Friday, December 25, 2009

Why I love Christmas

Santa, Santa and one more Santa: I love the magic of Santa. To re live a time through our small children who still believe that magical Santa is real and reindeer do fly is one of the best parts of Christmas. Reminds me not to take everything so seriously all the time!

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Breakfast with Santa at Newlands Golf and Country Club

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Christmas Eve Santa at Aunties’ house

We visited two more Santas. One at the mall and Santa even made it to pre-school. Noah questioned the many Santas and he decided the Santa at the mall was the REAL Santa and would be the one delivering presents.

The Christmas tree:

I love Christmas trees. There is no right way to decorate a Christmas tree. Construction paper garlands made my little hands, popcorn cranberry strung up from top to bottom or crystal Tiffany's ornaments. Every tree is perfect in it’s dressed up glory for the season.


The Christmas tree at Cousin Leas’ home in Vernon

There was a time when there were no presents under my tree or hidden in the closet but when I sat by my Christmas tree, while my little son was sleeping, my worries seemed to disappear. The soft lights hid the stains on the worn carpet. The fresh pine smell mingled with fresh baked cookies reminded me to be thankful for my safe, warm home. My pretty angel sat on the prized spot at the top of the tree looking over us and singing:   

Dec 01 2009 014Dressed up in Christmas tree lights and garland while decorating the Christmas tree

“And on Earth Peace among men . . .” (Luke 2:14) and I was at peace because Christmas was never, in the end, about the shopping and ‘stuff’ it was and is a time to be thankful and feel blessed for everything I had, however little, so I went to bed to the tunes of angels singing and the magic and the blessings that is Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Most Dreaded Question

There’s  a question people ask in polite, small talk conversation. It’s just an innocuous conversation starter. There really is only so much one can say about the weather when cornered at a party, drink in hand, with nowhere to go. The inevitable question always comes up. When I am confronted with THE question, as a stay at home mom, I am left sputtering, deer in headlights, with nothing to say, when someone asks me THE dreaded question: “what do you DO for a living”?


Sure, I’m being spazzy and giving this question more weight than it deserves. I could easily say: “I’m a stay at home mom” then segue into a charming and funny story of the escapades of my small child or shock them with a good one of my teenage son ( the one about my darling son being on his third car in six months because he has written off his first two ) . But, oh no, I stammer and cough, frantically searching for something interesting to say because now I’m stuck on what do I DO for a living.

Can’t you ask me if I’ve read anything good lately? Food, Politics, religion, Micheal Jackson, Brangelina . . . . Bring it on let’s talk but please, please, PLEASE don’t ask me what I DO for a living.

I can tell you what I’ve done in the past but the list is too long and how do I begin and where do I end? Textile factory worker, waitress, short order cook, receptionist, personal assistant, retail, if it has a pink collar I’ve done it. I’ve been fired, (3 times) laid off (once) quit (once or twice). That’s another blog post . . . but here’s my point: Don’t ask me what I DO because I’m a stay at home mom and I don’t have a paid career of any kind. I’m not on Maternity leave from anything but my sanity (at times) and I can’t tell you what I did (paid work) in my former (work) life because I’ve been somebody's full time mom – with some paid jobs in between -  since I was 19.


stay at home dad 

I know you don’t know I’m imploding when you ask me. It’s just an innocent question to start a conversation but understand that when you ask you bring up all my insecurities of my life spent less time doing paid work than not. The question of DOING something for a paycheque is a polite conversation starter, a nice appy dipped in lemon aioli, I know. You don’t mean to hammer me over the head with that question. It’s not like you will say something like: “You better have a job to tell me about or I will walk away and not like you anymore”

. . . or you might one can never tell.

I was at a party the other night. A nice, civilised cocktail party. There was delicious food, drink and lot’s of grown ups talking about interesting things, which I have to say, got a lot more interesting when the Tequila came out. Anyway, Here’s what I did when I was asked ‘The question’ by this lovely woman: I sputtered ( as usual), fumbling for words. I started quoting the above list of my pink collar jobs while gulping down my martini, stuffing the shrimp cocktail in my mouth so she (the interrogator) couldn’t understand what I was saying. Then I started a fake coughing and choking fit; I made a motion for “water” frantically pointing away to the kitchen while spitting shrimp onto her pretty dress like some sort of raving lunatic as I walked/ran away – bullet avoided.

For future reference, if you see me at a social gathering please keep to the weather, celebrity gossip and baby poop because that’s all my fragile mama ego can handle right now. Thank you.

mom brain

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The case against having children

I picked up the latest (January) issue of ‘O’ magazine so I had something to read while I was at Mcdonalds. My little one plays in the play place and I get a moments peace while reading my magazine and sipping my hot coffee.

There was an interview in this issue of ‘O’ with Elizabeth Gilbert author of ‘Eat Love, Pray’. I enjoyed her book and was looking forward to reading what she had to say about her life since ‘Eat Love Pray’ and also about her new book, ‘Commitment’.

Elizabeth talks ‘frankly’ about not wanting children and how she reached that decision. She says she wasn’t made out for ‘momming’. She would’ve made a great dad – a good provider . . . funny . . . go on trips with them . .  etc. . . “I have a really good mom; I know what she put into it. I didn’t think I had the support to both have that and continue on this path that was really important to me . .”

EAt love pray

I can relate to the sentiment. A family takes a lot of work and to be a good parent one needs a lot of support. A realistic take on why she doesn’t want children. I’m all over it. No whining, no looking back. No “what ifs”. Choose an option and do not waiver, wonder and whine. She’s my kind of woman. But. I should’ve stopped reading. She should’ve stopped talking.

Gilbert also talks about a story that was pivotal for her. The story is about her grandmothers’ “Huge” sacrifice for her seven children ‘ . . a life of constant  struggle and deprivation . . . and that beautiful mind, that beautiful intellect, that exquisite sense of curiosity and exploration was gone . . “

Nothing left but a shell of a woman because one has given birth.

As Gilbert was travelling for ‘Eat, Pray Love’ Gilbert says she could feel the weight of her Swedish farmwife ancestors from beyond the grave that were like: . . “Go! Go to Naples! Eat more pizza! . . .Do it! Swim in the Indian Ocean . . . Go beat the drum.”

Reading that raised my mama hackles. Really? Beat the drum? The intellect that just goes? How lovely. She compares modern motherhood with the Swedish farmwives of yesteryear where birth control didn’t exist and slaving from dawn to dusk was not just the norm for women but for men also.


I should’ve put that magazine down right then and there but I soldiered on. I am a mother after all and I’m used to sacrifice, hard work and mind numbing, childish gibberish . . . so I continued to read and here is the best part: Liz has a charming anecdote of her trip to Mexico when she was 20. While she was in Mexico, she met an American couple in their 60’s who said to her: “Oh, it’s so great that you’re travelling now,before you have kids,because you won’t be able to then.” . . . Gilbert continues to say: . . .  “I know this is a thing that people do; they go traveling for a year and then they hitch their leash to the wall and put their face into a feed bag and that’s the end of it . . .”

Motherhood: A leash to the wall, head in the feed bag . . . never to read another book again . . . never to see another foreign sunset . . .

Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert. Nice to know the stereotype of the sacrificing, drab housedress wearing mother is alive and well. It amazes me that feminism has brought women so far, but according to Elizabeth Gilbert, the mother is left somewhere in the back room washing laundry in an old wooden bucket with a baby hanging off her boob and her husband lounging in the kitchen, demanding: “what’s for dinner?”


(still) Such a long way,(to go) baby . . . .

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another day in the life . . .


The other day I slaved over a delicious vegetarian dish. Lentils, cheese, veggies . .  this stuff was good. mmmmm . . . . . Here’s the thing with granola muncher cooking: it’s a lot of prep and work. First, cook the lentils. Chop up veggies, fry them up, grate the cheese . . . toast and grind cumin seeds and put all ingredients into a separate cooking dish  .  cover with foil . . . add boiling water into crock pot so the dish is in a bath . . . lid does not fit onto slow cooker because said dish is too big . . . find lid to fit the crock pot allow to simmer for a few hours . . .  THEN feed to finicky child(ren).

Finicky child: ewwww this is too chewy what’s all the crunchy stuff?

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Me: It’s toasted almonds in this delicious lentil casserole that I spent most of the morning to make . . .

Finicky child: Gross. Can I have a grilled cheese sandwich on white?

Me: Make your own sandwich I cooked dinner if you don’t like it too bad . . .

Finicky child ( after rolling eyes, stomping feet and moaning, groaning and more whining) pleeeease can you make me a grilled cheese?

Me: No. 

The lentil casserole was delicious by the way.

Next evening I get home late, throw some breakfast sausages, onions, carrots and potatoes in a pan, dump olive oil, salt and pepper all over it, bake @ 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or so.

Finicky Child: mmmmm this is the best . . .  not crunchy and mmmm the potatos taste like french fries mmmmm this is sooo good . . . as said child collapes into food bliss . . .

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. . . . I have no words . . . . Ungrateful buggers . . . .

And, yes, isn’t my new nephew adorable?