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Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year Refiguring


So happy all my babies are home with their momma again. Mist and Tabs had a wonderful time and I thank Auntie T for  being Uber-Auntie and providing them with an amazing holiday and Uncle John for driving the crew through the Blueberry Pass to visit Auntie.
These crafts above were made by Tabs with supplies from Gran: penguins, mice and cardinals.
 Today, while I was a Chapters, Pip redecorated the living room adding lovely and inspiring twists to displaying mundane objects: coasters placed in unusual places at odd angels on coffee and side tables; dog toys hanging precariously from furniture; sofa pillows displayed on top of sofa backs; dog bed placed standing on its side against piano; drapes pulled out into the room and draped on furniture. She toured me around the room proudly, pointing out all the fine details.
Tonight will be an adventure. Peter and the gals off to a party while boring mom continues to recuperate. I am prepared for my dull day with a movie and new Vogue magazine. I almost purchased the Dalai Lama's sequel to his "Guide to Happiness" but I couldn't bring myself to purchase any book. My mind is all over the place. It actually made me realize that I have been too restless to read books for months.
So, while I am boring in my convalescence, I have decided to get back to basics and figure out what has gone astray with my spiritual quest. I haven't meditated in ages, can't read for enjoyment etc.
Life and love are oddities. Just when you think you've got a mandala for navigating them, you realize you are so off course your mandala isn't even touching you!
I also believe that motherhood and "marriage" combined are exhausting pursuits in the modern world and that trying to keep the family going takes up all a woman's energy and she is left confused and exhausted!
That's what New Year's is for... refiguring, new mandalas.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Make Way for the Man Pad


These are the girls new rooms that we finally finished. They are a result of moving all girls onto the main floor and turning Mist's room into Peter's new "man pad." The carpets will be ripped out and replaced with hard wood later this month when I feel up to having the house turned upside down again!
The big girls arrive home today from Nelson. It will be good to have them home again. Pip has had a lovely time at a sleepover at Atemis' and swimming. She has decided she'd like to take swimming lessons again. So it looks like she may take swimming and or skating in the new year. Yes, one more event to play escort/taxi driver. Or perhaps Artemis' new nanny will take them.
New Year's party at Stan and Alberta's.
Once I am fully recovered I plan to ski with my gals again.  And skating on the pond down the hill is amazingly good and challenging fun! I adore sports probably because I find them all challenging. Physically I'm very coordinated but mentally I fight instinct. That estrogen induced fear that makes one want to throw off the snow board and sit on the hill and weep. Although I'd love to tackle all sorts with complete abandon, I cannot. Mastering the art of controlling my natural fear takes up a lot of my mental energy!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Bah Humbug



Me making fondue on Christmas Eve--and no I don't eat Wonderbread--but it is the only kind of toast the  children will eat!  And the steamed vegetables for the fondue on our new gold table cloth that  Robert (Peter's friend) just brought us back from China.
My two oldest girls are in Nelson at Auntie T's. Pippi is playing with Artemis and the two-some will have a sleepover tonight at Miranda's when she returns from yoga.
I am still fighting that odd bug. Nausea, stomach pain and fever. I am not bedridden today but still feel yuck as the nausea and cramp come and go all day. I had a wonderful break later this afternoon from it all only to have it return now. Boo-hoo.
If I perk-up, perhaps Peter and I will go out this evening while Pip is at Aunties. Unfortunately the movie I want to see doesn't start until 9:20 and I have no appetite. Normally I could handle the late show but tonight may be a stretch.
Because of this unusual bug I have been quite boring over the holidays--a homebody.
Perhaps if I spent one day in bed I'd get better all at once. That might be too boring and depressing and may make things worse. Those hours at the hospital were horrible enough---I hate being in hospitals, I always feel panicked.
My girls are having the time of their lives though, hanging out in Nelson and Pip and Artemis getting spoiled at home. Peter is catching up on work and relaxing a bit.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Eve Skate



We had a relatively quiet Christmas Eve. Miranda, John and girls came over for a Swiss fondue (steamed veggies and baget) and games. Peter made his first batch of carmel squares and they were delectable. Christmas Day we went for another skate followed by a delicious Greek-inspired Christmas dinner at M & J's with a Swiss family and two Chinese PhD students from Beijing.
Mist, Tabs and Nemi are in Nelson with John visiting Auntie T's family and skiing. Peter and I and Pip are baching it until Wednesday as are Miranda and Artemis.
Miranda just picked up Pip. She is taking Pip and Artemis to "The Frog Prince" movie. Pip was so excited and is at the theatre as I write this.
A little unwell the past week. Upper abdominal pain and fever. Spent far too many hours in emergency to find out (to my relief) I am perfectly healthy. The fever must have been an intestinal virus and the pain most likely a ripped muscle from moving furniture all month. All the chocolate can't be helping either!
Happy tomorrow is Monday-a fresh start to the next phase of the holidays. I will get back to my work outs and planning how to refresh my personal mandala. I think a meditation class and acting class or skating lessons are in order and perhaps Wednesdays at Big White for "ladies day" skiing. I hate that title, it sounds almost insulting. So from now on I will rename it Women's Wild Wednesdays at Big White.
Peter purchased a tripod on boxing day for my camera. I am so excited to start tramping through the wilderness to photograph wild life and use my photos for my paintings.
Reading Jack London's biography--very inspiring. I share his sense of adventure, love of writing and story and his physicality--craving physical adventure challenges not just mental ones.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Wedding


The lovely bride and groom. Their outfits were unusual but tres elegant.
I cannot sleep. Well, the truth is that I could sleep. But I am a little stressed so I got up to check out the computer. It's a role reversal (usually this is Peter behavior). Even Fernando is asleep and snoring his little black pug snores.
I really should go back to bed. I am stressed. I've gad a cramp in my upper right side for about a week and just now I'm stressed over it.
Of course the past week has been stressful--painting the kid's bedrooms, and switching them around. That entailed completely gutting all three bedrooms and starting from scratch and dismantling all furniture, moving it out and in again. The rooms are nearly complete and the girls seem to love the new arrangement.
I should go back to bed so I can get up, go grocery shopping, make carmel squares, go skating on the pond and then prepare Christmas Eve fondue party for my family and Miranda's.
I had the greatest skate ever yesterday on Doe-Doe pond. We had the huge pond to ourselves (Miranda and all our girls).
No snow but cool temps (-7 C yesterday's high).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dinner Party


Dinner party last night at Miranda and John's. A lot of hallelujas going on--we're a dramatic and expressive family! Miranda made the best pizzas: broccoli/cheese curry, greek fig and cheese, and artichoke / mushroom and garlic. No tomato sauce, just olive oil, cheeses and spices. Mom made homemade marshmallows dipped in toasted coconut and chocolate--YUM! I'm not a big marshmallow fan but homemade ones are so good. This weekend Peter and I are painting the girls bedrooms. Another weekend of work. Fernando and Fozzy are having a play date in the back yard--it is dark now so perhaps I need to bring the boys in. They are so in love and play non stop together. When fernando sees Fozz he lets out endless, passionate growls of ecstasy.
The coyotes in the forests are getting so bold. One barked and yipped at Miranda and I while we were running pre-dawn and yesterday one yipped behind Fernando and I (pre-dawn) as we ran.
The weather is mild--snow is almost gone. Typical freeze/thaw of the Okanagan.
Sat in on M and J's first "Alice" nanny interview. A hard job. How to sort the nutters from the Mary Poppins?

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

We Wish You a Merry Christmas



This is a crazy time of year. Each child has numerous concerts and events to attend. I just got back from Sandalwoods with Tabi. Her choir performed at a retirement residence. I was impressed. The main building was clean, and elegant. I've been in many senior residences and however clean, organized and posh they attempt to be, they always leave me feeling depressed. I can spot the cheap fabric, the outdated colour themes in the rooms--but not Sandalwood. It was elegant and run like a top notch hotel. So all you seniors out there looking for an apartment or condo complex--I recommend it. Plus it is located on a creek with a wild bird pond and views of orchards and mountains. Ya, I've reserved my spot (lol).
BTW, Tabs choir sang beautifully. I could have listened to them all day. Little Tabs sings with passion.
And speaking of choirs, Pip sang her little heart at her preschool Christmas performance. They kids were so cute and everyone sang and did the actions to the songs. Artemis especially enjoyed the singing and continued on after the choir was finished--finishing all the verses she knew! Pip is at Aunties right now as I was with Tab's choir and now I am off to drive them to piano. One does get exhausted! And Mist has a friends play to attend tonight after piano as well.
I am feeling considerably better as yesterday I was home ill with some sort of intestinal virus that left me weak, nauseous and with an ache under my right rib. The ache is slightly better and all my other symptoms are gone. Poor Miranda is unable to move because her lower back joints are on the fritz. It seems everyone is exhausted this week! And M's nanny is returning to England tomorrow. So it is back to the Nanny drawing board for M & J. I have suggested they look for a mature caregiver/light housekeeper aka "Alice" from the Brady Bunch or Magda from Sex in the City.
My mom and Dad come tomorrow for one night before they leave for holidays up to N. BC. Peter and I will paint the girls bedrooms all weekend. Mist and Tabs have Bday parties of friends to attend. I hope to be finished by Sunday night so the girls and I can celebrate by seeing "The Christmas Carol" for fun. And next week I want quiet neighborhood fun and family fun as I am tired of running around!
It is warm here again. All the snow is melting and I fear the pond will melt before I can skate on it again. I managed to buy Mist and Tabs new skates so now we are finally ready! Still need a pair for Pip but I am not too worried as she is only 3 and has plenty of time to learn. I actually think 5 is the right age to learn to skate.
Tree is up and smells heavenly yet it is bare as no one has a spare moment to decorate it yet! Perhaps later tonight.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Music for Minds


Terrific Tabitha.
Today she sings with her choir at the mall at noon. Pip and I will attend.
Snow today! This morning I trotted out to run with Fernando through the seep snow. All was fine except the sidewalks were not plowed and the snow too deep to run through in my shoes as my feet freeze up too much and yet the road had salt on it which burns Nando's paws. We survived, cutting our forest run out as the snow was simply too deep.  Then I shoveled the driveway--all this before dawn. Fernando didn't seem like himself this morning--no enthusiasm. Sure enough, diarrhea as soon as we got home. He snuck into the garbage in the garage last night and ate some ancient roast beef--I could not pry it from his jaws and had to leave so I let him have it. Mistake. Today I am keeping him in his kennel run inside to recoup and save me the chore of massive cleanups.
Yesterday I took the girls skating on the pond down the street. It is am amazing pond, surrounded by mountains. SOmeone had shoveled a path all around the circumfrence. It was a most amazing place to be. The down side was that Pip tantrumed--her helmet and skates were too tight and hurt (NOT). Mist's skates were also too tight even though she'd skated in them the day before. At least Tabs, Mick (Tabs friend) and I managed a quick skate while the complainers waited in the van.
Last night I took the gals out to buy new skates and helmets but Pip fell asleep in the van and Mist couldn't find her size. However, the Tabs lucked out and purchased new hockey skates and a helmet. The helmet said it fit 2-five year olds! Yet it fit Tabs fine. Man, just how big are some kids heads???
Mist has decided she wants to try figure skating in the new year. I'll see if I can find her a class. I've become more rigid about their piano practice time: 1/2 h each week day no matter what. They are both very talented and musically gifted so I believe if nothing else, I can influence their musical abilities. They will be accomplished whether they like it on not! Dance is rather disappointing because you either go the professional ballerina route with 2 h lessons/week and exams or are out of the loop. And seriously, I don't want my girls to be professional dancers--they make no money even when they're at the top of their game.  I am disappointed in the Canadian School of Ballet. Their classes are weak unless you prescribe to the professional route. Yet, the girls refuse switch schools. So far I have listened to them. But next year--I may switch them anyway.
Music is different, you can become accomplished without such fierce competition. Mist really impresses me. Because she's had experience playing so many different instruments, she often downloads music off the internet and rewrites it for the piano to try out.
As for me? My thirst for fun and adventure may lead me to take an improv class in the new year. I love being on stage: singing, dancing, acting. I think it would be a fun place to go each week. And no home work!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bird's Eye Maple Table


This is the table and chair set I found down the street last week with a sign on it "Free." I recovered the chairs and purchased new bolts for the legs and voila--a treasure--solid maple, Art Deco table and chairs.
It is snowing. Tonight a break from working on the house--either skating on the pond down the street or a  hike in the snow or a movie out with Peter. We accomplished a significant amount of work so far. The rooms are ready for painting next weekend.
The girls have been busy with their cousins all day. Nem and Tabs had a sleep over at Auntie's last night. Mist went skating on the pond all ready today with her friend Maddi.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Piano at the Mall


Photos of our family last night at Mist and Tabs' Christmas concert at the mall. The girls played beautifully. Both Mist and Tabs did one duet with their teacher, Marla. Mist's friend Lena came and Juliet (who did her own thing at the mall).
A very busy chore day: tape bedrooms for painting, order hardwood flooring, take old furniture etc to dump, drop off excess furniture etc at Bibles for Missions and Miranda's (her German Phd candidate and his family need things).
Recovered new dining rm chairs yesterday and zenned my kitchen (blue glass collection in storage).
Looks like MOnday afternoon will be family skating time. The rink should be empty from 3-5. I'll pick the gals up from school. Skiing/boarding will wait a few more weekends as I have too many house renos to do: painting rooms etc.
Tried to do an ethics review tutorial but the site refused to let me on it! SO frustrating and time waiting! Will complete all that "work" stuff next week while the girls are still in school.
Pip is so amazingly adorable: last night during the concert she looked at me with concerned eyes and said, "Mom, my tummy hurts. When I have my baby?" I couldn't believe it! She thought she was in labour!
She'd been watching a DVD (with her sisters) about a woman who went into labour the night before (Full House--Becky gives birth to twins).
She has taken to reading me books. She loves it and after she finishes she always asks, "want me to read this one again mom?" I always say yes and she obliges about four-six times!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Crawly Bally Mama


Mist at her band concert with Monty (her base clarinet).
Ok, NO more Ms. Crawly Bally. Yes, I am getting into hyberbation/avoidance (crawl into a ball) mode. I have only a little school work to do this month but it is all boring. So I just want to hybernate and avoid it all. For some reason, I am unable to say "screw you" boring work and dive into fun work (i.e. my fiction writing or painting). It seems I must defeat the beast first(boring work), before my brain will allow me to move on.
So, here's my morning to attempt some of it....ahhhh!
I do so hope I can rise into Party Girl mode tonight and have fun at the Grad social. Usually I can.
Cold this early morning, running Paul's Tomb. The wind was icy. Fernando was fine except the salt on the roads hurt his feet. Hence, I'll be sticking to forest runs in the winter.
I'm enjoying Scissor Sister's "Take Your Mama." I like to sing it to myself--you know, I'm the mama and I'm taking myself out for a wild and fun night!
Tomorrow night the girls play piano at the mall for a Christmas performance. Starbucks' hot chocolates all around afterward!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Frozen Desert


Pip and I.
I spent a few hours this morning Christmas shopping for my darling girls while Pip was at preschool. I took Juliette (Miranda's new nanny from Bristol England) so she could explore the mall. It is  an unusual cold snap in Kelowna, -17 oC. We have no snow and bright sunshine yet bitterly cold temps from an arctic front. It is too bad about the no snow as Crystal Ski hill is dry. I am waiting for them to get snow and open because it is so much closer and less expensive than Big White.
Hopefully the whether returns to normal (+1 oC), as poor Fernando couldn't do our run this morning. I ran with him for about 10 minutes and then had to bring him home because he kept trying to hop on three paws. I headed out alone and was fine except my toes started to freeze after about 15 min. I willed the blood to pump into them and after a few minutes they were warm. I have never experienced such a cold snap in Kelowna like this one. We sometimes get one or two nights that dip this low in January but never December!
Tonight we have Tabi's dance and then Mist's band concert. Thursday is the Grad/faculty Christmas social at the campus pub. I am looking forward to it as Peter, Miranda, John, Miranda's PhD candidate Brian (he's great fun) and perhaps a few friends of mine from class will be attending.
Big trips for this new year all still pending--there are a few in the cards for me (I hope at least one comes to fruition!): Malaysia, Tibet, Mayan Riviera.
BTW, Fantastic Mr. Fox was very cute and clever--just like a fox. Low tech stop-action with witty dialogue.
I loved the scene where the fox saluted the wolf with his fist in the air and the wolf returned the fist.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Zenning for Freaks


Peter and I before the Christmas UBC party in our rather messy, 50's inspired family room. The mess is from the twins and their endless fort building that involves removing all cushions from the furniture and piling them on the floor.
The party was the best one I've attended since I started going three years ago. This one had dancing, kareokee and various dancing lessons: Hawaiian, Bollywood, Square etc. I love to dance and I love to sing so I was very happy. Also, my friend from class, Anne-Marie, was there which made it more fun.
Bikram's this AM was exhausting considering I had partied last night. But I made it. There are a few poses which are hard on me--they can cause dizziness, nausea etc. I have learned not to push myself during those poses (the camel, the rabbit) and I am able to enjoy the class more.
I helped with Tabi's class hot lunch today. Some dad (he lives up the street from me) was such a control freak! He refused to let me see the class list because "he had this class"--the guy was clueless as to how to work as a team. No matter how many parents show up to help the class, we all have to cooperate and work as a team. Not him. He was so irritated by my presence that he scrambled to find a new class to take over so he could be Mr. Lunch-Guy :P
This weekend it is ZENNING the house yet again. I must down size and get rid of tons of stuff--we have simply too much and I cannot keep the house karma flowing in a positive way unless I simplify.
The girls are all well--Mist has recovered from her teeth extractions. This weekend the girls and I are going to "Fantastic Mr. Fox." Aside from that I plan on a good mountain run, hike and skating on Sunday. Here's to a good weekend!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Teeth Pulling Vodka Thieves


Tabi in her "glasses" without lenses that she likes to wear to school. And Tabi today at her music concert at school. I spent the morning at the oral surgeon where Mist had 3 baby teeth extracted. She is home with some movies and a Starbucks Cream Brule frapaccino (sp?)
 I embarrassed myself at the surgeon--asking him if he remembered some of the stories I'd heard about him from my sister Theresa--back in the days when he was an undergraduate at the U of S. Mist dared me to ask him about the "vodka" story--and you know me--I'm not afraid of dares. So I asked him if he remembered drinking my sister's vodka bottle she was saving and replacing it with water--he didn't! And of course he was totally taken a back. He is now a distinguished, dental surgeon...those days aren't even on his memory radar. He didn't say this, of course, but man, he wasn't any fun. Nice enough of course, a very nice, serious doctor--but not one who was ever young and carefree! Misty wanted me to ask if he remembered his old college nick name "Wham" but I refused--I might give the guy a cardiac arrest at that one! Oh well, if somehow I've triggered a memory that makes him think--I'll feel like it was worth it. No one needs to turn all serious and boring.
Tonight the UBCO ED Christmas party. I am going Calvin Klein this year.
My December will be Christmas shopping(I am horrible--I keep finding cool stuff for myself!), Zenning my girls rooms and giving away tons of toys and clothing. And starting on my Ethics Review application and writing a proposal for a paper to present at a conference this winter.
That is it.
My focus is to apply for my PhD next fall at U of C. I am absolutely dying to get back to writing fiction and painting. I am really wanting to do both right now. I have a plan that really inspires me--but no time. Life is a constant struggle. I want MONEY. Unless a job I'd love comes up before then, I'll keep going for the PhD. But hey, I will keep checking for jobs I'd love.
I am a little bit freaked this season. Not motivated to do what is before me. I just want to write and paint. All else seems to just get in my way!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Wonderful World of Pippi



Pippi on her way to preschool this morning. She loves to ride Odo whose "real" name is Buddy according to Pip. Odo was made by my mom for my sister Miranda when she was about Pip's age. I told Pip to make Odo gallop or we'd be late for school. She said, "I tired mom. That why him not gallop." She also said, "Odo a lovely horse, isn't him mom?" As you can probably understand, my little Pip is the dearest little sunshine and so precious I hate to leave her at preschool and miss any of her preciousness.

Oh, what a day yesterday was...what a day. The morning greeted me with the Fernando school bus fiasco,the afternoon with the twins deciding to pick nearly every leaf off of my umbrella tree to decorate their sofa fort (I am praying the tree pulls though despite its nakedness) and then the evening found me shaking uncontrollably in an adrenalin panic. The story begins with Mistaya's very busy evening: after school she went to a social justice meeting at a friends house. Peter picked her up on the way home from work and she had supper with us and announced she had to be at the Rec Centre by 7 for a meeting to train to be a Santa's Elf volunteer for a Kid's Christmas craft event happening at the Rec Centre on Sunday. The entire family drove her down, and we planned to have a nice DQ treat while she was at the meeting and then go back and pick her up with a sundae to-go for her. All went well, except she insisted I take her coat with me and bring it when I picked her up. However when it was time to pick her up and take her home, Peter went in to retrieve her. She and he came out saying she was staying an extra hour to try out the gym at the Rec Centre with a few friends, her friend's mom would pick them up and drive her home at 8:45 (and she'd need $3 for the gym). I felt confused but since Peter seemed to have already said yes, I agreed and gave her $3. We left. I felt uneasy, she didn't have a coat, she was wearing only short sleeves and it is winter! Also, how did I know her friend's mom had agreed to all this? I waited at home until 9:15--no Mistaya. How had I been pressured into agreeing to this? I didn't even know for sure who exactly the three friends (she decided to stay with) were for sure & Mist had no winter coat! I called one of Mist's friends to get other friends' phone numbers. Then I called one of her girl friends mothers who was supposed to be at the gym with Mist. The mom said no, her daughter wasn't home yet either and that she was worried. That did it. My worries catapulted into adrenalin overdrive. I tried calling the mom's number who was supposed to pick them up--no answer. I got in the van to drive to the Rec Centre myself--telling Peter to call my cell if she came home. I drove down the street and realized I was shaking so badly that I was going to throw-up. I drove to Miranda's and asked if either she or John could drive down with me as I felt too sick to drive. Poor M and J were in their jammies but Miranda joined me and drove me down to the Centre. I got their at about 9:40 PM. The security guard said they were closed. I asked him about the girls--had he seen three little 13 year old girls? Yes, he had. Another worker joined us to say they were hanging around waiting for a ride that never came so one had asked to use the phone to call her mom. Then the 3 girls reportedly left through the front doors at about 9:30.  We raced home, I yelled into our house, "Is Mistaya home yet?" Peter said no, but she'd called from a gas station and was on her way with her friend's mom--the mom had arrived late to pick them up. I waited in the drive way with Miranda. She finally arrived home at 10 PM. I am still a mess because of this. I have decided no school night activities. And no more running all over the city with her girl friends--acting 16--when she's only just turned 13! I've decided if they want to go to the mall etc. I want an adult with them--at least in the mall having coffee while the girls do their own thing.
That is my adrenalin rant. Even writing this, my adrenalin shakes have returned. It's just me--my genetics are weird, whenever I'm super stressed or sick I shake.

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