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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Last Continent

The best movie ever (title above). I love, love, love fantasizing about myself onboard the boat, researching climate change in Antarctica. The crew are all French Canadian. Watch it if you are the type that loves nature and adventure.
Yesterday I felt like I was trudging through Antarctic. SILVERSTAR. Yes, that amazing ski resort located in the Okanagan. The day was insane! The 3 big girls enjoyed their ski lesson, however, the moms had a surreal experience of spending the entire day all decked out in the ski boots and gear yet never quite making it down a run! First of all, Miranda and I tried to find this great chair that had easy runs. We walked for 1/2 hour carrying our skis, through deep snow, up hill to discover we couldn't find the chair. By this time it was time to pick up the kids from lessons. After lunch, Miranda decided to stay with Nem and Tabs on the Magic carpet and help them perfect their skills. Mist and I tried to find the only chair that her lift ticket ( from the morning lessons) allowed her to use. We walked up and down hills, in ski boots, through deep snow, carrying the worlds heaviest skis for over an hour to discover the chair was at the bottom of a steep slope. I was OK as I skied for many years before I took up snowboarding, but this was Mist's first day on skis ever (she's only ever boarded). So Mist got going too fast, lost her poles and ended up in a crying heap at the bottom. I decided the runs were too advanced for her. The only way out of this mess? To walk back, only now we were at the bottom of yet another deep valley. It took us forever climbing back out of that place back to the village. We had to scurry across ski runs, carrying our skis. *shuffle, shuffle, scurry, scurry* "Hurry Mist! Ok , break, we're safe behind a tree. Remember Mist, this is a battle field, we have to get across fast, without getting hit," (by the boarders and skiers sailing over the hill above). *shuffle, shuffle, waddle, waddle scurry*
It seems I walked for about 3 hours up and down snow covered slopes, carrying my skies for the entire F'n day! All I could do was laugh, to prevent myself from crying. I did learn much though. Silverstar is no place for beginners--the magic carpet area is too small and easy and the other runs too bloody far away from the village--you're expected to walk, in ski boots, carrying your skis for an hour! I am taking the girls to Crystal for the rest of the year with special trips to Big White or Sunpeaks to spice things up.
 However, Tabs loves skiing and Mist prefers snowboarding but will give skiing another try. Next time I'm taking Pip out with us. Me? I just didn't get to ski enough to know if I like it or want to board again.
Adventure at every turn...though not the kind you'd expect.
Now, a little about the world's worst dog, FERNANDO! He bolted out of the house this AM, like a little black bat out of hell, and chased the school bus up the street, barking ferociously after it. He refused to come and sent me into the garage to start the van and Peter up the street in his flannel pajama bottoms. As I was driving up the street, Peter arrived with Fernando. He'd finally come to Peter's calls. Thank G! I knew he'd chase that huge yellow bus until it stopped and then proceed to bark ferociously at all the kids, preventing them from getting on the bus and then keep chasing it and eventually get run over.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Spirit

I'm quoted in this month's Parents Canada--page 30. They edited what I said into mush with too many 'buts'--but I'm not complaining! 
Spent some of today shopping for hardwood flooring and paint for the girls rooms. I actually love choosing flooring and paint!
Mist and Tabs both had sleepover parties at friends houses last night. Peter, Pip and I went over to M and J's for supper and games. It was a delicious meal (I LOVE roasted veggies)!
Tomorrow we attempt a day at Silverstar. The big girls will try lessons in the morning while the moms ski (Miranda and I) and board. The babies are staying home with their dads--they don't have lessons for 3 year olds. Once we get everyone established as skiers and all the equipment sorted, we can start night skiing for 5$ Fridays.
Finished my last paper--tres bon, bon, bon! Now I shall do home renos and apply for my ethics review and write applications to present at conferences for December.
 Have discovered many, many provincial publishing houses that are small and unknown to me--yet I am inspired to try every last one of them for my novels. I am reading Elizabeth Lyon's Manuscript Makeover. Next, I'll tackle new edits and send my novels. I don't know when I'll have time to do all this. I am thinking once my MA is complete and I've applied to do my PhD--there will be at least 1/2-1 year space in between.
Did I mention Tabs is rushing head first into the Christmas spirit, leaving her parents in her dust? She rummaged through our storage to unearth the Christmas lights and proceeded to put them up on our outside front balcony all by herself!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cocooning Pleasures & Fears

Pip and Tabs are rough housing as I type this. They are bathed and in fresh jammies and demanding "ice cream!" Mist is busy doing homework and Peter is resting with a "headache."
We are rearranging all our bed rooms--Pip and Tabs will share and Mist will move upstairs into her original room which is now Pip's. This is to make way for Peter's "man pad." It will be a room for Peter to escape to and do his "man" things (ie sleep, snooze, watch movies, stare at his computer--don't tell him you read that here!). He seems excited about the prospects. The girls are excited because the rooms are getting new paint and new hardwood floors.
Slowly getting my groove back on. Even considering Silverstar this opening weekend to ski/board.
I have wandered, perhaps floated into semi-sleepy cocoon like phase the last few days. I just want to stay home, watch old movies and sleep. It is a fine state, however, if one gets too comfortable retreating from the world, trying to get back into it creates a most unpleasant shock to the system. That is why I allow 2 days of cocooning max before I force myself back on the horse--fear, I guess, that I may just never want to ride again!
I feel ill tonight as I dipped my Japanese breaded chicken in canola oil before I baked it--too much fat! I cannot digest fat. I feel sick. I am determined though, to continue my 7 suppers for seven days--each day a different cultural food and each day very nutritious. I did learn however, that next week the chicken will NOT be pre-dipped in canola oil.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hogwarts: BYOB (bring your own broom)

A Hogwarts party for girl wizards.                                                                               This is the birthday girl indulging in one of her gifts. Scroll down to view the quittach game played on broom stick in the dark. And the "sorting hat girl" (Pip) it was her job to decide what house the wizards belonged to when their name was called--Pip was a natural. Mist was disappointed as she wanted Gryffindor but Pip decided she was a Ravenclaw. Tabs was a Hufflepuff and so was Pip. Nemi was a Ravensclaw and I was Slytherin. It was a great party and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Today I am having a tired day. Mist and I have had similar symptoms so perhaps it is a bug: headache, off tummy and dry mouth and tired. 
I am looking forward to getting my act together maybe tomorrow. Today I just want to rest, stay inside and nibble on something sweet. It is rather unlike me. I went to the gym this AM but other than that and a little paper writing I am uninspired. However I did play "Prince George" with the little girls. I talked the giant stuffed ape and they were princesses. 
Enjoy the party photos!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Baby Girl Mistaya

New born Mistaya with Mommy--Nov 1996. My baby's 13th birthday was on Wednesday and tonight she celebrates with approximately 18 little girls. I am hiding in my room for a little break while some of them watch Harry Potter I. The party is 5 hours long with a Harry Potter theme. So far all is well, however, next year I plan to shorten the duration. They have a tendency to get a little wild after a few hours.
Spent the entire day in class and arrived home at 3:45--the party started at 4! So as you can imagine, I am pooped! I did have fun in class though. I got to preform a version of an old cheerleading cheer for the class with my class mate Bernie. She was such a sport! It was "the team was in the huddle" cheer--and included dance moves and cheering to lyrics"Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, John Travolta and Vince Van Gough!" Who ever said cheerleading wouldn't come in handy some day? Will post more  party pics tomorrow. Here's hoping the next hour goes by smoothly. Peter is asleep beside me as I type this so it looks like I'm on my own with 18 crazed Harry Potter fans!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Harriet Trotter

This was me last Saturday night--ready for the world.
Tonight I am not so sure.... I have cancelled all plans to remain home and work--work on Mistaya's birthday party tomorrow night. A Harry Potter theme. I will be in class all day, so I have to do all decorating and preps tonight. This involves an outdoor scavenger hunt, quittach on brooms, major appie table, punch and cake and ice cream. There will be a total of 18 little girls at our place.
Pip is so excited--she's wearing her sorting hat outfit already (it will be her job to sort the guests into their houses). Tabs is busy loading the goodie bags as I type this.
Bikram's this morning was gruelling without Miranda to inspire me. Her good friend (owner--can't remember his name) asked after her ;)
Fernando and Fozzy had a great play date in our backyard this morning. Those two never stop playing. I had to walk the two of them from Miranda's to my house--it took forever as they rolled down the street in a tangled ball--refusing to stop jumping all over each other!
I am really looking forward to free time after I hand in my last paper. I will try and finish it Sunday and mail it off Monday evening and I will be sort of free for a while! Free to go to movies, out to cultural events, skiing and skating and swimming at the H2O centre with the gals. And free to concentrate on my beloved thesis once again. And decide if I will bother to submit a paper for the Malaysia. Oh, and don't tell my girls--the adoption papers and photos of the orang utans came. And my goodness they melt my heart!

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ying-Yang of Light and Dark Energy

Tabi and Nemi pre-party as ying-yang energy--dark and light forces combined. Miranda and John's party was so much fun: dancing, schmoozing, great appies. I, of course, picked the most expensive wine as the shlock and the cheapest wine as the best. My girls hosted 20 kids back at my house for the children's party and it was a great success too.
Went to a conference on net working yesterday hosted by Mitac. I learned a few useful tips and it inspired me to perhaps focus a little more on my present research instead of on the final outcome of my ideal career.
My asthma has been dreadful lately. I hadn't needed my inhaler for over a year until last week!
Mist had a great birthday yesterday--her big party is this saturday--Harry Potter theme. Much work on my part and I have an all day class that day so--yikes!
Tabs and Pip both seem to have bladder infections so I must brave the dreaded medi clinic once again. I can never see MY doctor--no, one must book weeks in advance. As much as I believe in universal health care--the BC system is poor. Doctors have too much control over how they set their hours and book appointments. My doctor leaves no time for emergency appointments in his practice. You must wait weeks to see him. If we're going to have a health care system, then doctors need to be forced to see patients on a practical basis and keep time open in their days to see clients who need immediate attention. Poo-poo to all doctors who run their clinics like a fascist regime.
Must go--so far behind on my paper progress...

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bouchons or Bust

 Four hot babes out on the town Friday night. (Mummy, birthday girl:Theresa, Me and Miranda). All sporting Metro-Sexual Satchels by handbag designer Theresa Hart (the one in the raspberry coat).
I am sitting in the Fipke building on a lunch break.--at this moment at UBC, the table beside me are indulging in some sort of luncheon and it smells like hospital food--blick.
I am tired. Too many late nights and early mornings.
The family party at Bouchons last night was fun. I ate too many pomme frites though and I am still full! We arrived back at my house for a delicious cake--chocolate with cafe au late icing—made by Granny, Tabs and Pip. Nemi and Mistaya played "Happy Birthday" for Auntie T on the violin and piano.
I gave Theresa an antique German chime clock for her birthday.
Peter is still out of province. And I am at class today.
 On the way home I'll pick up some appies for the children's party that will start at my house at 6:30 and try to squeeze in a wee nap before the adult party up the street. I am fighting bronchitis. I finally went on antibiotics so should be cleared up soon. Bikram's was more grueling than usual for me Friday as I was not feeling well in the "rum-tum-tummy"(this I post for Miranda's amusement as she teases me about my love of the term 'tummy') due to the bronchitis. After yoga I was greeted by our first snow fall. The road up the mountain was very slippery. I took the van in to change into winter studded tires  yesterday and it was ready by 9:30 PM. Today the snow is gone. However, it looks like it may be early skiing up at Big White.
My dear Pip hit her head while rough housing last night and has a huge shiner--her eye is almost swollen shut.
Must gear myself up for the party tonight. 6 family dogs shall descend on my place tonight. Fernando loves them all but a few of the hate Fernando and his incessant need for play. Mist wants the dogs up at the adult party as she doesn't think she can handle the 6 of them and all the other kids.
And a big Happy 1st Birthday to my darling Fernando today! That crazy little dog is a year old today. And he is a little power ball of love, enthusiasm and energy. He is the perfect running dog for me. He has so much energy and never tires despite running up mountains with me.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Feel Weird

Portrait of Pip taken by Tabs.
Big girls at piano lessons. Pip at Aunties. Peter 1/2 way across the country. My solitude is limited however. My girls arrive home soon and I will join the dinner party up the street at Miranda and John's. My sister Theresa and her partner Joop are in town and my mom arrives later tonight. Miranda's requested white wine but alas my cupboards are bare save a 1/2 finished bottle of Sirah. All are gathering for a weekend party and Theresa's birthday.
My asthma is acting up thanks to that virus I had last week. I couldn't breath yesterday. I was too tired to go to a movie even. Rented Orphan instead. I like the family's house and the wife character. The kids are good actors too. I love movies about families with young children. Of course, the only movies about such characters are horror flicks or movies where someone's child dies. Why??? I just want an interested drama about a real family. Not some horror or total tragedy!
Early hike/run this AM (brought inhaler). Bikrams tomorrow. Finally getting back to my early morning workouts despite the asthma flair up.
Had such a busy day yesterday. Had to bring all three girls to the hair salon with me as Mist had a late school appointment and Tabs had dance right after my appointment. Thus I could not run them up and down the mountain in time for all the appointments. However, they were good as gold--2 1/2 h in a hair salon!
 Four parties in three days--the kids party will take place at my house on Saturday night. The list of food to make is incredible! I'll be in class all day so the girls and Granny will have to manage on their own.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Help Me Harry--I'm a Thrifting Maniac!

Mistaya as Harry Potter last Friday night at the Social Justice pot luck. BTW, I wonder if the term pot-luck came from the Canadian aboriginal tradition called a pot-latch--giant parties with abundant food and gifts for all the guests.
OK, I'm guilty of thrifting this morning. Artemis is home sick thus I didn't have the twins today and Mist is home with a headache. SO, I left Pip with Mist and headed out doing long over-due errands (groceries etc.). And...well...things went from thrifting to treasure hunting rather quickly. How could I resist the 1930s deep maroon sofa and chair set for a total of $70? And the Duncan Fife oval coffee table for $20. Yes, I know, I do not need a sofa and chair. However, ever since I was a teen, the style and fabric of this sofa set has been my favorite. And anyhow, I can turn around and sell the lot for 5X what I paid for them.
Have taken 4 mornings off from working out to make sure this virus blows through me without turning into bronchitis. I think I am ready to workout tomorrow.
Peter is in Vancouver. He will be home Wednesday and then off to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for 4 days.
I have a buddhist meditation tonight. A dog play date for Fernando up at Miranda's this aft. Their new pup Fozzie is awfully cute, floppy and bigger than Fernando already and he's only 8 weeks!
Tuesday my hair appointment, Tabs dance and Wednesday the Kelowna Film society show foreign films each Wed. night at a local movie theatre. This week it is "Cairo Time" an Egyptian/Canadian film and I want to go! Thursday Theresa and Joop arrive from Toronto, Friday, Theresa's family Bday Party, Saturday class all day and the big "Spot the Shlock" wine party at Miranda and John's--the kids party will be held at my house. Next week is Mistaya's birthday party. She wants a Harry Potter theme and to invite about 16 friends over. Wow.
So that brings you up to date on my family's week.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Masculine Me

Yeeha, finished my presentation! This is my attempt at posing as a male Starbucks barista. I look creepy. However, the skit went off without a hitch and I am so happy to report that I got an A+ on both my last paper and on this presentation which was on Online Research Ethics. My friend and classmate Karen was kind enough to help me with the skit. It was rather brave of her as my rude male character asked her if she was menustrating as she was trying to order a tea to go. The skit pointed out how privacy issues differ between cultures and that in some communities in China it is acceptable to ask a woman if she's menustrating when ordering tea as it determines tea selection.
Last night we attended a pot luck at Mist's school for her social justice club. The dishes were amazing and multicultural and my carrot cake was well received. Mist and a few friends did a Harry Potter spoof skit for entertainment.
Today I attended class all day. Mist had a sleep over at Sarah's house last night and is finally home only to leave again very soon to babysit down the street. I am happy to be home, relaxing. I'd like to rent the movie "Orphan" because it is Canadian and got good reviews. However, Peter hates scary movies and doesn't want to watch it with me and I might just be too creeped out to watch it alone. I have a virus that has spread to my chest: night sweats and congestion. It could very well be a mild case of the swine flu as my vaccination was nearly ten days ago and I have some immunity but not full immunity yet. I will watch it and if I get a fever I will go on antibiotics as all viruses travel to my chest and give me bacterial bronchitis--my Achilles heel--inherited from my Irish grandfather--Edward Ambrose Hart-- who had to live in Arizona for half the year for his lungs.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Never Say Never

My darling Tabitha. She could hardly wait to get outside and rake the leaves--she's such an organizer and incredibly self-motivated. I must say, when I saw her dressed as Queen Elizabeth I--her entire demeanor radiated someone who could indeed, successfully rule the world!
Just got back from the dentist--a cleaning. My teeth look fab. I couldn't believe the dentist though, he tried to push a professional whitening on me--HELLO! If my teeth get any whiter they'll glow in the dark! Couldn't he tell I've been using Listerene whitening pre-rinse for months?
The twins were wonder girls. They sat quietly watching a movie on my computer--I'd brought a blanket for them to "snuggle when we get scared." They are so cute, making pre-movie snuggle/cuddle contracts before the movie starts to ensure they'll be cared for during any forth coming scary "parts."
Then a quick stop at The Bread CO. for Vienna buns for the big girl's school lunches.
Tonight Mist has dance, which takes up most of the evening. Thus my date night will be pushed to Thursday--supper out or a movie. Friday evening we attend a pot-luck for Mist's Social Justice Club at school--raising money for a school in Africa. I will make a carrot cake to bring. I make great carrot cake with delicious cream-cheese icing. One of my signature dishes since I was a wee teen.
It is officially fall, so I  will start skating or indoor water park Friday nights with the girls. I will also try out a meditation group at Kelowna Yoga House on Monday nights. I like to plan ahead because I can get very bored in the fall and winter. The dark nights make one want to curl up in bed each night early. But if I do that, I'll go out of my head with boredom after a week. SO, instead--to save my mind--I plan at least three evenings out a week throughout the dark/cold seasons.
 I really try to get out snowboarding/skiing on Sundays to keep my spirits high throughout the season. This year I want passes to Crystal so Mist, Tabs and I and even Pip can ski each Sunday. We'll all ski this year--snowboarding on hold. I could send Tabs and Mist up to Big White at night with their school--but call me cautious--I know ski hills at night. I don't want my kids up at Big White without Peter or I. It is a very busy, enormous place.  Not to mention a very high risk sport. No, they'll ski with me until they're older. I'd love to get into the skate type of cross-country skiing--I 'd love it. However, there is only so much time in a season. I'll be lucky to squeeze in any downhill.
Peter is going to be away nearly all next week. First he'll be in Vancouver, then he's flying to Saskatoon to visit his mom. He'll miss a big party at Miranda's house. I'll tell you more about the party when Miranda decides which kind she's going to have: gigantic open house or smaller mafia party. I'm game for either. Either way I believe there may be wine tasting involved. I have a very sensitive wine palate--I'm a super taster. I just love a good party.
I'm really starting to miss my fiction writing and painting. I'd start them up again, but I fear overload until this degree is done. But never say never.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Top pic- Tabs as Queen Elizabeth the I, Pip as Rapunzel (she refused the long wig) and Mist as Mary Poppins.
-Mist and friends ready to trick or treat.
-Tabs, Pip and friends.
-The pumpkin and squash carving.
A beautiful day in the valley today. Sunshine and warm temps. We went on a family hike along Mission creek.
Last night was very busy as all the trick or treaters descended upon our house by 6 PM. We ran out of treats--we only bought 140 this year. Next year I must remember 200 treats.
Saturday morning Miranda and I ran up the mountain I usually cycle up--challenging but great. Once you reach the top, the lake views are incredible. Unfortunately the road was littered with many dead salamander bodies--poor creatures unaware a new development is destroying their habitat.
I am excited about my career plans. Still PhD in English--creative dissertation but with a lovely twist. I will spend my days traveling the earth, volunteering in various ecological/humanitarian locations. I will write an autobiographical account of my travels or a novel inspired by each travel and paint a series based on my intimate experiences with fellow creatures. My "research" will be the book writing and paintings. These pursuits fulfill all my career dreams: travel, writing, painting and compassion for earth's creatures in need. Don't worry, I will only travel/volunteer, once every one-two years and take my darling children with me every chance I get.
I will do a little paper writing tonight and then watch the movie "The Brother's Bloom."

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