Category: Winter

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed

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Celebrating a birthday, a Burns day, and a full moon. We dined on “cockadoodle soup” (aka cockaleekie soup, which sounds just as odd, come to think of it) and haggis. There were kilts. The songs all had bagpipes. The girls found their ghillies and performed. And today I am tired and my head aches just a wee bit. Seems just about perfect for the end of January, hey.

Ten-minute tidy

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I do almost all of my exercise in the dark these days.

Spin and weights on Mondays, now, and spin again on Tuesdays, both with the same friend. We catch up on the drives to and from class.

On Wednesdays, I run with another friend. This has been our ritual for several years now, and we go no matter the weather, though we did consider heading for the track yesterday. It was -27C on her outdoor thermometer, so we layered up, and ran a loop around the ‘hood rather than running out to the “country” to see the sunrise. We felt like heroes. But I was so cold by the end that I honestly thought I might perish on my own front porch while my stiff fingers failed to operate the house key — brain apparently had frozen too.

This morning I went to yoga. It was light by the time I got home.

On Friday evenings I run while the kids are at soccer. It’s dark, dark, dark. The photo above was taken on one of those runs. I wear a headlamp and go no matter the weather. I tell myself: if I can do this now, I can do this forever.

On Sundays I play soccer; it’s not dark, but it’s also indoors.

I love watching the light return. But there is something exhilerating about being awake while the world is still sleeping. In my early twenties, I loved being awake and writing at 3 o’clock in the morning. In my late thirties, I love being awake and moving just a few hours later.

*

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Yesterday, my friend Tricia and I taped an interview for our Amazing Race audition video. We are getting help from a friend who is a professional videographer. He brought stuff, including a cameraman and lights. We were in Tricia’s living-room but it felt like being on a set. (She blogged about it too.)
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It was nerve-wracking because one’s strengths and weaknesses felt instantly apparent. I have too much nervous energy! I can’t sit still! It also challenges me to get out of my head, where I’m living rather intensely these days, working on this historical feminist sports romance I seem to be writing.

But it was also really fun. Really fun. I won’t post any photos from yesterday’s shoot (they’re not really mine to post), but here’s one I took last week while our kids were playing. Tricia is trying to teach me how to “frown-smile.” Apparently, I can’t frown-smile. This is more like sad-clown-smile.

Today, Saturday

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Wake to a winter wonderland.

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Date with daughter: Starbucks and errands uptown. Such a good start to the day, I’m thinking every Saturday morning should begin with a date with one of my kids. Albus calls the next one.

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Advent begins. “Mom is so freaky organized she’s got an envelope in her office with advent activities!” (This is true. I just put them away from last year’s calendar, knowing the season would come around before we knew it. And here it is. Looks like we had a lot “hot chocolate for breakfast” last year.)

Today’s activity: Get a tree!

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Uh oh. First we have to clean up the gigantic Lego living-room mess.

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Good opportunity to create a new Lego playspace upstairs instead. Buy small area carpet while shopping for the tree, which comes in a box. Yes, we bought a tree in a box.

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Tree-in-box was family decision: it’s economical and reusable. And it’s not like we’ve been hiking out to our back forty and chopping down an adorable and unique tree replete with picturesque memories that the children will carry with them forever. No, for the past couple of years, following some truly disastrous never-again hiking-around-tree-farm-experiences, we’ve purchased our tree in a Dairy Queen parking lot. So, really …

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Also this afternoon: big kids had their second babysitting gig (he’s the other curly head in the foreground).

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And now it’s dark, and we still haven’t had supper. Kevin and the boys are out picking up a take-out Thai order. I’ve got a very hungry and grumpy child curled in the rocking chair beside me, and another trying to solve a sudoko puzzle at the dining-room table (and she’s stuck on something, from the sounds of it). Also crossed off the list today: fresh sheets for everyone, tons of laundry, library run, creative Shakespeare presentation completed, and — still in the works — bread baking.

Hey, food’s here! As Fooey says, “Let’s eat! Let’s eat!”

Adventures in precipitation

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On the weekend we had snow. Yesterday more snow fell. Grand snow adventures were embarked upon in our backyard.

Tonight it is supposed to rain. Sorry, kids. (I suppose there could be adventures in a cold rain — of the highly realistic, rather miserable variety. But who wants that?)

Spot the sick child

She slept in late after a restless night. She still has a fever, so I kept her home sick. But as soon as she got up, she saw the snow. She’s been playing outside for over an hour. I just peeked, and she’s working on turning the snow fort into a snowperson. Nope, make that snowpeople! “I made a snow angel, too.”

Wish Fulfillment

Wish I had time to blog. That’s on today’s wish list.
If I had more time, I’d write all about Sunday, which was just the best day ever. It shouldn’t have been–Kevin and I were out Saturday night, till late, and should have been punished with hang-overs and early-rising rowdy children, but instead, everyone slept in. Everyone! We lazed around and dozed till late, then rose and decided to get on with our day’s plans. I’d planned a baking day. So I baked: a batch of bread and granola. Also worked on some Christmas presents. Kevin took the kids–all of them!–snowboarding in what became a drizzling rain, after which they went through the McDonald’s drive-through and ordered up some Happy Meals. This happens less than annually in our family, so Kevin and I thought it would be a treat, but the funny thing was, the kids didn’t love the food. It felt like a treat because it was unusual, and because everyone got a toy, but Albus was famished AFTER eating his burger and fries and choc milk, and was forced to scavenge a second meal from our fridge. I felt the same way, and so did Kevin; almost as if we’d eaten nothing, or worse, that we were hungrier than when we began. Our innards are spoiled by all the legumes and fibre and veggies and whole grains we consume every day. But, still, I got a kind of lazy pleasure from the meal.
After lunch, we did … what? I can’t recall in detail, just remember that we spent the whole day together, and happily. The two eldest played Bananagrams. Fooey and CJ played together, too. Happy together.
:::
Yesterday, CJ and I spent the morning together, just the two of us, spewing our fair share of carbon as we zoomed around town running errands, snacking on gummies, swimming at kidsplash, visiting the library, efficient as all get-out. These are the days when I despair for humanity’s ability to do anything productive on climate change. It is so much easier to enjoy life when I’m selfishly transporting myself and my offspring in our personal oil-burning pod. What occurs to me often, and kind of hangs over my head like a cloud, is my belief that the only way to truly effect carbon change is to live a life greatly scaled back: no waste, ever–no wasted drop of water or food (the people who live like this generally do not choose to, but do so because they have to); walking not driving, no matter the blowing sleet and howling babe; skipping kidsplash and library time because it’s too hard to get there, because there’s not quite enough time; all chores that must be done by hand still expend energy, it’s just human energy (mine), not a machine’s. And that takes time. Lots of it. Don’t get me wrong, I truly and sincerely want to live a less wasteful lifestyle, and strive to do so, but on days like yesterday, I sigh inside myself, and secretly feel greedy and grateful for the advantages and undeserved privileges of this crazy, unsustainable North American lifestyle I’m living.
Um, that was a tangent. What I meant to say was: hurray for a day with CJ! Together.
:::
Now I’m all caught up. Now I’ve reached today, and today has been another story. Today I have labelled a “fail” day, though perhaps unfairly. Today it felt like every good intention was thwarted by circumstance. Let me give you an example. I grabbed ten minutes to whip together fresh pumpkin muffins for the kids’ after-school-pre-music-lesson snack. It was after one o’clock and I’d just put CJ into his crib for a nap. Did he fall asleep, like he does every other afternoon at this hour? He did not. Instead, he screamed incessantly, while I madly poured and sifted ingredients. I knew the project would never get done if I brought him downstairs, so I just mixed as quickly as was humanly possible. And then I went to get the pumpkin, roasted last week and stored in the fridge. It was covered in mold. No kidding. That was the kind of day this it was. (Though the reason it’s unfair to label this chain of events a complete fail is that in a blink I substituted applesauce, and the muffins turned out beautifully, quite possibly superior to the pumpkin variety). And no, CJ never went back to sleep. Instead, he got up and hung out all afternoon without sleep. He’s still going strong, leaping up and down in his crib as I type. Though the lack of sleep may have contributed to the rather bad decision (example number two) he made to set up the art-table chairs in front of the couch, and then count, “One, two, three, JUMP!” before leaping off the couch, landing on a chair, crashing it down, and smushing his finger. Seriously. You might ask, why, Perfect Mother, did you not prevent this catastrophe from occurring? (What is that sign on the pool wall? “If you’re out of arm’s reach, you’ve gone too far!”). And I might reply that we needed to leave in two minutes to pick up the big kids for piano, and I was industriously gathering entertainment and snack items in preparation for an anticipated hellish hour of waiting in an empty hallway while entertaining three out of four children. That’s why. Totally not in a defensive tone of voice.
Yes, we were late.
But hey, I did just get my wish. And I feel much much better. Today is looking a whole lot brighter on this side of things. Can I add that I laughed quite a lot (if sometimes in despair), and that the kids enjoyed my comical descriptions of all the day’s tiny calamities as we burned across town, packed into our personal transportation pod, and the snow fell gently, and the roads turned to skating rinks, and we did not get into even the tiniest of fenders bender. So, it wasn’t really that kind of day, after all.
From fail to fine in one little blog post.

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