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Living Simply or Simply Living ?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I have been spending a lot of time with family this week. Even more than usual. Let's begin with last Sunday...Mr. C's parents came over to spend the afternoon and stay for dinner. It was decided that Mr. C and his father would take our son on his first fishing trip, and Mr. C's mother and the babe and I would stay back at the house. I rarely enjoy the company of my mother-in-law because she is awkward to talk with and has an obsessive compulsive disorder which involves cleanliness. She scans my house in every corner for specks of dirt and fiddles and twitches. The babe was wearing dark corduroy pants which acted like a lint brush as he crawled across the rugs. Got those off him quick, otherwise she wouldn't have been able to hold him.

All was going rather well until the babe, who was sweetly sitting on her lap, decided to grab for her ear, and pulled her earring out. The earring dropped from his fingers and into the crack in the side of the upholstered chair. She put her fingers down the side of the chair and my heart started to race, wondering what bits of crap she might pull out. She comes back up and says "I found it!" and opens her hand; oh, a round cookie crumb, precisely the size of her lost pearl. Damn. She digs her hand back down again and in another quick move, pulls it up and opens her hand as we both look to see a black beetle crawl across her palm. Good Lord...this is a true story, friends. And I am not a slovenly housekeeper. I think that the Gods were playing a cruel joke on me and put that little bugger beetle there. "He must have been snacking on the cookie crumbs" pronounced the mother-in-law. Sigh. We did have some good gossipy talk about Mr. C's sisters, though.

Mr. C returned with the broken elbow on this same afternoon. He slipped and fell into the river while trying to prevent his father from falling off a rock. When they returned, he was focussed on the fact that he was cold and drenched and not at all thinking that he had really hurt himself. We did not know that it was broken that night, and Mr. C went to the doctor the next day and well, I guess I have told you the rest...it is getting slowly better now and he is able to move it a little bit more.

It has been hard for both of us, though. A very mixed up and long week...I am making preparations to visit my brother late next week, who lives a five hour drive away. I will be taking the children and my parents, speaking of whom, were over for dinner tonight. I should have taken photos but did not in all the chaos. We had a lovely asparagus with cheese baked side dish with a bbq and new red potatoes, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. As usual, the parents were off in a flash as soon as the meal was over, with me to fend for myself with the clean-up. Nothing will change at this stage in the game...

I am looking forward to sitting down and relaxing and reading some new magazines I bought today and eating chocolate. I suddenly hear the Hallelujah Chorus ringing in my ears; do you hear it?...

Written by Cathy

But sometimes perfume is stinky...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Never take anything in life but flowers, and from flowers, only the perfume. -Emilie Carles

Written by Cathy

Bits and bobs...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Mr. C broke his elbow (see yesterday's post for context). It took most of the day at the emergency room for him to have this diagnosis confirmed. Lovely health care system we supposedly have here. The doctor apologized and said it was an unusually busy day. Mr. C confirmed this with tales of a man with a screw driver clear through the palm of his hand, another whose foot had been run over by an ATV and so on and on. So now 4-6 weeks of recovery. He does not have a cast, as the break is in a location right on the elbow joint, where a cast would do no good, so he must be extra careful. No picking up either child, etc. etc. Sigh.

I will not be blogging too much this week, I don't think. Work is terribly busy, the children need extra care and attention (i.e. teething, round two), Mr. C's elbow is broken, and I am finding myself without a free moment. Ahh, Life.

Written by Cathy

How was your weekend?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The weekend has been beautiful, with warm weather and lots of activity. My son and I organized our own Earth Day beach cleanup yesterday, and today I spent lots of time in the garden. Mr. C's parents came out and he went fishing with his father and our older son. The fishing trip was a bit of a disaster, with Mr. C up to his armpits in water (not intentional) and now his elbow is paining like crazy. He may need to go to the doctor to check it out tomorrow.

I have a faculty meeting to go to tomorrow and since I typically do not work on Mondays, the childcare arrangements have been a bit chaotic, but things are figured out. It wil just be a hectic day tomorrow...

The garden is getting very green and yellow. I am looking forward to more colours. There are periwinkle blossoms everywhere, so I'll be posting more flower pictures as the season goes...

How was your weekend?

Written by Cathy

Earth Day

Friday, April 21, 2006

"I love the Earth, Mom..." my son spontaneously said to me one day last summer. It was a moment I was able to capture in time, as he looked at the rainbow in the sky. We had just picked a bouquet of weeds from our walk down the road.

Protecting the environment is my passion. For many reasons. But above all else, I owe it to my sons and my grandchildren and theirs, to ensure that they have the ability to drink clean water, breath fresh air and enjoy the natural environment as we are able to today. Everyone can do something. For the sake of our children, nieces and nephews, let's do them this favour. Make every day Earth Day. Care for the Earth like you care for everything else you love most. The environment of Earth is our future, but the Earth is sick; do you choose to take care of it or to turn your back when the Earth needs your help most, when there is still time to make choices. Today is not too late to begin. Here is how.

Written by Cathy

New news, anyone?...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I spoke on the phone with my brother today, and he sounds great. He may get out of the hospital soon, sooner than expected. I will be going to see him for his birthday in a couple of weeks. Even better than the physical recovery, he is meeting with a psychologist, which I think is great and will help him immensely.

I have been up to my ears hiring summer researchers and filling out paperwork. Blech blech blech, but it will be a great thing once we are all working away on projects this spring and summer.

The weather is still cold and rainy. It actually snowed a bit yesterday morning and might again tomorrow (nothing that stuck to the ground). Seeing flurries, even if they are simply swirling in the sky this late in the season, is horrible. At the same time, I can hear the spring peepers chirping away, heralding the arrival of new frogs :)

Now, I have three hours of housework to cram into ten minutes, before Survivor begins...

Written by Cathy

Are you with the grain, or against it?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I am definitely in the against the grain category when it comes to most topics. Or at least I think I am. Maybe there are more people out there that think like me that I know. When you read the news and listen to the general public's impression of things, I find myself constantly shaking my head. I get this sense that the world (at least the Western world) has it's priorities entirely messed up. The things that get the masses upset versus the things that can't even catch the media's attention frustrate me to no end.

Here are a few examples...The new Canadian Conservative government is going to give $1200 to every parent with a child under 6 to help pay for childcare costs. No thank you. What are people supposed to do if there are no available childcare spaces for them to spend their $1200 on? I think most Canadians will end up spending that money on beer. Spend the money where it will actually do something. I am going to donate mine to the NDP party.

North Americans are collectively boiling about the state of gas prices. Maybe if you weren't driving freaking gas-guzzling kill-the-environment tanks every day, you wouldn't be so upset about spending $90 to fill up your tank. I think gas hikes are a good thing. It seems to be the only time that people stop and think about whether they really need to drive from here to there and actually use words like conservation. Because they feel the economic impact. Maybe those car-poolers, bus driving, bicycling types aren't so foolish after all, they might start to think. Cutting down on gasoline consumption might not end up as a result of environmental concern but out of personal financial interests, but regardless, the outcome is the same. And stop whining and go out and get a small, fuel efficient vehicle next time. Don't even get me going on the whole gas guzzling society that we live in...but I think I've already started.
What do you think?

Written by Cathy

On and on and on...

Monday, April 17, 2006

What do you do when you have nothing and everything on your mind? I am fidgety tonight. I have this mastered, the art of fidgeting. I have to be busy, but when I am, I complain about it. When I'm not, I complain about that too. When I am relaxed I feel guilty for not being busy. When I am busy, I wish I had nothing to do. Do you have this problem as well?

I don't think I should blog when I am in this frame of mind, because then my thoughts pour out in a rather disconnected and uninteresting way.

I am reading; The Children's Blizzard, by David Laskin. It is a great story but not that well written and so far too much unnecessary detail. I still think it is worth reading, because it is a story about weather, after all.

What else could I tell you? I had a good day. I have a really busy and long one tomorrow. My student is defending their thesis in the morning and I have a meeting to attend tomorrow night.

There are no holidays on the horizon, no birthdays, no particular events to plan for. So I guess my mind has shifted into a bit of a void until the haze clears and I emerge with a clear head again. The weather is persistently cold and rainy and will be all week, so there is no gardening to be done. No good shows on tv tonight. I think I will go and read some of your blogs now and read about interesting things you are doing.

Written by Cathy

Easter come and gone again...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

We were all up at six o'clock and the baskets were emptied by 6:15.
The bunny had hidden eggs outside around the house and so out went Mr. C and my son into the cold and damp. We went to church and then to my sister's house for lunch. Both went amazingly well. We stopped into my mother-in-law's house, which went amazingly not so well. Perhaps more on this another time... I ate copious amounts of sugary crap and am coming down from a sugar high.

After a nice Easter dinner and baths, my son and I had the chance to play together and really enjoy each other's company, which is something we can not do when the babe is awake and demanding full attention. Monday is usually my hardest day of the week, so I am going to try and squeeze extra minutes out of tonight. The entire week ahead is supposed to be rainy and cold. My fingers are crossed for a cranky-free day tomorrow.
Did the bunny come to your house?

Written by Cathy

Good Friday Part 2

Friday, April 14, 2006

"Every egg needs a happy face..."

"...with a beard."

After. (these will be turned into deviled eggs for Sunday)

Spiegel Ei und Oster pfeffernusse

It's 8:00 pm now and both boys are asleep in bed, but I am exhausted from Easter activities, cleaning and listening to Mr. C's hypochondriac sister rant on for two hours. It's not quite dark out yet and the windows are open, with a cool spring breeze coming through as the waves can be heard gently rolling outside. I am going to read magazines and look through books and look forward to tomorrow. We will go out on errands and then go to my mother's house for dinner.

Happy Easter Weekend, Friends.

Written by Cathy

Good Friday: How is yours?

Today is "Good Friday", which means that devout Christians will be going to church and those of us who are not so devout stay home and make Easter goodies with bunnies and eggs. We finished our gingerbread Easter Bunny house and are dyeing eggs. Mr. C's sister and her husband are coming this afternoon for coffee and cake. It is a rainy foggy day today which suits me just fine. I can clean the house without being fidgety about being out in the garden.

What are you doing today?

Written by Cathy

If only I could have smacked you back...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The weather has been extraordinarily warm and sunny these past few days and everyone is spilling out of their houses and out into their yards and gardens and into the city as well. Downtown Halifax was like one massive street festival, with people clad in shorts and tank tops, as though we were smack dab in the middle of the Caribbean or something. Amazing how warm 18 degrees C can feel when we have recently emerged from -18.

As I was driving in the city today, watching for flip-flopping pedestrians meandering through the streets in their heatwave bliss, I saw three teenagers with skateboards tucked under their arms walk my way. The look in their eyes dared me to continue driving as they walked out into the street. Willing to play at their game of dare, I continued to drive. Pissed off that I did, one of them swung his skateboard and hit the back end of my car. So much for the blissful feeling of spring in the air. Tonight my dreams will be disturbed by images of me swinging that kids' damn skateboard back at him.

Written by Cathy

How does your garden grow?...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Very slowly, when you live in my latitude...but things have been coming out of the ground fast and furious these past few days, because the sun is warm and bright. I sit by my window and glance outside every so often, willing the plants to grow a little faster, all the while supposedly working and writing. But really, I just want to go out and play in the dirt. By late June those plants will be big bright yellow and orange lilies.

I am also tempted and distracted by the myriad travel guides scattered around the house. We are planning a trip for next spring. A serious trip. Right now the top of our list is Italy. Naples and Tuscany. I would like to go to Sicily as well.

What do you think? I welcome your advice....

Written by Cathy

Monday with Cathy

Monday, April 10, 2006

I went to see Tuesdays with Morrie last night, which was wonderful and exceeded all expectations. The actor who played Morrie was phenomenal and it turned out that I went to highschool with the Mitch character...
The babe is on the move (horizontally and vertically), which had me pulling my hair out today. I can't leave him for a minute. And my five year old wants my constant attention as well. It was a rough Monday. But I am looking forward to the coming long Easter weekend.

Written by Cathy

Saturday Captions

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"I wish for...endless hours of computer games and every weekend at Crystal Palace...."

"Somebody please get me out of these pants; the waistband is cutting off my circulation. No more clothes in the name of cuteness. Comfort first, please."

We had our own birthday luncheon today for our son who is the most amazing boy I could ever have wished for. I love him more than all the Earth. And what a nice time we had. And then we were off to another birthday party; at a bowling alley, the pit of hell for children's parties. The mother had booked two hours of bowling for a group of five year olds, who got bored after 15 minutes. She had no other plans; no cake, nothing. If academia fails me, I am going to become a children's party planner. And....mix-matching party hats and napkins is kosher.

The best chocolate cake frosting recipe ever:

brown sugar, packed 1/2 cup (125 mL)

water 1/4 cup (60 mL)

butter or margarine 3 tbsp. (50 mL)

cocoa 2 tbsp. (30 mL) (I added another 1/2 tbsp)

Put the above four ingredients into a saucepan. Stir. Bring to boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool.

Icing sugar 1 cup (250 mL)

Vanilla 1 tsp. (5 mL)

Add icing sugar and vanilla. Stir. Add a bit more icing sugar if needed. Makes about 3/4 cup (200 mL). Enough for one cake.

Written by Cathy

A glimpse at my brain...it's not pretty.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Things that entered my mind today....

Since National Geographic has now revealed new evidence that Judas is in fact a good guy, I wonder what this will do for their image?...

Would five year olds notice if Winnie the Pooh party hats don't match the Madagascar napkins?...

What is the best, no really, the BEST chocolate frosting recipe? Because I tried the first one I googled a few weeks ago and it turned out like pudding. I made boiled fudge frosting tonight from a random cookbook from my shelf and it is divine. Want the recipe?

I get really passionate about things and have this narcissistic sense of being able to fix things that are wrong in the world. But when it comes to illness and disease; nada. But I can donate time and money to these people, in the hopes that someone with real capabilities will be able to do something.

Climate change is going to impact us all, sooner than we ever could have imagined. "Be worried, be very worried" says the recent issue of Time. But at this very moment, our new Conservative government has decided to cut Climate Change funding. Here we go....

I haven't been blogging much. Mr. C complained about it tonight; I think he learns more about me from reading this blog than from living with me :)

Good night and good weekend friends.

Written by Cathy


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I haven't been blogging much these past few days. Post-vacation and work and birthdays have me hopping. I will likely be back to read your posts more and post myself more by next week if not sooner.

My parents and my sister are back from seeing my brother. He is well but not well. Still in the intensive care ward and still having bad epileptic seizures. The concern is how this is affecting his brain. My mother told me tonight that the doctor informed them that he will not work another day in his life. He will get through this but his condition is about as far from ideal as one can imagine. He is married and has two daughters. He has been dealt a bad card in life. As have so many.

I hope you are all well. And enjoying the spring weather...

Written by Cathy

Warm Weekend

Sunday, April 02, 2006

No, we didn't decide to take a last minute deal vacation to the Dominican, as so many Canadians do this time of year...why be typical, especially when you can drive a mere 3 hours to your neighbouring province of New Brunswick and spend the weekend at an indoor hotel/amusement park. All the while, fooling yourself that the balmy indoor temperatures are mirrored outside, when it is actually still the tail-end of winter...

This was a special trip for my son, who is turning five and is the most amazing and special person. He loves going here, and so we gave him this trip as our birthday gift to him. We had a really wonderful and yes, even relaxing time. Good family fun.

The view from the window of our hotel room.

Crystal Palace.

Games that suck your wallet dry (but fun all the same).

Roller coasters....wheee!!

Mini-Golf (over and over again...)

Learning to swim.

And a movie to top it off: Skat :)

The babe's first merry-go-round ride.

On Sunday, we were on our way here, but drove on backroads (thank you, Mapquest), and ended up on the top of a mountain, driving on a slick dirt road in a snow squall. More on this at another time! In frustration, we turned back and didn't end up spending time outdoors or experiencing the supposed best view in Canada. We had a really lovely time, though. It is hard to be back and facing reality again.

Reality includes a call from my mother late last night to tell me that my brother is in the intensive care. He lives 5 hours away and has had a string of terrible epileptic seizures. After much debate about whether she would go and see him or not (given that she has a cat to care for and might need to tidy the house for a cat sitter and such...) I lost it and told her to shut up and go. I may also be going at some point, but will be waiting to hear more today.

I will drop by and comment as soon as I get the chance. I hope you've all been well.

Written by Cathy

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