Monday, November 30, 2009

Owl Moon

This little girl of mine. What can I say? She is so fun loving and creative. She has a sweet sweet spirit. Oh, and she loves to draw.

One of her favorite books is Owl Moon. It is about a father who takes his little girl out "owling" one dark winter night. She is finally old enough to go. She is so excited she could scream. But, "when you go owling, you have to be very quiet."

We read this book the other night and this picture is what I found on her Magna Doodle the next morning. So cute. She told me that that was a Snowy Owl, even though the owl in the book was a Great Horned Owl. She says I can tell because there are no ears on her owl. Indeed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I am listening to:

For the past couple of days I have been listening to Bach and Vivaldi. Baroque Music. It is a CD my sister Lyse sent me years ago. It is so lovely. Comforting in a strange sort of way. I've also been listening to my old Josh Groban Cd's. Old standbys to me. Athena particularly loves the song Vincent. Me too. It is an old Don McLean song. And as always, as always, there is Randy Travis in the CD player in the kitchen. My older girls know all of the songs. We have been listening to him for many a year.

I am watching:

Absolutely nothing now that The Tudors is over. Actually, Paul and I watch The National every night. We watch Courage in Red, and RCMP miniseries. We also watch The Ghost Whisperer reruns every night at 10. Actually, I usually watch until 10:30 and then go to bed. He watches until the end. We also watched the old movie Snow Dogs with Cuba Gooding Jr. on our first "Family Movie Night". Funny movie.

I am eating:

Lots of meat. Sigh. Paul is having trouble with pasta, potatoes and rice so we have been eating more heavily on the protein side. I have also not been eating as many veg as usual. Odd for me because I love veg. Hmmm. I wonder what is with that? I have a chicken stock simmering on the stove right now which smells wonderful. I'll make some soup tomorrow or the next day and save the rest in sealer jars.

I am enjoying:

The nice weather. We hiked the golf course on the weekend. It is only 9 holes but it took us 40 minutes. The next two days, my shin muscles just ached. Obviously there is not an asana in my yoga practice that mimics hill climbing. Ouch. I am also enjoying feeding the birds. I gave them water the other day and within minutes they flocked to the bird bath. No snow, no rain, no water for the animals. Parker the squirrel was in there too, just lapping up the cool water. I have to dump it every night lest it become a huge ice cube but that is a small sacrifice. Athena and I have been spending lots of time snuggling and reading and bird watching. She brought her rocking chair down from her bedroom and set it next to mine. So sweet.

I am slacking:

On my yoga practice. I did a 30 minute Sacred Yoga Sweat taught by Rainbeau Mars today, just to mix things up. It was short but difficult. I'm sure I'll pay tomorrow. I just haven't felt motivated to get on the mat in the past 3 days but I made it there today. I plan to make it there tomorrow and just see where the practice leads me.

I am wondering about:

The H1N1 flu season. They are saying it has reached is peak and is on the wane. Funny about that, vaccinations for the general public started this afternoon. They say 1 in 4 Canadians have been vaccinated. It would be nice to get some real numbers on the incidence of infection/ hospitalization/ ICU cases. It would be lovely to read the headline : H1N1 Big Hoax.
Also wondering when all of the online Christmas shopping packages will arrive at my home. In time for Christmas I hope.

I am thinking about:

Making plans for Christmas I hope. Or shall I say the winter holidays. Winter solstice. I am no longer a Christian so planning for "Christmas" doesn't really feel authentic to me. Anyway, I have plenty of sewing to do for gifts for some people. I should get after it. Also thinking WAY too much about the Parent Teacher interview we had that I mentioned in my last post. I think I have every book about Childhood Food Allergies, ADD and alternative treatment and Homeschooling Curriculum out from the library. I should give myself a break and look into this in the New Year.

I am reading:

All of the above books. Also a book called Bringing Up Geeks by Mary Beth Hicks. So far so good.
Also reading the cookbook The Art of Simple Food. In fact, my stock recipe that simmers on the stove is from it. I have also been looking at an abundance of Christmas Craft/baking/cooking/decorating books. I have a small list of things I'd like to make this year.

I am feeling:

A little blue today for some reason. Could be the pressure from the I am thinking about category. Who knows. It is unlike me to feel this way. I am sure it will only be for a day. I am also feeling the pull of nostalgia for simple times. Simple days, simple joys. I am beginning to believe that may days are too full of 'doing' and not enough 'being'. I must slow down and enjoy. I must.

I am especially liking:

The nuthatches and the chickadees who eat my profferings. On the weekend after our family hike, I remained outside in the warm sunshine. Paul made me some hot chocolate and brought it out to me. I stood there sipping the delicious warm cocoa watching the birds pick up the sunflower seeds I had placed merely a few feet away from where I stood. I spent a blissful 30 minutes out there. All alone. Me and the birds.

Which reminds me, we have twice seen a wonderful snowy owl perched on the same telephone pole, on the outskirts of our town. Wait, I think I blogged about this before. If I did, my apologies. birds. Also I am liking watching Athena with her glasses and her new haircut. She picked the haircut herself and the glasses, well, I found an old pair of mine, and knowing she would love them, I had Paul take the lenses out. It is all I can to to keep her from wearing them to school. I am also liking that swimming lessons are finally over. Woo hoo! And now we are going to do a lot of skating. We went yesterday. Our town has free family skate several times a week. We hope to take a lot of them in until we get our backyard rink all set up. Pictures to follow on that one. She does not like the fact that she is unable to skate. Practice and all is coming.

I am looking forward to:

Casting on for my new scarf and Athenas as well. I am finally finished my hat. Good thing too as it was -17 with the windchill factor this morning when I walked Athena to school.

The weekend, as always. The Winter Solstice. I want to plan something special for that day. And seeing all my girls and grandgirls and Jordan, all together again on December 26th. There is a lot of time from now til then. There is much to do as well.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This and That

I am thinking about:See the above picture? A rubber chicken. Yes, you recall. That is EXACTLY what my "twenty dollar free range bird" tasted like. What a huge disappointment. The skin was so thick and leathery it was almost like a football. It was so thick, in fact, that after the bird was cooked to precisely the right temperature, I couldn't even get to the meat unless I hacked it with a cleaver. Did I get taken for a ride. Paul went to a Hutterite colony the very next day on business. He was lamenting the story when one of them produced a Hutterite chicken for him. Try this! We sell them for $7 a piece. Same size. 2/3 less money. I hope it turns out better than the last.

I am working on:

Several things actually. If you can believe it, I am still knitting my wool hat. Only a few more rounds to go in the decrease. I can plainly see at least 5 errors. It better fit. It better be warm.
Also working on some Therapeutic Wheat Bags. Still working on the most comfortable prototype for the eye bag. Haven't reached perfection yet. Also working on my yoga practice. I did an old standby yesterday. It was a little on the easy side yet today my abdominal muscles are sore. Different poses than I am used to. King Dancer, Shoulder stand, Rolling sun salutation. The class was by Tracy Rich and Ganga White of White Lotus. Total Yoga was the name.

I am looking into:

We had PT interviews at Athena's school yesterday. Teacher says she it at or above par on all of her academics. A joy to have in class. So sweet. But... She can't sit still. Perhaps, she suggested, I should take her to her doctor and get some Ritalin. I would say WTF? But my Mother reads this blog so I'll just say What the Heck? Ritalin? To be fair, she didn't actually utter the word Ritalin but she strongly suggested it. So I am planning to contact Jen's Naturopath to see what she thinks and then move forward from there. Any advice would be greatly appreciated here.

I am feeling:

A bit lonely. Dear Husband has a long term project in the works and has been totally consumed by it lately. Reading, working out, studying, learning. All the while I am being a little neglected, in my opinion. (Sigh) Thank goodness for my daily morning phone call with a certain someone. It keeps me connected to the adult world. Thanks Jen.

I am surprised:

That the only show I watch, The Tudors, aired its Season Finale last night? Again, What the Heck? Didn't it just start a mere 8 weeks ago? That is the end of my TV watching until next fall.

I am enjoying:

The lovely weather. It is well above seasonal and I am loving it. Also loving watching Parker frolic in the yard. Feeding him Strawberries and peanuts.

I am looking forward to:

The weekend. Last swim class. Lots of yoga practice. A Hutterite chicken. Knitting. Reading. Cooking. Resting.

Hope your weekend is just as nice.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can You Eat Me Now?

I am always searching for locally grown, organic food for my little family. Locally grown especially. Nothing like Buy Amer.. I mean Buy Saskatchewan. Once not too long ago I bought a jar of pickles. Everyone grows cucumbers here so I didn't even look at the label. I couldn't even believe that my $3 jar of pickles was shipped all the way from The Philippines! The Philippines I tell ya. Come on.
The other day I was looking on a local free classified ad site and came across an ad for Free Range Eggs $2 a doz and Free Range Chicken $3.50/lb. I contacted the farmer right away and wouldn't you know it? The farm was 20 minutes from our little town. Score!
I talked with her on the phone and she said the chickens are grain and flax fed, roam around outdoors and had just started to lay. I'll take them. 4 dozen please. She went on to say that the chickens for sale were about 5 or 6 lbs each and had never had any animal byproducts. The only thing they had was chick starter when they were well... chicks. Free Range. Yes, thank you, I'll take two. That was when the conversation took a slightly unpleasant turn. I'll go pick a few out from the flock and have them ready for you tomorrow. (That meant as we spoke they were still pecking happily around the farmyard, totally unaware of their fate.) Gulp. Yes, I'll take two. Never had a fondness for chickens.
She mentioned that they had some Free Range, grass fed beef as well. (Raises eyebrow) I do enjoy myself a nicely grilled piece of beef tenderloin. Love Beef Burgundy. Even Bolognese. Go on. She said he roams around the pasture, we had him inside last winter but he likes it outside more. (Starts to squirm) I fully expected her to say "and his hobbies are watching butterflies and finding gopher holes." We haven't slaughtered him yet. (Gulp) Slaughtered is such an awful word.
I'll get back to you on the beef .
PS The eggs are lovely. Beautiful shades of brown, beige and white. Hard shells. Dark yellow yolks. I'll let you know about the chicken. It's in the oven.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Free Range Kids.

I just finished this wonderful funny book about letting our children have the freedom that we had when we were children. For reference I was born in 1965. Yes, I know. Long time ago. Moving on..
This was such an excellent book and the back pages worked to dispel parents fears from A to Z. The B section was

Bats (Aluminum). She went on to tell us why aluminum baseball bats are no more dangerous than the old fashioned wood counterparts. Then she wrote:
Bats (Vampire) Avoid these. Funny. You get the gist of the tone of which the book was written.

Lenore Skenazy supplied worried parents with statistic after statistic which proved that it is actually as safe for children now, and in some areas safer, as it was in 1970, when I was five.

So picture me, sitting on the sidelines of Athena's swim class on Saturday. A long row of parents all watching every move their little ones made, commenting on form, style and whether or not private lessons will be needed. And there I sit, not paying attention at all, reading my Free Range Kids book. Halfway through the class, a man taps me on the shoulder to tell my that he thinks my girl got hurt. Sure enough, the teacher is helping her out of the pool and she is crying. She has a small goose egg on her head. I go over, a little embarrassed that I hadn't witnesses the event because of course I was busy NOT being a Helicopter parent and I was doing my own thing. Ahem.

She was okay, just forgot to open her eyes while swimming and bonked her forehead on the wall. She jumped back into the pool in less than an minute and I... went back to my book.

Next day. My older daughter Jill's 24th birthday. We had all just come back from the city after watching Eden's (her daughter) soccer game. The girls were out in the back yard trying to find Parker (see earlier post about our squirrel). Eden knocks on the back door to ask me if they can play in the front yard. Of course they can. I go into the front room where Jill and Clint are watching Paul start a fire in the fireplace. I start to tell them the story printed above when she says " Why are the girl in the front yard?!!" She is from the city."Is this why you are telling me about your book?" I tell her that Athena plays in the front yard all the time and that she is perfectly safe in our little small town. About 10 minutes later I hear Jill scream and Paul run out the door. The neighbors dog (Dutch Shepherd) got loose and was running and growling after the girls. All turned out well once again but geesh! What are the chances?

I still recommend you read this book if you have children or if you are thinking of having children. And then read "Last Child in the Woods. Saving our children from nature deficit disorder." And then shoo them outside to play and don't worry so much.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Our New Pet (Kind of)

Just a few weeks back I was lamenting to my daughter about the lack of wildlife in our small Saskatchewan town. Although from my yoga studio window I can see for miles on end, miles of rolling prairie, I don't see much wildlife at all.

As soon as we are on the highway things change. We see deer a lot, albeit mostly as roadkill. Speaking of roadkill there is an abundance of that. Coyotes, fox, porcupine, skunk and just the other day I saw a dead badger too. I know there is wildlife around. Lots of it.

Anyway, the other day I saw a squirrel run by on the other side of the road. First time in 4 years have I seen one here. I literally squealed with excitement, right Jen? So naturally, I busted out the bag of peanuts in the shell, which I had just bought, coincidentally, the weekend before. I thought it would be a long shot, but no. At lunch time he was quickly taking peanuts and burying them in the front lawn, running them up trees and hiding them in the woodpile.
It wasn't long before he had taken them all so I replenished the pile in hopes Athena could see him after school.

Of course he came back. Of course he has since emptied the bird feeders and cleaned up the last remaining apples on our crab apple tree. I am sure in the spring we will have sunflowers growing everywhere from the seeds he will inevitably forget. We'll likely find peanuts stashed in the oddest of places but we don't care. We'll enjoy him all the same. Athena named him Parker.

In other news, Paul took Athena to visit her Grandma and Grandpa for the weekend. She goes about twice a year and I HATE it. She is only 2 1/2 hours away but I have always liked my children to sleep under the same roof as I. I know she'll have lots of fun though and she'll get to eat at McDonald's too. Big highlight for her. They have three schnauzers that she plays with and her cousin Maddie, who is her age as well. On the upside, Paul and I will have the weekend alone. We are planning to go to a movie. Yes, you heard it right, a movie. The last movie we went to in the theatre was 6 years ago. 6 YEARS! After that we are going out for dinner. We plan to do some yoga together on Saturday and Sunday mornings and he will go to the gym in the city and I'll do a bit of shopping. The weather is supposed to be wonderful, in fact it is 16 degrees Celsius as I type this.

Speaking of yoga, my practice is going very very well. Still doing the 75 minute class but I am noticing subtle changes in the asana. Things are becoming more aligned, more centered. I had a fitful practice today because I am still thinking about the family email debate about H1N1 which kind of took a turn for the worse. I started out asking a simple question and it all let loose from there, turning into a debate and who knew more than who. Yikes.

Last night on The National there was a feature about if the media has been irresponsible in reporting the news. One of the doctors interviewed said a resounding Yes. He said we should keep everything in perspective, something he feels the media does not do. He said that 200,000 Canadians die every year. 4000 die of the seasonal flu. Some of them children. Then he said when all is said and done they expect 200 -300 deaths from H1N1. He went on to say that a child is 20 times more likely to die from a car accident that from Swine Flu and that this is NOT a major health event. Perspective. It is all about perspective. And fear mongering. Lots and lots of fear mongering.If you want to check it out click here and start around the 26 minute mark.
Whoa, long post. Have a great weekend all. I know I will. ;)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wall Art

Take a look at my newest wall art. Actually I have had the piece for almost a year and just couldn't get the location quite right. It now hangs in the kitchen where my trusty Renoir print used to hang.

That Renoir used to bring me such joy and I have moved it with us everywhere and it has always been in my kitchen. It just doesn't appeal to me as it used to.

This does! So, dear family, if you are reading this, and I know school pictures have already been taken, please drop a picture of my nieces and nephews in the mail, or a family picture for that matter, so I can add them to my display!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Homeschooling. Round Three

My husband has been subtly suggesting that I home school Athena. He has been making little comments, little observations. This is brand new. For our older girls it was all me, all my idea. All my WORK! Make no mistake, work it certainly is. And dedication. And time. And... well, anything else that means WORK.

But the school year is already two months in. Dare I do it? Makes me wonder.