up to the beach so we went to a park and out for coffee instead. Mist's favorite drink is an iced, decaf Americano with cream, no sugar.
Took a quick break from marking to post this. Only 11 more papers and I'm free! Yippee -yahoo! On the upside, I'm now an expert on cyber bullying. It definately was an eye opener to all the times as a youth that my behavior could be considered bullying and to all the bullying that goes on in my cyber world amongst adults and no one even realizes it may be bullying.
Renewed my drivers license with perhaps the nicest ICBC guy there is--an ex potato farmer from Alberta. He was great. Let me take extra pictures and assured me that my last one was good, "The others were too serious, but you look like you're from the Okanagan in that one."
Back to meditating after a week long absence. Meditation is the best: it's like having a staff meeting with yourself to discuss your own life. I do about three different types of meditation.
Ready to get back to my cougar painting. Planning to go to Italy to study portrait painting for a summer. Yes, how to fit it in...perhaps it will have to wait until I'm done my PhD.
KW: Still into Blue October.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wrestle Mania

I have 2 naughty children that have suddenly appeared from their beds to tell me they are scared: my 8 year old--of "Spiderwicks...and there's nothing you can do about it.", my 2 year old--of "monsters." So, to allow me finish my blog, I have allowed them to crawl into the top bunk with their big sister and join her in the "nest" she's made with her blankets. Only until I am finished blogging, though.
This after an exhausting day....week. Four wonderful children ages 14 through 2 kept me so busy. And today a crazy morning hike with Peter that left us wandering up the back of the mountain on sheer-cliff goat trails, crossing acres of rock slides and narrow, slippery trails. It was a physically and mentally challenging hike. We were climbing free style on parts of that "hike." My Mom arrived last night and then this am I saw Mom and Kyran off (on the bus) to Nelson.
Felt light headed this evening and took to my bed with a book for the first time ever, it felt. Only to be joined on my bed by three wrestling girls and eventually their father, which led all three girls to chant "Wrestle! wrestle! WRESTLE!"--trying to get their dad to enter into a game. Well, that was it. "OUT!" I said. And then with in minutes, Peter returned to bed, saying he was exhausted and was going right to sleep, and yes, he's put all three girls to bed.
I got up for water and to return my tea pot to discover...all three still wide awake. Two reading in bed and calling out for "chocolate milk!" and one jumping up and down in her crib calling for "Chockie!" Fast forward to this moment--all three in Mistaya's nest.
A week ahead of packing, shopping for our trip, finishing my marking and perhaps a few morning beach runs to keep me feeling grounded.
PS My darling Tabitha, master chef of continental breakfasts announced this morning, (after I asked if they were enjoying my fresh baked waffles), "Yes, but I think you put a 'tinch' too much baking soda in this time."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Love Tap


I beat Peter in chess tonight. I love when that happens. A quiet night as we waited for the three oldest kids to watch "Journey to the Centre of the Earth." Our van is getting body work done and now they've discovered engine damage from that horrible rear-ending I did. I want to sue the city as the make shift road they allowed was so unsafe and caused the entire accident--bad drivers cutting people off to turn onto it--on a hill, on a tight corner. Anyway, we have to make due with 2 compact cars which makes going anywhere as an entire family impossible--we always have to take 2 cars. And living way up on top of the mountain makes every trip seem too much. Thus, I am staying home while Peter chauffeurs the kids to the movie. On the up side, I have time for activities like chess, reading etc. Not having a TV is great as my leisure activities don't allow me to go into a coma.
The Pip is so clever. Tonight she brought out the play dough and pointed to a picture of a rainbow with clouds that she wanted to sculpt--so we did.
Beach this am once again. I wore a hat and brought water on my run so my headache is gone. More marking...boring marking.
Van will not be ready for our Island tour--so we must rent one-- crazy luck.
My nephew kyran is making quite a mark on our neighborhood--sending all the little girls hearts a fluttering with his suave persona and good looks.
And no...I'm not slapping Peter's face, it just a love tap, really.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sailors of the Okanagan




Yesterday morning we went behind the Grand Hotel for paddle boating. Pip made an impressive captain in her sailor outfit and cap. It was a long walk for us to and from the paddle boats in the hot sun so we stopped for a cold drink at a cafe afterward to relax. Last evening Peter took the foursome to "kickstart" in the park while I worked on marking.
I found a gallery downtown that would be a perfect start for my work. I am quite optimistic that I can make a handsome side income with my wildlife portraits while I finish my Masters. Although, I admit, being a Renaissance woman makes my exact focus of my PHD a little unsure at this point. I could do it in about 3-4 different areas and absolutely adore each pursuit!
I received too much sun on Monday and have suffered with a head ache ever since: running, the beach. My genetics just aren't cut out for major sun exposure. So, I am waiting to do hikes in the evening this week as to not aggravate my head some more. Today I will drop off the big kids at Lazer Tag for a couple of hours.
Tabitha has prepared amazing continental breakfasts for all the children each morning this week. She blows the train whistle to announce, "Continental breakfast will now be served in the dining car!" She sets the table in colour coordinated dishes, name tags, cereal, toast, and cut up fruit.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fancy Footen-Voggens

Tabitha's Willy-Wonka wonder shoes. I so wanted a pair to fit me but alas, only kid sizes.
Kyran's already beaten me at chess.
Beach this am and was it a scorcher. The kids went on a hike this afternoon and came back with faces redder than a stop light. ( I did tell them to wear a hat and bring water---I'm not a total cruel parent for allowing them out mountain climbing in the heat of the day.)
Even my morning run was a struggle, I found myself chanting a new, unpleasant mantra: "sh*t it's hot....sh*t it's exhausting..." as I panted up the mountain.
Work is a struggle, although I enjoy the orderliness of it all. It's just difficult to do it amongst the various requests of four fabulous children who, despite numerous lectures about staying off the main floor while I work, manage to have numerous reasons to come and talk to me. Peter is already sleeping, Mist and kyran are watching "Charlie Bartlett" and Tabi and Pip are tucked in their little beds dreaming. Well, not the Pip, I just heard, "MOM!"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Awesome Hiking--Kamloops, BC


Home already, two pairs of brand spanking new circa 1970 shoes richer. But man, I paid for those shoes. Sure the price tag said only ten dollars each, but I paid dearly for those shoes in self esteem. The old Italian woman who sold them to me was a very scary woman. She rolled her terrible eyes, gnashed her terrible teeth, showed her terrible claws and roared her terrible roars. I barely escaped the store, knowing sadly, that no matter how many pairs of gorgeous, untouched, original funky pairs of circa 1970's shoes they enticed me with in their window, that I would never return again.
I love the outdoor public swimming pool down the block from my parents house, it so reminds me of the ones I used to frequent all summer long in my childhood.
My handsome 6'3" nephew has arrived for a weeks long visit with his three cousins. and they are all so pleased to have him. Pip has already showed him all her treasures, including dragging out her blue potty from her room to show it off.
Mom gave me an early Bday present of three giant art books and a book all about the origins and history of misogyny ( an uplifting read to be sure!). PS LOVED Mama Mia. That movie really delivered. The songs, the dancing, Greece...so good.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kamloops, BC

Here I am in the heart of BC, society, culture and the universe--according to my father. Perhaps he is right--having a great time. An unbelievable hike this morning through the rolling hills and sage brush. Saw a bald eagle, a sandhill crane and a hawk. I adore hiking around here. I could go forever--just one more peak, just one more corner to explore. I never want to turn around. And the soil is littered with so many interesting rocks and bones. I find myself obsessively hiking with my eyes on the ground.
Went out for a great Mexican lunch with Mom and girls. And I just got back from a swim. (Yes, I will brag once again) I won the 'holding breath underwater the longest' contest. Do I have to tell that my oldest competitor was all of eleven years old?
Was accosted twice today down town by a woman with a hospital band on her wrist. In separate instances she yelled at me, "That is evil...give away your baby!" and "If you smile at your baby one more time, I am going to report you to God!"
Dad's Bday yesterday--72 years old and honestly he is an inspiration. He has the fitness of a 20 year old. I gave him copies of photo's I'd been given by my grandmother of him as a wee boy and University grad. Will post pics of our hike when I get home...Girls are having a blast up here in the universal hub.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Adventure at Every Turn...

This morning it was pandemonium and Imodium. A baby deer was trapped in our back yard, unable to hop the fence and follow its mom into the forest. After about 20 minutes of watching it frantically pace along the back fence, I phoned wild life officials who instructed me that baby deer are very placid at it will allow me to lift it over the fence if I pick it up in a towel. Out I went in gloves and a towel (to not leave my scent on it). Well, baby deer are not placid--the tiny creature freaked and pawed at the fence in a panic, and started to flee towards the front road. I backed right off and just then a dog on the road stared barking at it. By the time I got to the back Yard again the baby was gone and so was its mom--I could see her just disappear behind the mountain. I believe the dog terrified the baby so much that it was able to leap the fence.
On to the beach this am to suddenly find myself cursed with my father's genes: on the upside we are not allergic to mosquitoes and have no reaction whats so ever to them--zilch. We could stand in a tank with a swarm of hungry mosquitoes and come out without a red mark or itch on us. And now onto the down side, we have a sensitive system and when we need to go--we really need to go and fast. All I can say is I am so blessed to have remembered a park near the beach with wonderful toilets.
It was probably for the best that I had to reload the kids in the van and speed away to that park, as Mistaya noted an older man staring at us and put her hands to her eyes like fake binoculars and stared him down--he stared back even more intently. We named him "old man Jenkins." And all of us were relieved to not have to walk by him with our stroller load of beach equipment after Mist's stare-down.
And on the work front--tense. Let's just say Peter and I really should never work together. We are best when our careers pass each other like ships in the night.Though next week I plan to use and abuse my dear sweet nephew, by having him help entertain the troops while I work to finish our collaboration.
Fun in the park last night. Kelowna does this fab "kick start" program for families in the parks each night. Lots of fun and cool equipment to use. Potty training the Pip.I could tell you a funny story but Pip will clobber me when she's older if I do...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Portrait of a Social Sloth


Yes, pure idle on the social front. No, I am not antisocial--I love a good chat or better still a wild party... Yet this summer I have zero motivation to call up anyone and host any kind of a get together. I am quite content to spend my summer just hiking,

swimming, going to movies, painting and having rare Peter time. And I adore hanging with my girls--we have so much fun. They are each at a fascinating age and keep me amused and in awe all day long--exhausted too on occasion. So call me lazy socially. But I guess one has to be lazy in some way. And physically and mentally I feel very active.

Big girls both had sleep overs at friends houses last night. Mist spent the day boating with friends again and I took Tabs, Pip and Mikaila to the water park for the day. Rented 'Bella", why I'll never know. I never have time to even start a movie I bring home, let alone finish one. Maybe tonight. Will bike with my girls and then attempt to watch it. Pip is napping and girls have 2 friends over today. Going to mark papers for the next 3 days so I can head to Kamloops for the weekend with my girls. Then the next week Kyran comes for a visit and then we're off on our island tour for a week.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life


Bouchons was fantastique! The Summerhill organic sipes and peach nectar made a delectable kir. Yes, I was in Paris for the night. But the hike afterward was even more fantastique. The air was crisp as the sun was setting. Peter and I changed out of our evening attire into hiking gear. Mine was most unsightly as I didn't expect to run into anyone on the trail: acid yellow socks, hiking sandals, pink culottes and a red hoodie over a blue t-shirt. I'd forgotten the hoodie and slipped back inside to be greeted by these two creatures: The babysitters--Mist and Nicole--had plans to surprise their charges with those crazy get-ups as soon as they'd thought we'd left.
WE hiked down to the bottom of the mountain, along the lake shore and then up Paul's tomb. The sky was lit with a stunning half moon. We were alone hiking up from Paul's tomb and the smell of the air, the quiet, massive lake and eerie cliffs made the night unforgettable. Home in time to find our girls (5 including 2 friends) running in the back yard in the dark playing cops and robbers.
Was physically exhausted from the climb up the mountain and satisfyingly full of french cuisine. I fell asleep to the beautiful sound of coyotes yipping back and forth across the mountains. All was well until a neighborhood hound joined the calls and then suddenly the sound was just not as pleasurable. Why is it that coyotes sound beautiful and dogs annoying? PS-- a storm with 100km an hour winds blew through Kelowna yesterday taking many trees down. It was quite thrilling to witness.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Three in a Bed...


Three in the bed...I'm trying to give my girls an old fashioned summer with a lot of freedom and imagination on their part. This means though, that Pip doesn't get to bed until 10:30 some nights which in turn means her dear sweet Mama doesn't get up until 8 and misses her crack of dawn activities!
Tonight I shall slip into my long gown for the honour of our 16th wedding anniversary and dine on the patio at Bouchons. Movie will wait until Friday as the only one I wouldn't mind seeing starts then. Also I will take the girls to "American Girl" this weekend.
The other day, we went exploring past the newest Kettle Valley subdivision, only to become stuck in deep sand in the van. We were up against nothing but sandy terrain and a cliff's edge. I got out to try to guide the van back onto the packed sand trail only to have a vulture---yes, a lone vulture, to start circling above my head. I couldn't help but feel that just wasn't a good sign. However, my expert maneuvering led us back out of the sand pits and that vulture didn't make a meal of me.
Swimming in a short while. Beach last might was lots of fun--high waves. Though with the wind it was easy to become hypothermic. And I made the best pizza's ever. I let the dough rise while we went to the beach and came home and separated it into 5 little pizza's. Each of us chose our own toppings. Finally, I got to make a super deluxe veggie pizza! I added whole grain flour and 1/4 cup of crushed flax to the dough. The crust was super thin and crispy. Pip ate her entire pizza!
Must email my portfolio (10 pages of"Queen..." and 10 of "...Pizzaface" to the author Anne Fleming today. She will be teaching my advanced novel class.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Corn Husk Dolls


The girls made corn husk dolls from the fresh corn we cooked the other night. They all have really wild hair--matches their owners.
Girls have all been camping out on mattresses in Pippi's room. Pip has been having night terrors about "bees" in her room at night and was refusing to sleep in her crib. Having her sisters camp out with her has solved the problem and Mist and Tabs love it!
Bought Pip a little dress today from "The Children's Place," as we tried it on her (over the dress she had on) and then she absolutely refused to take it off--tantrum. So she ended up wearing two dresses around the mall at the same time today.
Peter and I too tired to go to the beach tonight even though the Pip whipped up to me after supper and announced "Beach!" When I asked her who wanted to go to the beach, she answered "Ke-Ke and Tab!"--She's already learned how to play her folks. So, tomorrow night I promised a picnic at the beach.
Tabs is biking by herself now! We bought her a pogo stick to celebrate (yes, we are overindulgent, even though one of my favourite lines is--"That's not the Buddhist way, remember we don't believe in mass consumption!"). Man, is that pogo stick hard to do!
Mist is a speed demon in the water--I think she should be on the swim team although this fall it's "Flute, jazz dance and fencing" according to her.
Me? I am busy with University work and PJ busy teaching a morning class and afternoon class back to back for the next 3 weeks. Our anniversary Thursday--I suggested "Bouchons"--I feel like I'm in France when I dine there-- and Peter suggested a movie.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bake Off!



The girls wanted different things for breakfast. Tabitha wanted waffles, Mistaya wanted pancakes. So, I told them they'd have to make them themselves if they couldn't agree on one. They went to work and ended up enjoying their breakfasts with their little sister.

We did it! The entire family hiked from our house all the way down the mountain and through down town to the Bread Company for breakfast. It took us about an hour and a quarter. Just got back. Peter has gone to the Uni to work and the girls and I will attempt the Sunday morning clean up. Peter starts teaching tomorrow. I am going to be too busy: preparing a writing portfolio for Monday, marking papers for the Ed. Tech course, and painting. I find it hard to find the time to do the sports I planned on: family biking, tennis etc. Why do I always think of summer as a time of play and nothing but time? It's like my brain is still stuck in the summers of my teen age years: cool clothes, tubing down the High Wood River and looking for mischief!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ke-Ke and Ab-Ab...Ain't Life Grand

Tough day yesterday...my darling little Pip fell down the stairs and frightened both herself and me beyond words. She had left me in my bedroom to go and find "Ke-Ke and Ab-Ab" as she calls her sisters. The next thing I heard was Thud! Thud! Thud! and then silence and a weak little "Mom." The terror as I ran to find her lying face down at the bottom of the stairs. She cried and cried, Thank-God, as I realized she didn't seem to have any major injuries. But I was a mess. I called Peter at work and told him to come home as I had lost my mind and couldn't think straight out of sheer terror.
Today is a busy day preparing for our up and coming camping trip:bookings, buying tent and equipment. I will take Tabs biking again to get her skills up to snuff.
Fighting to get into a creative writing class as an elective in the fall--advanced Novel writing. Perfect for me as I can pursue my fiction writing and my literacy masters at the same time--won't life be grand.
Crashed in a new way--came to a new sense of calm that has escaped me for many, many years and really asked myself why? Why am I always so driven to go, learn, do, achieve, achieve! I have lost the fine art of doing nothing and being Zen. As zen as I try to live, I realize me being zen is rare. But this is a new realization and I am learning from it and going to explore it further. Perhaps I can slow down--maybe not have my art show until I am ready instead of forcing myself to complete so many paintings this summer. It is too high pressure. Ever since my girls got out of school, I realize I am too busy to even think straight. Summer involves my 3 baby girls--me being with them. To try and achieve so much in the way of personal work is causing me a lot of grief.
Saw "Indiana Jones' last night. It was what I expected: light action flick. And I disagree with some nay sayers out there: Harrison Ford is NOT too old. He was amazing in the flick. Man, that guy survived an atomic bomb inside a fridge for G's sake! Kate Blanchet however, was a disappointment. For a usually gifted actress, she sure couldn't nail the Russian accent worth squat.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Grand

We took the girls and friend to the beach behind the Grand last night. I love evening swims, everything is so peaceful. Girls camped out on Balcony last night in tent--it was thunder this time that sent them scurrying in. Discovered our tent is disintegrating--must purchase a new one before we do our camping tour of Vancouver Island in early August.
Mist, Tabs and Keely are painting their nails in the yard and at this moment Pippi is attempting to play chess with herself in the living room. She went to the hearing clinic yesterday. Her hearing is fine but she still has a lot of fluid in her inner ear--I will take her back to the Dr. today.
Swimming lessons in an hour. Meeting several friendly people on the benches to chat with during the lessons, which has been enjoyable. I even have suggested "project literacy" to a friend of Mistaya's mom that has recently moved from S. Korea--just as stats show, she is not studying English. Her children are learning it at school but she says she has no time to study it. So me and my pet project (Global literacy for girls) suggested how she can receive tutoring for free.
And even in this scent free world, my "Tibetan Mountain Temple" perfume is getting rave reviews--strangers comment on the lovely scent. I love that stuff. The girls said to me, "Mom, you smell like Texas today!" It was because I wore that perfume the entire time we were in Texas.
I love my cougar painting--my focus is strong once again:portraits of humans and other animals, the common thread of life that makes us one. And my personal mantra "Touch me not for free am I; wild to hold though I seem tame." Many of my creatures are snarling at the viewer--somehow, I really relate to that.
"The Brain and How it Changes Itself" has changed my life in small ways: Wearing bare feet as much as possible to stimulate my brain--but man that pavement gets HOT! Listening to my "French in the Car" CD's on my I Pod, in bed, in the dark, with my eyes closed, to encourage my audio learning to expand into my visual centres--Fascinating tips to turn one into a smarty pants! PS: T--am I back yet?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

TRA-LA-LA

Osoyoos BC: Hot, cherries, shallow lake, vultures that look like penguins...
What else? Beach tonight. Tabs has a friend over for a sleep over--Keely. Jettisoned the moose idea until I can go to Kamloops and photograph one myself. Onto painting a cougar and she is a beauty. Last night PJ and the big girls hiked to the top of the mountain for Canada Day fire works only to be turned away. They were allowing no one to watch from the top of the mountain because it is so dry--for the best as I don't want our mountain going up in flames. Start a job as teaching assistant for Ed. tech course--50 h of marking!Needing a distraction. Must find one...hm...