Sunday, April 26, 2009

A weekend of new beginnings

The first sunny weekend of the year. Imagine. We seemed to go from winter to summer in one week. Its a great feeling and I can feel how the sun rejuvenates a person.

Our weekend started with an evening with Michelle and Scott in their mostly empty apt, and we spent all evening, emptying paint cans, ladders, empty boxes, etc out of all the mostly empty rooms, so there would be room to move all the stuff in that belongs in those rooms. Before we left our place, I packed a little suitcase (with Mollie's help) for Jill's' house and Mollie sat patiently at the window. She knew exactly what I was doing as I put all her belongings in the bag, because each time I put something in it, I told her it was for Jill's house. She wasn't one bit upset when we left her home, and Jill said when she arrived after her grocery run, Mollie didn't even bark when she pulled in. She was waiting at the top of the steps next to her suitcase. Jill told her to get a "baby" to bring with her, and off she ran and brought back her yellow duck to add to the bag! Its so great to have Auntie Jill in the family. Shes' been Mollies second Mom since Mollie was born!

We were all pooped by the end of the night so it was a relatively early night. The morning bought the first of two beautiful days and we were on the road, with car and rental truck before 8am and we were in the Nish by 9:45am. Just so you know, when your kids tell you they are all packed....don't ever believe them. I fall for it almost every time.. but actually, it wasn't as bad as I first thought and nothing a trip to the grocery store couldn't solve.
Our little hitch hiker at the grocery store was a good luck omen and made us feel great about the day. 10 large banana boxes and a box of egg boxes later, and we were packing and cleaning while Terry, Scott and the Saint, Pat C., humped there way up and down a tall flight of steps hauling boxes, bags and large furniture items into the awaiting rental truck.

After a yummy lunch and another hour of cleaning, we were on the road again and back in Dartmouth by 5. We had the truck unloaded and all belongings deposited in there respective rooms and we were seated and eating supper by 7:30. Kim brought us some pasta salad, ham, strawberry and spinach salad and lemon pie... yum...

We hugged and kissed everyone and were off in the car by 9:00 for home and our own bed...

Sunday morning was a lazy start but before 10 we had friends at the door stealing our kayaks to try out the canal and I was off to church to teach a fun lesson to the kids about growing in God's love and we planted big fat Scarlett runner beans in plant pots decorated with stickers, crayons and yarn.

My afternoon was spent in silence... raking, kneeling, transplanting, weeding, discovering and relishing in nature. My family were in my thoughts today, while I gardened. My kids, my dad, Terry's mom and sisters, all in my thoughts... how lucky I am to have such a great family, whom I love so much. Being outside and in the sun, and quiet... makes me feel soooo good.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I have really let myself go.........

Well.... its been a tough winter this year. I have always been pretty good about exercising regularly, and being active. This winter though, I have been much more "lax" in that department and it probably played a part in the low energy days I experienced periodically though out the winter.

Denial is usually the first stage, you know, thinking the no exercise hasn't made a difference. My clothes still fit, just weirdly... I am only up a couple of pounds... nothing I can't take off in a week of no eating desserts. No one really tells you that you have "let yourself go"... until.......

Happy Secretaries Day

Yes, its that time of the year. I blogged about my Secretaries Day from last year. Please take a moment to go back in time (by clicking on the red words) and read my blog... it will save me a lot of time writing all about the "tradition" that takes place each year on this day.

Its been several years that these portraits are drawn by our little 5 and 6 year olds at my school, and although I really enjoy all the comments they write about us, I study the life size picture of me that they skillfully (and truthfully) draw with Primary precision. These little ones work hard on these life size portraits and take extreme pride as they are hung with packing tape to the walls outside our office (by their teacher, Ms Casey) for all the world to see. Below please notice what I looked like last year (2008). Special attention to my large shoulders. That was from all the weights I did with Jacquie after school in the computer lab. Also notice the narrow hips and long legs... these were from "Slim in 6 Weeks" exercise videos that we also did in the computer lab several days after work. Hard work but obviously these little primaries noticed!

2009..... yes... I have really let myself go.......
Proudly displayed on the wall in the main hallway, in my favorite green house dress with purple/blue leotards... is me.... my muscular shoulders have disappeared (and my theory is that they dropped down to my hips)... my arms have also gone missing... again, maybe under my green dress, my arms were added to my hips. You may think that I have one small foot and one large foot, but in reality, I have one foot pointing forward and one pointing inward. In last years portrait, I had a similar pose, but more "model" like with my foot pointing outward. On the upside... I have several fingers on each hand, which allow me to do much more work.. or they help balance the things I can't do very well now that I have much shorter arms. Please notice that the children paid great attention to my hair this year, as well as last year. They noticed that I am getting a few more blond highlights in my hair this year to help mask the extra gray hairs I gained over the winter. My eyes are a little off balance, but my ears match my eyes and so this is a good thing...

Now, during this process, Ms Casey asks the children about the things we do, or what they think about the secretaries, etc. She writes them down word for word on these posters and they are as precious to me as the picture itself. These comments are straight from the heart and are soo heartwarming, I would like to add these pictures each year to my resume so my next employer know what they are getting...

Some of the comments.... "gives us band-aids" Talks to us from the roof" "has bananas"... sadly, all true.

I am thinking this is my last year for these beautiful creations because Pat will have other plans for next year. I will miss them very much. I can't really let this blog go by without sharing some pictures of Pat, sort of as a thank you for all the lovely portraits over the years!!

Thanks Pat, my dear friend.... I love you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So.. Whats the problem anyway?

I have lots to blog about. Really, I do. Kids, pets, school, recipes, new magazines, fun egg shapes, bento boxes.. so... whats the problem.
I don't know. Its not procrastination.. really. Its not writers block, I write them in my head, all the time. Its not lazy, well, I don't know if it might not be that... Busy?... not really, well maybe... but enough is enough. I am jumping in with both feet...

April has turned out to be a very busy month for our family, with several events taking place, and some landing on the same day and the same weekend! Michelle and Scott got their apt rented in Dartmouth, getting ready for the big move at the end of April, just before Graduation.
Stephanie has applied for a position with the "JET" program, which is Japanese Exchange Teaching". She filled out many forms, letters of reference, medical tests, gained an interview, flew to Ottawa for this interview, and then she waited.... all the month the March, and then April.. all over Easter and finally, the day she got home from Easter here, she received a letter saying that she is on the "alternate" list, which is the list they will go to when someone cancelled on their contract. .... more waiting for Stephanie. Curling geared up for Terry and I, both having a weekend of bonspiels, one before Easter, and one after Easter... Terry's 50th birthday... ugh...

So, let me tell you about Terry's birthday. As you recall, I had, what I would call, a "non" quiet birthday, where things were little surprises were popping up all the time, and around each corner. Terry isn't really a "celebration" kind of guy and therefore, I steered away from all kinds of things that I could of done. You know, the funny picture in the Newspaper, the funny posters of him at his work place, lawn decorations, etc. Instead, we planned a family supper in Halifax at Jack Astors, our favorite restaurant in the city. Now, something so simple was not that easy to arrange, tell you the truth. the problem was, my ladies bonspiel was that weekend and I look forward to curling with my old friends in this bonspiel all year long. Curling on Fridaynight, and again on Saturday was not the problem really.. but it was how the games landed, according to whether we won or lost. We had to leave Greenwood around 5 to get to the restaurant for 7. Not a problem... until we lost a game, won a game, won a game.. and that landed us in the 4:30pm game... ugh. After much thinking, Terry left for Michelle and Scott's new apt in the afternoon, to help with painting and stripping wallpaper. I played my game and hoped to win so I didn't have to curl until 10 the next morning... sure enough.. we won, finishing early and I jumped in the car, made good time to the city, only to get lost in Dartmouth Crossing and was delayed an extra 10 minutes, getting in the a wrong lane and ending back out onto the highway!!!!!!
When I arrived at the Restaurant, the whole family was seated with Elvis Presley!!! We loved having this big corner table a few years ago when Michelle turned 16, and it was just dumb luck we got to sit here again. Its a big table that sits tons, and its sort of quietly away from all the noise of the restaurant, as well as perfectly shaped table that allows everyone to see and hear each other without leaning and hollering. Have two walls FULL of Elvis parafinalia is just bonus. Hilarious to look at, and funny to talk about. My mom was a huge fan of Elvis, and although I know the words to almost all his music, and have watched all the movies, I wouldn't consider myself a fan.
It was a perfect celebration with family and friends with lots of laughter and stories, great food and then a quick trip back to the kids empty apt for ice cream cake, gift opening and the grand tour of the apt. Golfing and Dr. Seuss was the theme for his gifts this year, which was perfect since he loves both of these things.
Happy Birthday, my friend.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Hunt 2009

Ok, so two years ago, I made the statement that it was the LAST hunt... kids were getting too big, too hard to make a fun hunt... to far to go... etc. Then last year, well, was our first year to have Sean with us... and Terry really wanted to do a GPS hunt for Sean! The kids have their own car... another first, for them to use their own car.... but for sure.. the last hunt!

This March Break, I had the pleasure of my little niece for few days, and in the conversations that transpire was me asking, "What do you do on Easter Morning?" because its been many many years since we have had a regular Easter morning. Because of our big black dog with excellent "hunting" skills, we have had to be way more inventive than hiding eggs around the house. Caleigh described a traditional morning at her house, and then she thought about how things might have to change at her house now that they have their own big black "Bella" with a great nose for treats. We talked about all kinds of differents hunts that were possible, and then the birth of another Peters Non Traditional hunt was born right then. Caleigh and I planned out some fun locations within the house, with some hard clues for finding .. another clue...

We spend a few days coming up with locations in the house to hide the clues and funny, short two to three word clues.

Some of our clues.... "up & down, zig zag too", "treat bin, if your crazy", Leave of Copper, "toys of joy, empty hearted".... "Christmas Blooms".

We bought some treats for the big basket and the plan was sealed.

After coffe, a few showers and much discussion.....The hunt begins...

Oh, man ... "Pottery, from afar!?" Mom has pottery all over the house... geesh!"Leaves of Copper" many plants are in this house! Prinkly Plastic Plants....."Peter David, Your so Qute"...."Picture Perfect, smartiepants"...."Honey Dijon, Hot & Sweet"......The last clue was "Apples anyone?" and while three of the 4 hunters immediately starting looking for Apple artwork, or fridge fruit drawers.... Scott knew exactly where to go.... To the garage for the apple bin that holds our winter apples. The treasure.... a big basket of treats to share... movies, PSP games, summer bags, socks, kinder eggs, Tolberone, Cadbury eggs and picture frames.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Perogies

Well, I have so many things to blog about..... but today... we make perogies.

We were suppose to go to Keji with a bunch of friends for a hike and of course food... but rain and pending "Heavy Snow fall Warning"... sort of took the fun out of that! Last night, after Jill and I cancelled our Keji trip, I was in a dilemma on what we should do on Easter Saturday. The kids, remember years gone by, suggested making donair meat, lets make cabbage rolls, and perogies, and lets make flatyres too... ugh... so much standing.... blah. So, I agreed to perogies, donair meat and cabbage rolls!

The big difference this year is the kids were way more interested in actually making the stuff. They got their hands dirty, once I showed them the technique!!!

First... donair meat... 5 lbs (but after its cooked.. 4lbs of it) Its an old recipe from Tom, and we made it all the time, years ago, but we really haven't made it in ages... so it was time for Scott to learn how to make it.

Into the oven for 2.5 hours on a slow roast...

Next.... perogies...
Terry and I have been making perogies since we were teenagers. Neither of us are Ukrainian but we have had the pleasure of growing up in a mosaic neighbourhood, which allowed us to try all kinds of nationalities of food.. and we learned how to make it all too (through Terry's mom, who is an amazing cook!)

Our kids have been making perogies since they were little too, and we have bought every type of "contraption" to help them with making them, but in the end, we all elect to use our hands and pinch the ends with our fingers....

Scott and Michelle learned how to make and knead the dough......then, Michelle took over from me in the rolling out department (my least favorite part) and then Stephanie, Scott and Sean created perogies.. Terry's usual job, is the boiling part, and the odd time Stephanie's job is the boiling person.

130 perogies later, we have enough for everyone to take some home with them, if they make it to Monday!

Cabbage rolls tomorrow morning......

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How easy was that!

No ....not another cat blog. Sorry, but I have to blog this one...

While we were away this weekend, we left our little neighbour in charge of letting Pika in and out of the house, and feeding him breakfast and supper. I left her pay on the counter so I wouldn't forget to give it to her after the weekend (its happened!).
We got home from Halifax around 8 pm on Sunday, and as I made my way to the house, I could here Pika warhooping from somewhere. I looked in all the windows of the house and no orange boy. As I passed the door to our garage, it was really obvious that was where he was. When I opened it, he made a beeline for the house. umm.....
Our cat babysitter's dad often often borrows stuff from the garage, so I figured he locked Pika in there by accident sometime that day. When we went into the house, he was STARVING.. which is actually normal, so I opened the can of food and fed him. I noticed that the babysitting money was gone... but the cat food we left on the counter was there ...un opened... ummm
Then, I could smell it... varsol. Pika's back end had a strong smell of varsol, his paws, butt and tail. When Terry came in, we both had a mini panic, because this stuff is soooo toxic for cats, that we dropped everything, scooped Pika up and proceeded to soap and wash his paws and tail. Well, that didn't go over so well, and both Terry and I ended the game after he took a large slice out of Terry arm. We had to hoist him under the water again to get the soap off his feet... and man, that was like a horror movie involving a married couple trying to wallpaper. You know, they say you should never wall paper with your mate.... try not to bath a cat with your mate either. We yelled at each other more than the cat, for heaven's sake!!!!
Pika pranced around shaking his feet, and stinking of varsol. He knew enough not to bath, thank heavens, but his feet were very sore. I think the varsol burned. He slept with us all night, after a few rounds of running outside and I woke up a million times to make sure he wasn't bathing.
He sleep right beside my shoulder, right where Sonny slept for months before he died. I guess you want to be beside your mommy when your sore or sick, even as a cat.
The next morning was a storm day, because of the "rain", hee hee, and this gave me the opportunity to call the vet's office at 8 am (the second they opened) and beg for them to bath Pika for me. The young lady put me on hold and then came back to me about 3 minutes later and said that the two vet techs would attempt it for me. Bring him in right away.
After a frantic search for his carrier (which I then realized, I gave to Michelle) I found the kitten carrier (Pink, no less) and stuffed my big orange unceremoniously into the carrier and off we went. The girls were sweet, and said they would get to it right after 9am. I assured them that even if they could just wash the back half of him, I would be so appreciative. they said they would call when he was ready.
when I didn't get a call, I figured things didn't go well. I called at lunch time and they said he was all bathed but they couldn't blow him dry, cause he didn't like it... oh geesh! But they said I could pick him up at 3.
At 3, I went in.. paid the bill and they dragged out the ugly pink carrier. I made excuses on why I was using such a small carrier and they didn't really care. The carrier smelled of varsol... and I was a little worried. We got home, with Pika not making a sound (unusual, really for a cat in the car) but we were home in 5 minutes. I carried him in, and opened the cage, and there before me was the softest, girly smelling, clean cat I have ever met. He was totally fluffy, no mats, no tangles and smelling like babies, powder, flowers and cookies. Oh my. His nails were like so short I couldn't find them. He was mad. He immediately went outside for a few minutes, and then came in, I fed him and then he settled down. Oh my, soooooo worth the money to get this boy bathed. They got out mats on his belly, and chest and all those winter tangles that take me all spring to get out!!!! I called the vets office and thanked them again.
We still don't quite know what happened on the weekend, but we know that Pika didn't eat, and he knocked over the varsol on Terry's workbench.