Sunday, 20 November 2011

daffy nuptials

Something you can count on is that nothing stays the same. The cute little fluffy ducklings of the spring are now full grown ducks, laying eggs and "doing things", as Simon puts it. These "things" are what led him to think that the ducks should really get married. And because we are just that weird, we decided to do it.
Here are some snapshots of the big day:

 Bill and Dipper, the grooms, waiting expectantly for Lucky and Constance.


Here come the brides!



The ceremony was short and sweet, perfect for a duck's attention span.



Simon took care of the flowers.
(It wasn't easy this time of year, I think my mums suffered a bit.)



I made the ducks a wedding cake.
They didn't get to cut it themselves, but they did get to have some!



I'm not sure cake is something they like. Crazy ducks!



And finally, the event wouldn't be complete without a honeymoon.


And that's it! May they enjoy long, happy lives of marital bliss.
Raise a glass with me, "To the quacky couples"!



Wednesday, 2 November 2011

rabbit trick

My son's bunny disappeared on Monday. This bunny, Hester (named after Hester Gray from the Anne of Green Gables series) is a cute little fluff-ball who lives with our eight chickens. She was there on Sunday evening when the kids put the chickens away for the night, but when they went out to feed them Monday morning, she was gone! The chicken coop has interior walls with straw behind them for insulation (this is Canada) that the bunny has been gnawing on all winter, so I thought maybe she had managed to get inside the walls. I ripped the interior walls out all around where she had been chewing, frantically searching for her, but to no avail. She was gone. How she could have escaped was a mystery to all of us. Every night this week, as the weather gets colder, we've been wondering where she is and how she is managing. How long could a pet bunny survive on her own around here? There was nothing we could do and I felt just awful about it.
On Saturday afternoon we thought we'd better get to fixing the walls in the chicken coop. The old interior walls were just hardboard and they needed replacing, so my wild frenzy of wall destruction wasn't anything we didn't need to do anyway. It could have been done more neatly though. I started by cleaning the floor. As I cleared away straw and, umm, other stuff, (remember, chicken coop) from along the back wall I heard something. A scuffle and a squeak. Jiminy Jillikers! Could the bunny be in the back wall?! She hadn't chewed a hole there; how was that possible?! I called the whole family in there to help rip the wall off. After all, if it wasn't the bunny I might need help with whatever it was. (Giant weasel, rabid squirrel, killer moth...who knows?) and if it was her, well, I didn't expect her to be in very good shape and I didn't want to be traumatized alone. (I know, really wussy. Better to traumatize my children than deal with a half-dead rabbit on my own. I'm not proud of myself, but there it is.) As my son tore away the wall, out popped the spunkiest little gray ball of fluff you could ever want to see! Negatively affected by being trapped in a wall for five days? Not this plucky gal! She's good to go. Water? Yes please! A little something to nibble on? Why, yes, I think so. Other than that, all's well.
So, how did she get there? The best we can work out is that she managed to get up into the loft, where there are no interior walls, and fall down the back between the interior and exterior walls. So we've taken measures to see that it can't happen again.
Life with animals; always an adventure!

This is Hester when she was just a wee little bunny.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

my cakes

So I've been working on my cake decorationg skills. Here's a little slideshow I put together of what I've done so far:

video

Now I just need to work on my photography skills! 

Monday, 19 September 2011

the scariest thing I've ever seen

It was terrifying. I've been dealing with a cold or flu or something; generally feeling cruddy. I woke up in the middle of the night last night, shuffled down the hall to the bathroom and turned on the light. Then I saw it... the most horrifying face. Swollen and puffy, splotchy and squinty... it was, of course, my own reflection in the mirror. Did I mention that I'm getting close to forty?
Mental note; do not turn on the light in the middle of the night any more, especially not while ill.

Friday, 16 September 2011

message in a bottle

As I was getting the recycling ready to put out (By the way, is it wrong that I miss the old days when garbage was garbage and we didn't have wash, separate or generally think about it? We just put it out and it went away.) I noticed this bottle:


Let's take a closer look at that:


"New easy grip bottle"?! Seriously?! Is that really necessary? Were people really having so much trouble with the old design? If folks were dropping their bottles all the time, perhaps it should have been seen as an indicator that the rum to coke ratio was a bit off. This seems like an overreaction to me.

Monday, 12 September 2011

If I could save time in a bottle...

This makes me feel really stupid, but I don't understand the concept of "spare time". What is it? How does one come by it? Is it found in the couch cushions and kept in a jar beside the "spare change"? Last time I checked, everyone had the same 24 hours in a day. What am I doing wrong that I don't seem to have extra pieces of it kicking around? By the time I take care of all the basics the day is pretty much used up. I do spend time doing things just for fun, but I don't do them during any "spare" time, I steal time for that kind of stuff! It gets stolen from time I should be spending doing other stuff, like cleaning a toilet or returning a phone call.
Actually, it's funny how many word that we apply to time can also be applied to money; we spend it, save it, waste it and most of all, run out of it.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Parental Power!

I recently remembered a conversation that hubby and I had years ago, before we had kids. We were talking about parenting and how parents really create a culture for their children. Then we thought how funny it would be to have kids and raise them as an experiment. We could make up strange holidays and weird traditions that would feel normal to the kids, but no one else would understand, like Spatula Day. We could teach them that this annual event commemorated the invention of the frying pan, and that it was celebrated by wearing a spatula on your belt and greeting each other with flailing arms, saying "Hail Teflon!".

(And our kids would look like some cross between the Walmart happy face and Ralph Wiggum.)

When we decided to have kids, though, we forgot all about our experiment idea.
 The reason I'd been thinking about this again is that I think we ended up doing it anyway by accident. We seem to have raised kids who (like their parents) just don't fit in anywhere. They behave in strange, counter-cultural ways. No, no, we don't celebrate Spatula Day, but we seem to have done some equally weird things to our kids. For example, they think that "shut up" and "stupid" are swear words. Also, they think that it's normal to want to spend time with their parents, to think independently of their friends and to spend free time outside. Oh, and they're vegetarians. Poor kids, how will they ever be productive members of society now?!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Cake!

Yesterday was my son's twelfth birthday, and so I, of course, made him a cake. He wanted a duck pond on it, with ducks. White ducks, like his pets. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I ask them what they want on their cake, and then feel obligated to create what they request? Who do I think I am, anyway?
Well, I gave it my best shot. I bought some gum paste and played around with it, and I don't think I did too bad a job for my first time with the stuff.
Here is the finished product:



Actually, I like some of the shots I took before I wrote on it better. Like these:


This picture makes me feel like I'm sneaking up on the ducks. Hee hee hee!

I see all the flaws, (messy buttercream, bad piping, crumbs in the icing, insane duck eyes...) but my son was delighted with it. He wanted me to send it to Cakewrecks as a Sunday Sweet. I don't think I'll be doing that (Have you seen how beautiful those cakes are?!?!) but it was sweet of him to think it was that good! Ah, to be twelve again.


* One last thing *
 I found out that eating mocha mud cake with thick, gooey buttercream for dinner (Yes, that's right, for dinner.) will provide excellent fuel for a morning jog the next day!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

My Wasabi Experience

There is a new restaurant in town; a sushi restaurant! We finally ate there last week and it was so good, I wanted more. So, today we got some take out. It came with such a cute little container of wasabi; how could I resist something so cute? I know it's hot, even though I've never tried it before (in fact that is why I've never tried it before) so I just had a little bit.
Yechky! Nasty stuff! I couldn't get rid of the taste! How does anyone enjoy that?! Okay, lesson learned; I do not like wasabi.
And then, it happened. The stabbing pain behind my right eye, the general feeling of unwell that means not only do I not like wasabi, it will also give me a migraine. Now I extra don't like it!
And then, well, it took me a while to understand this, partly because I was stupified by pain, and partly because I have never personally experienced hives before, but I also discovered that I am allergic to wasabi.

That is a terrible picture, but I'm sure that is what wasabi is thinking.

I really, really, really don't like wasabi.

In case you were worried, I'm fine now. Thanks for your concern.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

I got to see it this time! I've barely slept the past few nights because I kept getting up to check on the chrysalis, but it is finally over and I didn't miss it! Check it out:


It was so amazing to watch. Seeing that butterfly flit around my garden and realizing that just hours before it had been packed up tight in that chrysalis was kind of boggling. It set me thinking. I think there is a great lesson in the butterfly, but I'll get to that another day. For now, just be amazed.
"Ordinary white light has within it all the colours of the rainbow when viewed the right way. Likewise, an ordinary day contains a full spectrum of beauty, if only we know how to see it. My mission: just be dazzled."

Friday, 12 August 2011

Coming soon...

I feel like an expectant mother. For the past couple of weeks I have been awaiting the moment, and it will be soon, I can tell.
This is what I'm waiting on:

I think I need some photography lessons; that is not a great picture!

It is a Monarch chrysalis. We brought a cute little half-inch long caterpillar into the house, put him in a jar and fed him all the milkweed he could eat until he formed this lovely chrysalis. I am really hoping that when the moment arrives for him to emerge that I will see it. The last time we did this it happened overnight. When we went to bed it was a chrysalis and in the morning, a butterfly. (It made me feel a bit like Spongebob when he thought the butterfly was a monster that ate his friend Wormy!)
If all goes well, my next post will be of a butterfly.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Mmm... coffee

Sometimes I think I love coffee just a little too much. That first mouthful in the morning is just heaven some days. The way you can feel the heat from it all the way down your throat, and then spreading like magic until it delivers happiness to the brain. A good cup of coffee in your favourite mug can turn a bad day around.

My favourite mug.

I gave up drinking coffee for quite a few years. I had been a serious coffee drinker in my youth. (Two pots a day of black coffee when I was 18.) It started to not sit so well, so I gave it up. I was okay with that; I got to the point that I didn't miss it. I would even have a cup occasionally, but I didn't start drinking it all the time again until.... The Machine.
Hubby came home from a friend's house raving about their coffee. He said I had to try it. I really didn't get what he was so excited about; coffee is coffee, right? There is good and bad, sure, but how great could this stuff be? And then I tried it. Elixir of the gods, it was. This coffee machine made the best cup of coffee I had ever had. I must have this machine. I won't go into what I went through to track it down; the investigating; the months of waiting; the tears of frustration. Finally, I acquired The Machine. And what do I do at every chance I get? I share a cup of coffee with some other poor soul, destroying their future ability to ever enjoy a sub-par cup of joe ever again.
Mwah ha ha!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Annual Elora trip, with pictures!

We did a family day-trip to Elora this week. We do this every summer, and this year I remembered to bring my camera! Unfortunately, I frequently forgot that I had it with me, so I didn't photograph all I could have, but here are some of the things that interested me enough for me to remember to snap them!
Due to construction we took a detour through Orangeville. As soon as I saw this place I was scrambling to unzip my camera bag. I wish we'd been able to stop so I could get a better picture of...
Ghostbusters Headquarters!
Okay, it's not exactly like it, but that's what it made me think of. It is the town's old fire hall.
See:


There is a store/gallery in Elora that has these really cool benches that are carved out of tree roots. They are really comfortable, as well as looking super-nifty!


It was inside this store/gallery that I found the piece I really want, though. I don't remember what the price on it was, I just remember that it was a lot. Check it out:


Doesn't that look great? But that isn't all; look at this:

video

How fantastic is that?! I love it! We were thinking of a steampunk theme for when we finally finish the family room; I think that table would look awesome in there!
That was about it for photo-worthy stuff. It was an incredibly hot day and we mostly gasped for air in the antique stores and shivered as our sweaty underclothes got chilly in the air-conditioned shops.
We're looking forward to going again next year!

Monday, 18 July 2011

My 15 milliseconds

How silly am I that this just made my day?
 Cake Wrecks (which I love, love, LOVE!) did a post on Saturday featuring submissions from fellow stalkers followers, one of which was this absolutely adorable photo:

Get the story behind the photo at cake wrecks.

 So, being the strange little person that I am, and having some time on my hands, I embellished a bit. Here are the results of my goofiness:

I sent this off to Cake Wrecks to give them a giggle, and they put it up on their Facebook page, where hundreds of people are seeing it, and liking it!
 Is it just ridiculous that this gives me a thrill?

A movie and a discovery

We finally watched The King's Speech last night. It was a good movie, it really was, but I was far too distracted by the cast. Hubby and I couldn't go five minutes without saying "You know who that is?" about almost every actor in the movie. That is when I discovered something disturbing about myself. More about that in a minute; right now I want to mention some of the faces we recognised. Obviously, Colin Firth, who plays King George VI is Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. The wife of the man who became king was Helena Bonham Carter, who most of us know as Bellatrix Lestrange, but I always have to tell my hubby that she was the drug addict that Sonny falls in love with in Miami Vice. Yes, that's how old I am. Churchill was portrayed by the same man who played Wormtail in Harry Potter, and King George V will always be Dumbledore to me. King Edward VIII has fought with morlocks, the speech therapist's wife finds Darcy "insufferable" and she won't marry the theatre director, even though it means her mother "will never see her again!" No wonder I was distracted. (If anyone can actually follow all of that, they have my undying admiration!)
Okay, the disturbing thing I learned about myself was that I am one of those people. You know, the people who can't live without their little communication devices; the people who will text a message to someone while you are having a conversation with them. Those people are so annoying, and I am one of them. Last night, every time we couldn't quite identify one of the actors I picked up my iPod and satisfied my curiosity. Could I just wait until the movie was over? No! The desire for instant gratification has become very strong, and only because I have the means to satisfy the desire. Weird, eh? If I never had this hand-held technology I would never have missed it, but now that I have tasted having the world at my fingertips I can't wait twenty minutes to have a trivial question answered. Pathetic! 

Friday, 8 July 2011

Dusty treasures

My sons, through methods and with reasons I cannot fathom, have discovered a love for antique stores. They revel in looking through the heaps of dusty rubble, unearthing treasures. Having spent time with them at various such nests I have myself developed an interest in broken old jewelry. I'm beginning to collect some of these pieces in hopes of restoring some and "converting" others.
I like the intricate detail on this piece. (It doesn't show up so well in the picture, sorry.) I'm planning on replacing those hangy bits with something daintier, perhaps some colour too.


I think these clip-on earrings are absolutely hideous, but I love the orange crystals dangling from them. I'll be taking those off and using them elsewhere. Also, the scroll-ish looking bit along the bottom that the dangling parts are hanging from are quite pretty, if I can just find a way to separate them from the ugly part.

See what I mean? It's like a peacock's tail!

I thought these glass beads were pretty. I'd like to find a way to feature each one of them; they're so interesting.

This bracelet I love, just the way it is. It's sad that some of the stones are missing. I'd love to replace them if I can. Even if I can't I'll be wearing it as is anyway.
Hopefully I'll be getting around to doing the things I have planned for this stuff sometime soon.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Farmer Nod

I grew up in a farming community. My Dad farmed, our neighbours farmed, our friends farmed; most of the people you would encounter driving down the road were farmers. This was not lucrative farming, though. Most of them had another job too, which meant that they worked pretty much all the time. From chores before dawn to an eight-hour shift somewhere to bringing in the hay long after dark, these guys knew hard work. I attribute the standard form of greeting that I grew up seeing to this. When these folks passed one another they didn't wave (hands probably busy) or say "Hello", (probably loud machinery running) what they did was what I affectionately refer to as "the farmer nod". It looks like this: compress your lips, almost smiling but not; dip your head down a small amount and back up, one time, quickly; maintain eye contact. This is done all together at lightning speed, like a reflex. This is a very efficient and very effective form of greeting among farmers, and I have learned it instinctively. This is how I greet people all over the place whether I'm walking, biking, running, whatever. The problem is, I no longer live in the farming community. People don't seem to understand that what I am doing should be considered a friendly gesture. Instead they seem to think that I'm some sort of lunatic with an uncontrollable tick. I'm trying to remember to wave or say "hello", but the farmer nod does not want to be shaken. I just hope I can retrain my brain before someone decides to have me locked up.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

My Running Shorts

You know it's time to take action when you get the muffin-top effect with a pair of sweatpants. Okay, to give myself a break, they aren't regular sweatpants, they are those wonderful running shorts that are made of spandex and steel, or some such combo. You know, the ones that don't give at all, the ones that are indestructible and impervious to everything but stink. (Thanks New Balance.) Allow me to illustrate:


The part of me that is in the shorts looks great, it's just all the, um, excess above and below the shorts that have become a problem. (That and breathing.) So I'm thinking that what I need is a garment made out of this mystical fabric that comes up higher, higher, pushing the fat up, up, up until my entire body is held perfectly in place, looking fantastic! The problem would be what to do with the tremendous fat blob on the top of my head.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Giggle guarantee

Try this: serious skipping. I'm not talking about rope-jump skipping, I'm talking about la-la-la down the sidewalk skipping. Try to skip with a serious expression on your face; I think it might be impossible. Actually, what is more fun than doing this is watching someone else try to do it. I know it sounds weird, but if you find yourself down in the dumps, this will cure you!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Dreary, dirty dishes

The dishwasher died.


 It has been over a year now since I started washing our dishes by hand. At first I enjoyed it. The dishwasher had been dying slowly for a while and was doing a pretty poor job by the end, so I was happy to be getting the dishes actually clean. "It's such a satisfying feeling," I told my hubby, "getting everything all nice and clean!" Yeah, nice.
 Fast forward to now. Satisfaction lessening, irritation increasing. The other day I found myself standing in the kitchen giving serious thought to smashing every last dirty dish. "Now that would feel satisfying!" I thought, "But wait, then I would have that mess to clean up. Maybe I could just throw them all out and buy new dishes? That's it; all brand new dishes! But, I would have to wash them before we could use them. I guess I might as well just wash these ones. Ho hum."

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Approval

I keep thinking about this question of motivation. Ultimately it seems to come down to needing approval. That is why we want the pat on the back; we want to know that we are seen as valuable, to be approved. That just brings me to another question.
Why do we want anyone else's approval anyway? Does it matter? And who are we looking to obtain this approval from? Anyone and everyone? Or just an elite group? I was mulling this all over while I was running, whick can lead to some bizzarre thoughts, but I really want to sort this out. I don't want to be motivated by a need for approval. I want more than that. So what I thought was that all I should really need is God's approval. Talk about the ultimate in delayed gratification though; I won't know I have that approval until I'm dead! Maybe that's why it's easier to settle for the approval of other people, at least you get it right away. I think I'd like to aim for the big prize though. The approval of God. Yeah, that's what I want. Next question: How?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Motivation

What is it that motivates us to do the things that we do? Do we want recognition, or pats on the back? Do we genuinely want to help people or relieve the suffering of others?
There was a storyline on Friends where they decided that there is no such thing as a completely unselfish act. Even when we do something for someone else, so the idea went, if we even feel good about it then it has been selfish. Exaggeration for humour, yes, and of course I wouldn't go that far, but it does raise an interesting point. How often do we really do something without looking for some kudos? It seems very hard to have worked hard at something or made some sacrifice for someone, only to be overlooked. Even if we weren't hoping for any congratulations, it hurts to see someone else get the thanks when you yourself feel ignored. So, given that, I find I really need to ask myself, what was my motivation to begin with?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Precarious Pedestal

The ultimate test of my character seems to be to view myself through the eyes of my own children, complete with the moral filters that my hubby and I instilled in them. There is something so deflating about seeing the sweet young face of your child disappointed in you, not because you didn't buy him the toy/candy/whatever that he wanted, but because he heard you swear.

 The older my kids get, the lower my pedestal is, and that's okay. I don't really want them to see me as an unrealistic ideal, but I do wish I could actually be something closer to that ideal than I am. there have been several occurrences of me being disappointing, but it seems to happen less often for the hubby. Most recently, however, it was his turn.
 We have an ongoing problem with raccoons. We even bought a live trap so that we could catch them and drive them far away from our house to start a new life, probably annoying someone else. Two nests of robin's eggs under our deck have been destroyed by raccoons, frogs have been killed and (most annoying to me) these raccoons have decided that our deck makes a nice toilet. Almost every morning there is a fresh pile of poop for me to clean up. We have been trying to keep them off the deck at night by blocking the stairs. After all, raccoons must certainly observe conventions such as stairs; they wouldn't climb over the railing, right? Hubby went out before bed the other night to reconstruct our crafty barricade. When he was done and about to come back into the house, he heard a noise on the deck. It was dark and he couldn't see much, but what he did see was a raccoon, pulling itself up the side of the deck. Now if it had been me, I would have dashed inside; I have the proper respect for those nasty little teeth and claws.


 My hubby though, he's going to fight! Frantically searching for some sort of weapon, he laid his hands on the only thing available, a plastic watering can. With some some previously unknown mad swordplay skills, he jabbed and poked at that thing until it was begging for mercy, just clinging to the top of the railing. Then, he delivered the final blow. For a quick switch of weapons he dropped the watering can and grabbed a large Rubbermaid bin. Raising it high in the air, he brought it down full-force on the fuzzy head of our unwanted intruder.
Alone in his room, listening to the struggle from his bed, our son heard a THWACK, followed by a THUD, followed by "Get out of here you little sh*t!"
 And that is how my hubby fell an increment down the pedestal in our youngest son's eyes.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Quack!

And here are the new occupants of the dog crate:


These are my son's two-week-old ducklings, fresh from their daily splash in the tub. Cute, aren't they?
Here they are, going from their bath back into the crate:

video

It makes me laugh every time I hear them walking across the kitchen floor, or should I say, it quacks me up! (Oh, groan.)



Thursday, 23 June 2011

Guessing Game

Yesterday afternoon found me far from my usual routine; I bought a dog crate. This is particularly unusual because I do not own a dog. Oh, but there is a plan! And you get to play my guessing game! So, can you guess who is going to live in the dog crate?
Here is the crate, all ready for it's new inhabitants:


Okay, guess!

Need a hint? There are four of them.

Need another hint? Their names are Dipper, Constance, Lucky and Possibly Bill.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Beginning (Isn't that an original title)

A few times now I have been told that I really should blog. I suspect that this is because my friends don't really want to hear the little stories that I think are funny. At first it seemed like a nice bit of flattery. I would email my friends a silly anecdote about something like, oh, my struggle to get my vacuum out of the closet. (Really, it is a funny story!) When they replied, "LOL You should put that on a blog!", I would think they were so amused by my tale that they thought I should share it with the world. Perhaps, though, they just want me to stop polluting their inbox with my semi-entertaining accounts of woe. If I had a blog, then just maybe they wouldn't have to hear about my inability to shave my armpits with my dull razor. Yeah, maybe.