Archive for July, 2007

Vacation update

I have not been online since my last post. In fact, I’m writing this offline to then copy and paste, so annoying is dial-up service.


I haven’t read a blog for over a week. And you know what? I’m coping okay, except I’ve run out of stuff to read up here. No computer time means much more reading time, and I didn’t bring enough books. I am catching up in my journal, though.


I do feel very out of touch, although I’m not sure that is a bad thing.


This week, we are at the cottage with our three kids and two of our nephews (I’ll call them B and C), who are 9 and 11 years old. The four of them – Maya, Asher, B and C – have remarkably similar interests and have gotten along without a major tiff for two weeks now. They spend every waking moment together, doing things as a pack. They are happy to include Boo when she wants to be (there are younger kids here for her to play with) and also include an 8-year-old girl from across the road when she is around.


Five kids is actually easier than three, as there are more play options, and since B and C find their younger cousin utterly charming, Asher and Maya are more patient with her too. The only thing that we find difficult – as I mentioned before – is feeding them, since there isn’t a picky eater among them. MominIsrael is right, kids who eat everything is preferable to kids who won’t eat, but it still pains the pocketbook. The five are voracious. We are constantly throwing enormous amounts of food at them. When feeding them dinner, I am reminded of the nature clip I saw years and years ago, where you see a hand holding a huge joint of meat from some animal like a goat or sheep. The hand lowers the joint into a large fish tank and the water boils with frenzied piranhas for a few moments, and then the hand lifts the joint, now cleaned of all meat.


I’m just thankful that mine have huge appetites too, or the shock of feeding them all would have been much worse. A couple of days ago, the mom of the kid across the street offered to make lunch for them all (beside the 8-year-old, she has 5-year-old twins). Pasta, she said, that would be easy.


My eyes bugged out when I saw the amount of pasta she’d cooked for them. It was enough to split in half and feed the two oldest. I braced myself, hoping the kids wouldn’t be rude about not having enough food. They were good, though. They all ate their share, then came home and ate more. Turns out that, like my kids, my nephews are used to eating meals at friends houses, leaving hungry and filling up at home.


I have no idea how large families feed everybody without being rich. I should point out that the whole lot of them, save one normal-sized nephew, are so skinny you can play the xylophone on their ribs.


I did not intend to write so much about food. I guess it is just that I’ve been forced to be preoccupied by it. What I intended to write about was that I love it up here. The loss of my beloved internet has been worth it. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but up here the kids get thrown back to my childhood, where they roam around all day playing, and their parents don’t always know exactly where they are. No schedule, no playdates, no parents.

They swim at the beach for hours. They hunt frogs. They invent elaborate games in the forested land behind our cottage. They collect rocks and wild berries. Sleeping all in bunk beds in one room, they whisper to each other long after bedtime, ignoring our half-hearted demands to be quiet and go to sleep.


We feed them, bandage scrapes, build bonfires and try to prevent them from emptying their rock collections on the couch, but other than that we hang out and read. It’s lovely.



It’s not all sunshine and roses – for me, at least. As I write, I am emerging from the pit of a 28-hour migraine. Today was spent lying in bed with earplugs and an eye pillow, throwing back useless drugs. I have no idea what set it off. I haven’t had one this bad in ages.


My own personal cottage-holiday ritual is to become ill or injured, so I should consider myself lucky this only wrecked a day. On different years, I have: recovered from carpal tunnel surgery; had an abscessed tooth (two different times and only on holiday here); had severe strep throat that took multiple courses of antibiotics to cure; had an ear and sinus infection so bad I spent the two nicest days of the vacation feverish in bed; had the Norwalk virus (‘stomach flu’); had the real flu; been pukey and exhausted from the first trimester of pregnancy (Asher); been crabby and exhausted from being in the last few weeks of pregnancy (Boo); and had mastitis.


Still, I’m not complaining, because at least when I get sick here, I have J to look after the kids. In fact, I actually planned the carpal tunnel surgery that way. Only once I got here did I realize that it was a little bit stupid because I couldn’t swim or play in the sand with the kids. It was still better, though.

 I hardly miss my garden.  


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As I mentioned previously, I was inspired by Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barabara Kingsolver, to expand my tiny veggie garden. I didn’t just plant my standard tomatoes, but peas, carrots and broccoli instead. Oh, and asperagus, but I’m not expecting much from that for a while.

Jasper pulled one bunch of asperegus from the ground – I guess he likes them even when they are tiny. I’ve been watching the rest sprout and watering faithfully. Then, when we returned home from the long weekend, I did my garden tour and discovered when I got to my veggie bed – nothing! Oh, I still have those old stand-bys, the tomatoes. But every other shoot has been eaten to the ground. Wait, I exaggerate; one pea plant has survived. That’ll be quite the bounty.

So, like Yogamum, I’ve failed for this year. It is too late to replant, so I’ll have to wait until next year.

At least the raspberry plant we put in a couple years ago is going nuts and has tons of berries. I just hope most of them hold off on ripening until we return.


I like going on vacation, I really am, but despite the veggie disaster, I wish I could bring my garden with me. It kills me that I am going to miss things flowering, particularly my Shasta daisies. They have been budding now for about a month and I have been anticipating the huge mass of flowers. As this week progressed, I could see that they were aiming to open up just about the day after I leave.

I’ll probably miss the Asiatic lillies too, and I cringe to think of how the weeds are going to take over.


It would help if the sun would shine for longer than an hour between the rain. At least J’s brother left two of his kids here to amuse mine. Five kids is a lot to feed – none of these kids are picky eaters – but they run off in a pack and there’s always someone to play with. And Jasper loves swimming at the beach, no matter what the weather.

Boo is begging for the laptop to watch something. I think I’ll go play poker with the other kids.

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Thirteen Things about just making it up.This Thursday is the 100th Thursday Thirteen, wherein we are supposed to talk about our favourite Thursday Thirteens. But I haven’t done enough of my own and I confess I haven’t the time to go poking around the others right now, as I am supposed to be getting us ready for our vacation and not even in front of the computer at all. (I was just checking the weather, I swear.) So I am going my own way. I’m only a couple of weeks away from my 41st birthday. Like many other people, I saw the new decade as a time to make some new plans for my life. This is a look back. 13 things about the year I was 40.

1. Upon turning 40, I was determined to get fit and healthy, and lose weight in the process.

2. I am fatter and my fibroymalgia is worse.

3. I was going to exercise regularly.

4. I do, but it makes not difference to my weight or health (so far?).

5. This was the year to get my career kick-started.

6. It refused to start.

7. I don’t feel like I’m in my 40s. My younger brother certainly can’t be turning 40 this year, and my parents clearly aren’t old enough to have children in their 40s.

8. Despite it all, I’m happy.

9. I never imagined having getting a dog this year.

10. I highlighted my hair for the first time.

11. But just for fun, because I still have no gray hair to speak of – maybe 10-15 hairs.

12. I’m getting better for standing up for myself and telling people when they are pissing me off. I’m not sure if that is good or bad.

13. This year was, to be honest, pretty much the same as the one before – some expected things didn’t happen and some unexpected did. And so it goes…

Links to other Thursday Thirteens:
1. Pass the Chocolate

2. Bring Your Own Cheese

3. Burnt Offerings

4. MamaArcher (kindly put me in her 13 favourite Thursday Thirteens on motherhood.)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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I’ve finally figured it out!

Okay, first have a child. Be completely overwhelmed by the tasks of motherhood and housekeeping and only succeed at one at a time. Then, just as you are starting to get the hang of it and are no longer buried in mounds of laundry all the time, have another child. Repeat previous step until you have three children.

Make sure the first two children are so needy and demanding that the third child becomes self-sufficient out of necessity and plays beautifully by herself.

Now, here’s the important part: LEAVE THE FIRST TWO WITH THEIR GRANDPARENTS AT THE COTTAGE. This leaves you with only the third child. It is very, very important that you only be left with the third child. Do not attempt this with child number one or two.

You will now be the perfect mother, getting all sorts of stuff done while still virtually immediately meeting the child’s every need. You will have endless patience and, instead of 25 times an hour, you will never find yourself saying, “I’ll get you that in just a minute, after I finish this,” or “How many hands do I have? And how many things am I doing? How many hands are left over – you do the math.” You will find yourself having actual conversations with this child, instead of just saying, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear what you are saying with your brother yelling like that,” or “I’ll explain later, after I’ve shown your sister how to do this.”

Of course, there will be a twinge of maternal guilt for not missing the other two more, and perhaps wishing they’d be gone for more than just one day.

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We spent the long weekend at the cottage. I thought it was obscenely cold, but the kids still swam. I wonder when a child develops nerve endings? Not at 11 years old, judging by Maya.

Old family friends of J’s family have the cottage across the street, so our kids play together every summer, picking up like they’ve never been apart. They swim, play in the sand, climb around on the rocks, have campfires, go on adventures in the woods and basically have an idyllic a childhood summer as seems possible these days.

This year, of course, we added the dog to the mix, imagining that he will make it just that much more idyllic. And they do love him, take him for walks, play with him on the beach when he’s allow there. What I didn’t expect when I got him was that I’d want the dog to have good summer too. Now, instead of hanging out on the beach all day, I go back up to check on the dog, and take the time out to go for long walks down country roads and in the woods. He’s clearly delighted and I’m glad he’s happy too.

My mother-in-law is not so happy. His existence drives her nuts. We delusionally thought that if we had a good dog, one that didn’t shed, bark, jump or beg, she wouldn’t mind him. We never expected her to like him, but at least maybe she wouldn’t mind him. And he was good this weekend. He does still counter-surf and steal food off neglected plates. He sticks his nose under Maya’s arm at dinner and tries to get as close to her plate as he can, hoping to snag something off her fork. He takes kids’ toys and jumps on the furniture, staring at us like we are mad when we order him off. But he did none of that this weekend. He was the Stepford dog, he was so good.

But we knew it was hopeless when she snapped during lunch that we had to get him out of the room, as he was driving her crazy. We, including my father-in-law, looked in amazement at Jasper, sitting several feet from the table completely quietly, nose in the air in appreciation of the foodie smells, and asked what he had done to offend her. “He’s smelling!” she objected.

She might well have said ‘he’s breathing,’ since clearly that was the real problem.

She does appreciate one thing – I walk him. I clearly need more exercise and, for Jasper’s sake, I get it. I walk him for hours, and I like it, as it is peaceful and he is happy. But you now what pisses me off? I haven’t lost a single pound. Bloody figures.


Here’s an ‘Eeewwww’ for you – a couple of weeks ago, I wrote my Thursday Thirteen on the heat, trying to appreciate my lack of air conditioning. I naively entitled it Thursday’s Hot Thirteen. I  was surprised to see how popular that Thursday Thirteen was, until I realized that the search string people are using to find it is “hot thirteen.” I just realized they aren’t looking for the Thursday Thirteen meme, they are looking for thirteen-year-olds. So, for those of you who make it here with the same search string: stop being such a pervert, you freak.

And, frankly, that goes for the people looking for ‘funny videos of teenagers breastfeeding’ too.

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