Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why I Love Spring

Spring is my most favourite season of the year. It's the rebirth season celebrated around the world.

We celebrated Nowrooz with my Iranian neighbours across the street at the beginning of spring. Nowrooz essentially means rebirth. Their celebration was quite extravagant. In Japan, they celebrate the cherry blossom trees in a big way.

Here are some of the things I love about Spring.

All the new flowers blooming brightly in my garden, new buds popping up through the earth. (I have a black thumb; not sure where they came from)

Sunny crisp mornings wearing my sunglasses pulled from the back of a drawer and a coffee in my hand. (Sunglasses scratched and/or broken from being squished in the back of a drawer all year)

The cherry blossom trees with their pretty pink blossoms. (Oh so pretty...atchooooo, damn allergies)

Digging out my lightweight articles of clothing that have been hidden since the previous summer. (Crap, half of them don't fit)

Flip flops. (Yikes, momma needs a pedicure)

The birds outside my bedroom window tweeting away in their pretty language. (At 4 am in the morning, shut the hell up already)

Walks along the seawall because it's not too cold to do so in Spring. (Ahh the West Van seawall is very nice)

Freshly rained-on pavement. (Everyday because it rains everyday)

The first camping trip on the May long weekend. (Yay for camping. More about this year's adventure here)

Road hockey (8 year old said this one)

Emergence of the neighbourhood bears looking for garbage cans left out (12 year old said that one - we get about one every two weeks)

What do you like about Spring?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ode to the toilet paper roll

Oh toilet paper roll, why do you sit there?

Where are you travelling to?

All alone on the bus, perched up high on a "This section is reserved for elderly or the handicapped" fold up seat, I wonder who put you there and why.

Does that human miss you?

Are you lonely up there on the seat. Do you get motion sickness when the bus lurches forward and back, side to side?

Why did you come from downtown and why are you heading to North Van?

Will you be able to reach the bell pull string when you want to get off at your stop?

Where exactly is your stop?

I wonder if you're one ply or two and if you only need 4 squares of you instead of 8 - are you absorbent?

I want to take your picture but I think it would look kind of strange...me on the bus across from you and a camera, what would people think of me. So I take a picture with my memory.

I get off at my stop and you stay on the bus. Will you be okay up there on your seat?

Will you get lonely when the bus empties of humans?

Goodbye toilet paper roll, hope you stay safe.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I never was, but that's okay, and I'm content

I never was the popular kid in school, or through out most of my life for that matter. But that's okay. I've carved out my place now and I'm content with it. I wouldn't change it for the world.

I never was the smartest kid in school, or growing up. But I managed to figure out how to get through things my way (okay, so my way might be strange and archaic), but that's okay, I'm fine with that and I get by.

I never was the prettiest kid growing up. Skinny, under bite (that surgery corrected), braces, and acne. I just wanted to fit in but I didn't. But that's okay now. I've grown into myself and when I look into the mirror I like what I see. Okay so the hair is frizzy and sometimes looks messy but that's not my fault. I live in Vancouver so moisture is the enemy.

I never was a boy magnet growing up. All I wanted was my crushes to notice me not my dorkiness. I'd hurt everyday knowing how my crushes thought I was weird (flat as a board and never been nailed). But that's okay. I've scored my Tom Cruise look alike now. We made two good looking kids, so it's all good. Ha, take that crushes. Snooze you loose. Boom!

I was bullied in Elementary and Highschool. Little did I know my mom knew about it and reported it to the school. The teachers were secretly looking out for me and I had no idea. God bless her for that. And I'll never forget my friend sneaking me out side doors in Highschool to avoid a girl who wanted to beat me up after school. It worked. Thank you!.

I never was confident  - was always an extremely shy and introverted person growing up. Being around people terrified me. It still does to be honest. I'm only comfortable around people who I feel close to. Put me in a room with strangers and expect me to socialize - not going to happen. That's fine with me, other people can be the socializers.

This all brings me to today. Heading towards my 40's I finally feel comfortable with me. I feel pretty most of the time (on the good hair days, damn you rain). I don't care if my jokes don't get laughed at. I know I look younger than 39 (or so I've been told). I know I look great after having two kids - I've kept my small'ish shape.

I know I'm good at my job because of the way I think things through (my brain is strange). I'm always thinking ahead and I'm always thinking of small details. Okay so sometimes I screw up but I'm human. I'm fine with that. I work with the best group of folks who have accepted me for me. These are my second family.

I have two awesome boys who are smarter and more popular that I ever was - than I am now if we want to get real (I think that's from their Dad, how did I - ME!!! - ever score him??!!).

I'm content with me today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The things we did as kids

We all have childhood memories of doing strange things that, to us as children, were totally fun. As an adult, some seem pretty funny. While I was walking home from work last week I passed by some girls at the foot of a driveway trying to sell lemonade at a homemade stand. Remember doing that? That got me thinking of other things I did as a kid...

Lemonade Stand:
Remember when mom made you large quantities of lemonade to sell? You and friends would set up your "store" at the foot of the driveway, and sell glasses of lemonade for $0.5 and feel totally rich when you made $2.00 at the end of the day? Ah, hot summer days.

Punch Bug:
Remember when the old style Volkswagen Beetles would zoom by? You knew the sound of that distinct motor, that specific grainy burr that advertised one of these classics driving by. Then if you were with your friends, you'd punch them in the arm and yell out Punch Bug! Then you'd earned a virtual Punch Bug point. It seems so goofy now. Try doing that now to a random stranger and see what happens.

Jinx, you owe me a Coke:
Remember when you were gabbing with your friends and suddenly each of you would say the same thing at the same time? Remember that when this happened, you'd have to be the first person to take your fist and hold it under your chin and say Jinx, you own me a Coke? Because if you were not the first person to have this reaction you'd lose? Lose what I don't know. Real nerdy. Ha.

Apple Stem:
Remember when you'd twist your apple stem until it came off? And when each time you turned it you'd say a letter of the alphabet? Whatever letter you ended up on when the stem came loose was the first letter of the name of the person you had a crush on? It never worked for me because the person I had a crush on started with "W". I usually ended at "E", which is just as well cuz hubby starts with "E". So weird, who came up with this?

Sticker Collection Book:
Did you ever collect stickers? Remember all the cool kinds that you begged mom/dad to buy for you? Strawberry Shortcake, Hello Kitty, Scratch & Sniff, Puffy? To have the best stickers was to be totally cool, and you'd trade them with your friends like the boys traded hockey cards. I think I still have my sticker albums somewhere. That was my favourite activity.

What are some of the things you did as a kid that seem strange now or give you fond memories? I'd love to hear them.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Camping Like A Griswold

Clarke, Ellen, Rusty and Audry almost...

As mentioned in Oh Sh$t we forgot the tent,  we went camping on this May long weekend. We didn't forget the tent this time. Hubby and the boys picked me up from work on Thursday afternoon so we could start our trip. And it went something like this...


Leave my desk at around 3:30 pm to wait at the front of the building.

Griswold mobile shows up towing the trailer behind it, trailer bouncing up and down making much noise (my god I hope someone I work with doesn't exit the building and see this noisy production).

Head to the border and pray no horrendous traffic or waits at the border.

Get though the border and make our way to Fred Meyer in Burlington to stock up on some food and bevies.

Rip open bevy while hubby drives (Smirnoff Ice Raspberry flavour drink, hic).

Get to Deception Pass Campground and set up with no issues.

Friday - Shopping Day

Head out early to hit as many stores as possible.

Hit Quicksilver at Seattle Premium Outlets and spend $2.69 total on a hoodie and tank top (damn I'm good).

Hit Target and Marshalls, same old, same old.

Hit Ross Dress for Less, try on a shoe on one foot.

Hobble up and down the shoe isle at Ross with one cute high heel on trying not to trip.

Trip on said shoe and fall forward flat on my face in the 7 1/2 isle with my kids watching (thank god nobody else).

Watch as kids run off laughing to tell their dad that mom fell on her face and is crying (no I'm not) and screaming about it loud enough for other shoppers to hear.

Pick myself up off the dirty floor and pretend nothing happened (crap my arms and wrists hurt from stopping my fall).

Buy the cute Ralph Lauren heels (hell yeah after that) and can't wait to wear them.

Pop open another bevy while hubby drives us back to campground.

Listen to the Canucks game on AM 1040 and boo at the loss.


Wake up from flat mattress that has acquired a hole (crap need to buy a new one) and rub sore back and neck.

Boil water on the propane stove for morning coffee and sit and enjoy coffee while reading my book (the part I love most).

Think about having a shower but it's too much of a pain because we don't have the right tokens that need to be purchased from the park entrance.

Put on a hat and deodorant (it'll do) and head out to Walmart in Oak Harbor to get a new mattress.

Get back from shopping and head to the beach to walk around and let the boys zoom around on their scooters.

Wonder at the fact that a wedding reception is taking place in the rental space of the concession stand (really??) and that the guests have to use the washrooms that the general public use too (they're disgusting). I'm sorry but I have to say it, TRASHY!!!!!!!

Wander by the wedding reception (there's a public path so we'll use it) and inwardly laugh at the fact that the bride and groom actually consciously chose this venue?!?!? There's goose poop everywhere.

Drink more booze and go to bed


Make our favourite camping breakfast. Eggs, bacon, and hash browns.

Proceed to dump one entire pack of bacon on the ground. Five second rule does not count in this case.

Applaud myself for buying two packs of bacon (phew).

Realize that I now stink of fried food, still have not showered...and put on my hat and more deodorant. It'll do.

Take the boys down to the climbing Douglas Fir tree to climb around on (inwardly hope nobody falls to the ground, breaks a limb and costs us massive bills in US$ medical).

Watch as "E" gets stuck up high and dad has to try to get him down.

Watch as "E" does it again (the kid won't learn).

"E" up the tree

"M" up the tree

Find a pair of prescription glasses in the beach parking lot and pocket them. In good shape and pretty close to my own prescription.

Wonder what the hell I'm doing (for only a moment) and walk back to the site with my new glasses thinking I've scored.

Listen to the Canucks game on AM 1040 and revel in the win.


Pack everything back up again and try to fit it all in the car and the trailer.

Remember that I bought a cute pair of Ralph Lauren heels that I can't wait to wear (YESSSS!).

Get through the border no problem and make our way home (loving the feeling of getting back into Canada knowing that we've got two extra cases of beer, and an extra bottle of wine - we're such rebels).

Get home and do many loads of stinky laundry.

Have a much needed shower and smell good.

Ahhh, I love camping!

Monday, May 16, 2011

This is the school calling, your son is in the nurses station...

My eight year old, "M", was complaining of a sore leg this morning. He tends to get growing pains now and again and from what hubby tells me, they are painful. I wouldn't know, I never got them.

So this morning, one minute "M" is complaining about his leg:  "I can't put my socks on, it hurts". The next minute, bouncing all around the living room. Back and forth, yoyo'ing this "hurts/doesn't hurt" relationship with his leg.

He was able to make the walk down the hill to school with no complaints.

So all is good until about 11:30 this morning when the school office phones me at work to say they have "M" in the nurses station because his leg is bothering him and his teacher told him to have the office call his parents. For the love of God!

I can't help thinking that this was some rouse by the boy child to play hooky from school. But that type of attitude has never even entered his consciousness. He loves school and gets excellent grades. If either of the boys ever pulled a stunt like that, I'd kill them. The only hooky I ever played was hiding in the girls washroom to skip running around the track at school...but I went right back to gym class once the track running was completed.

Boy child got picked up by Gramma and spent the rest of the school day there.

So I get home and the little shyster is standing in front of the TV playing NHL slapshot and begging to go to his baseball game because his leg feels all better now. Uhm, no we called the coach to say you won't be there because you had to leave school early.

And that's when the mini tantrum began. "I DON'T WANT TO MISS A GAME,,waaaaa!"

I appreciate the love of baseball and not wanting to miss a game, that's totally awesome! But dude, if you're going to come home from school because of a sore leg, baseball is out of the question. To me it's just a moral thing.

Did you ever play hooky from school? What did you do?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Oh Sh@t, we forgot the tent!

Words uttered by my hubby as we had just crossed the border into Blaine, WA on our way to Deception Pass campground two years ago. Words you don't want to hear. I'm mean, come on, the TENT for crying out loud.

You don't turn around, cross back into Canada to pick up the tent, then come right back again. Instead you go to Fred Meyer in Bellingham and pick up a brand new tent on sale for $80 USD. And this new tent is what I like to call a palace. We are a family of four. This palatial habitat sleeps 10. There's more habitable space per person in this thing than there is in my own house! Not only that, my 6'2 inch hubby can stand up in it with room to spare.

We're going camping down to Deception Pass on Whidbey Island this coming May long weekend. We go down every May to this truly picturesque place.

One of the two bridges leading onto the island. The rapids below are quite "deceptive" to boats, hence the name Deception Pass. The rapids can be deadly.

One of the beaches we like to wander along on the Northern side of the campground.

Another view of the bridges.

We love camping here every May. The truly awesome part about this area is that it's only approx 30 minutes from the outlet mall in Burlington, and 45 minutes from Seattle Premium Outlets in Tulalip. Camping / shopping, you know they kind of go hand in hand in my book. I usually stock up on shoes (go figure).

So here's hoping that we don't forget our palace, I mean tent, on Thursday when we set out south for this long weekend trek in the Grizwold mobile.

I'll be sure to take lots of "Grizwold" style pictures of our escapades because that's usually what we resemble on camping trips. Clark, Ellen and the kids!

Happy Camping!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kickin' it Old School at East Side Mario's‏

Thursday night we had dinner at East Side Mario's...don't judge.

So hubby got us three SwarmJam coupons for East Side Mario's Restaurant. $12.50 for $25 worth of food. Also, kids eat for $2 Sun-Thurs, so because "E's" 12th birthday is on Saturday, we decided to use one of the coupons on Thursday night and have a little pre-birthday dinner out.

We rarely eat out at all - I consider it a "disposable income purchase" (I prefer to dispose of my income elsewhere...ah'em shoes) that once you have children, becomes non existent. I'm very careful where I spend my money; I don't even buy my lunch at work, I bring it from home. So eating out is like a little outing for us.

So off we set for Lonsdale Quay where the only East Side Mario's is in North Vancouver. The entire place is packed with kids and parents - could be the kids eat for $2 deal. Heck that's cheaper than making dinner. The friendly host, wearing a staff t-shirt with "My Nonna can beat up your Nonna" printed on the back, took us to our booth seats where we proceeded to ponder the menu.

I didn't clue in until a moment of no talking with the fam that the restaurant background music was playing Corey Hart's Never Surrender. Man I haven't heard that song since highschool. Lord I feel old. I found myself tapping my feet as I was deciding between the Traditional Burger and the Philly Cheese Steak melt thingy. I knew I was going to "surrender" to the Philly Cheesy thing and it was a great choice.

The boys had their kids penne pasta, and Ed had a ginormous meal with two chicken thigh/legs, potatoes, and two servings of caesar salad and bread. Not sure where he puts it cuz he only weighs about a buck eighty-five. Could be the endless trecks up the Grouse Grind that keeps his metabolism going tickety boo...bastard!!!

As I'm manger'ing on my Cheesy Philly thingy I found myself starting to hum along to another "oldie" (used loosely because I consider an oldie pre 1960), Hold Me Now by the Thompson Twins. My God, remember them? I was listening to them in grade 9 for crying out loud. This is an awesome song and it got me remembering another from them, Lay Your Hands On Me. Wicked!

We ended our meal with the boys eating their three mini ice cream cones that come with the kids meal. And what was playing? Bryan Adams, Straight from the Heart. Little known fact about Bryan Adams, he used to live in the house I grew up in, yeppers, he sure did. Went to my highschool and I was the second person to play the piano he donated to our school and rumour had it that this was the piano that he composed that very song on. A good 'ol North Vancouver boy!

Man, I'm so stuffed right now...or at least I was when I wrote this post!

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Mother's Day Homemade Gifts - THE BEST!

Mother's day this year was pretty uneventful for me. I'm fine with that. I'm a pretty easy going person and I don't expect anything really. That whole breakfast in bed thing, meh, I can do without that quite frankly. I'm pretty picky with breakfast as it is. We had to get ready for a baseball game anyway - sports still go on.

But my kid's made the best homemade gift for me. I have a collection of past homemade gifts at my desk at work:

A painted mini plant pot that I use for hiding things in one place
A pretty picture hanging on my cubicle wall

And now I have more items to add to the collection:

This will be added to my cubicle wall to be displayed proudly.

The red painted rock that says "Happy Mother's Day" will sit on my desk.
The green trivet will say at home and be used with pride.
The long book mark is currently inside my book and will be used from this day forward.

My mom added in the British Pounds for our trip to the UK in a month (thanks mom).

I love these homemade gifts and will keep them for ever and ever, Amen!

What are some of your favourite homemade gifts?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

5 Boys, Lunch and a Movie, Oy!

"M's" 8th birthday was a month ago and like last year, we were late in having his birthday party. Truth is, I was kinda hoping "M" would forget and it wouldn't happen (does that make me a bad mom?) but we decided to do a little something one month later anyway. Next year, I think it's over. "E" hasn't had one in a few years now (he's 12); non of his friends have had one either really. Parties just fizzled out. I'm totally okay with that.

We we invited three closest buddies and figured lunch and a movie would be best. The other "E", "L", and "S" (I refuse to use names on the Internet, therefore first letter) were all happy to come along. My two plus the three buddies...

So we sent to the WhiteSpot for lunch....

"S" was trying to be a superhero. He couldn't drink or eat with his face zipped up.

The other "E" made a crayon drawing on his kid's menu. Looks like the crayons barfed on the paper LOL.

Because we were heading to a movie after lunch and I didn't really want to bring a cake into the restaurant, I made cupcakes. It's supposed to look like a baseball with red stitches. That was kind of a fail but they tasted good anyway.

After lunch we went to see RIO in 3D. It was really good and quite funny. The boys behaved really well during the movie.

After, I drove the boys home. The other "E" farted in the car (stank) and there was a lot of screaming (my ears are still ringing), but the boys had fun.

I had a glass (okay two) of wine when I got home!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hockey Night Door Sales Call Fail

So Thursday night the Canucks were playing game 4 against the Predators. Not sure about your house, but in mine, it's pretty much this...don't bug the hubby, don't talk to the hubby, don't ask the hubby questions, etc. Dinner is eaten in front of the television, the boys run to get beer out of the fridge, and a bag of chips lays open nearby for nibbling on. This is the playoffs after all.

So some dude walks up the driveway (we're hoping that he's just dropping something off in the mailbox) and rings the door bell. I'm momentarily occupied so can't get the door so hubby RELUCTANTLY gets up off the couch to get the door and make this dude depart and fast.

Ring, ring ring, hubby mouthing a few four letter words leaps to the door with one eye still on the TV

Man who wishes to end his life "Hi I'm with Telus, and blah blah blah your service blah blah blah introduce you to...."

Hubby puffing out his chest not to show off his pecks but to emphasize the fact that he's wearing a Canucks t-shirt FOR A REASON "No sorry I'm happy with our package..."

Man who has a death wish "We'll if you have a moment...(NO WE DON'T) may I introduce you to..."

Hubby with ear to the strange little man and eyes visibly turned to the TV where announcers are very vocal and loud (Luongo...Kesler...oh what a save...good night in hockey, etc, etc you'd have to be a moron not to hear) "I'm..sorry, what...no sorry I'm happy with what we've got..."

Idiot who's about to get sucker punched in t-minus get the heck off my property now "Well if I could just let you know about...service...special...blah blah blah..."

Hubby in the process of shutting the door "No sorry I'm not inter (slam door) ested thanks"....runs back to the TV

So here's my message to you Telus, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??? Sending your minions out door to door during a playoff hockey game. Seriously?

Have you not read the papers? Have you not seen the news? Have you not seen the Canuck flags driving around with cars attached to them? Have you not seen Canuck jerseys in the Lower Mainland walking around with humans inside them?

Any idiot who ISN'T in marketing could tell you this perhaps isn't the best timing?

So he got sent packing with his tail between his legs and the Canucks won. All's good.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chicken and Snow Pea Stir Fry...with Wine

So Monday night I had completely forgotten about "E's" batting practice. Monday's are usually nights where I can make a real dinner - make something that I've found in one of my magazines. My husband, the other "E", came home while I was preparing everything, to remind me of this practice and that I was to take him - my turn.

I told him I'm making dinner and I've already had some wine but apparently this wasn't going to fly. I was still going to take "E" to batting practice damn it!

So I continued to make dinner...

Chicken and Snow Pea Stir Fry in the April 2011 issue of Canadian Living (my mom gave me)

12 OZ boneless skinless chicken breast thinly sliced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
3/4 tsp smoked or sweat paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 OZ cured ham (prosciutto or serrano) julienned (or if you like me smoked Schneider's ham cut up)
5 cups of snow peas
1/4 cup sodium reduced chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of granulated sugar
White or red wine

Drink a few sips of wine.

In a bowl toss together chicken, 1 tbsp of the oil, garlic, paprika and cumin

In wok or skillet, heat remaining oil over high heat; stir fry ham for 10 seconds. Add chicken mixture; stir fry until seared all over. Add snow peas; stir fry 30 seconds.

Add chicken broth...

Oh yeah, chug a large amount of wine to prove that you can't drive to batting practice...

Add chicken broth, salt and sugar; stir fry until peas are tender crisp and chicken is no longer pink inside.

Chug more wine to get that "I can't drive" feeling.

I added cut up mushroom to this dish to get more out of it and it was really good. Drink more wine!

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 216 cal, 25 g pro, 10 g total fat (2 g sat fat), 7 g carbs, 2 g fibre, 57 mg chol, 413 mg sodium, blah, blah, etc...

Drink more wine.

Jasmine Flavour.
I served this with rice (the nuke kind). This was a really delish meal and I do recommend you make it. Very easy and fast. Even better with wine!

So as am I'm typing this, the Canucks just scored in the over time game 3 vs. Nashville. GO CANUCKS!!!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

And The Best Part? The RELAY!!

This weekend was a very busy one for baseball. Saturday we had two practices for each of my boys. Sunday they each had a game. "E" my eldest was in the morning and unfortunately we forgot to bring the camera. So no pics. However, for "M" who's game was in the afternoon, we remembered the camera. Yay mom and dad.

"M" is in Farmball, one step up from T-Ball for grade two and three. He was ready for Farmball last year when he was in grade one T-Ball and was quite bored. So now that he gets to play real games in Farmball, he's on cloud nine. He's really quite good. Today his last position was pitcher and they were at the bottom of the 4th, last inning. The Stingers were already winning but the away team still had to get through batting line-up. "M" sealed the deal when at 2 strikes, the last batter hit the ball and "M" caught the airball smack in his mitt getting that last kid out. He was pretty puffed about it. 15-8 for the Stingers. Yay team!!

So although playing the game is awesome and the kids have a great time, the best part really is the relay the end. Each team lines up, one on home, the other on third and one kid from each team runs around the bases. First team to get all their guys back wins. And of course, the Stingers won (they're the fastest Farmball team in the league).

Here's "M" pumping his wheels:

He just took off from home plate. I think he needs a haircut. It's kinda flying in the breeze.

He's just rounded third and on his way home. Awesome pic, he's completely in the air.

So of course after the relay it's snack time. That's the second best part apparently too. I wish I was a kid again.