Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Noah, I Can Relate: Life on the Ark with 3 Kids and a Dog

Well, we are officially ark dwellers. We have crammed our family of 5 into 700 square feet. One queen size bed, one full size pull out and a loft that is meant for storage, but now sleeps two, are our accommodations.

The ark for two is perfect and romantic. The ark for three is cozy. The ark for four is a bit squished. The ark for five, need I say it?

The ark for 5 is a small scale comparison to what Noah felt like on his ark--minus all of the animal pairs.

What once was minimalistic and sleek, is now crammed with at least five of everything. As usual, the pairs that are taking over this family ark come in shoes. Two or more pairs of shoes for each ark dweller adds up to, well, adds up to a lot of shoes.

One thing is for sure, life is an adventure. If Noah could do it, so can we. We at least have much better weather. I don't know if I prefer goats to teenagers, though.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pictures off the Walls, Undeck the Halls

Let's think about this rationally: I started packing up the house in, oh, April. Things keep changing around here, and now I'm still packing and it's, oh, end of June!

I finally had to take down the African Linsang from Birk's door. This is the kind of home that we have. Things are taped here and there. Like I've said before, we live here.

It was sad to take this little piece of the rain forest down. Our home is starting to look more like a house. The vibe is there, but it's empty and lonely without our family and our "stuff."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Up, Down, All Around, Latest Reno Pic

Still packing, still trying to get things squared away. Crazy, just crazy I tell you!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Father's Day To My Dad

My dad has always been the biggest kid. He always has a smile on his face, and in fact, he worked with high school students at his A&W restaurant most of his working career. Not everyone wants to work with teenagers, and not everyone has the patience and skill to do it so well.

I worked with him, and the rest of my family, at the A&W for 13 solid years. Not only did I learn from him as my dad, I learned from watching him handle so many situations. He always trusted me and had high expectations. Life in the fast food lane is chaotic, and he taught me how to handle the chaos with class, time after time.

Now retired, he was the guy that was tough, yet a teddy bear to his employees. Working at the A&W was the first job for a lot of kids, and he gave them their first shot, and sometimes their second chance, after they royally messed up. Yes, his mantra of "You are never too sick to work" is stuck in my brain and my own work ethic.

He also taught us simple things like, when you are on the schedule, you have to show up. However, if no one teaches you this, it's very easy to ignore responsibility--especially when you're a teenager and you'd rather go on that date with a cute boy. Yes, he was my dad, but I think he was dad to a lot of young people during that phase of his life.

My dad is also a finder, and I definitely think he passed this on to me. He can find anything you need. If it's help after you crash your 5th car, he's your guy. If you need a ticket, a missing piece to an old train set, a place to take horseback riding lessons--he will help you find a needle in a haystack, even. Even if you lose yourself, or your way, he can help you find you.

He is always excited about things and life. He loves being a grandfather, or Bompa, as my kids call him. He loves those kids with a passion, and they know it! He embraced grand parenthood with his arms wide open and full of love. No hesitations, no reservations, no crazy advice--he actually is 100 percent in my corner no matter what life throws at me.

Speaking of kids, he is the biggest kid himself. He always has time for people. He always is kind, and a good listener. He will talk to anyone (for a very long time, I learned at a young age) and he is always interested in meeting new people and hearing what they have to say.

One thing that stands out in my mind, is that after I was married, I went directly to Canada. Don't pass go, don't collect your $200 (has inflation effected that?) and don't cruise around on a honeymoon. Get yourself to Canada and hurry up, and well, wait for immigration.

I couldn't work. I couldn't go to school. We had one car that went to work with my husband each day and no money. On my birthday, my dad drove 11 hours to take me out to lunch and take me shopping for "whatever I wanted." I chose new mittens and a hat--it is cold in Ottawa. I think that was one of my best days ever.

When we needed money for our first house, he was there with his checkbook, no questions asked--and I believe most of this was his nature. I think it also was the fact that he trusted me to do the right thing, and the right thing was to pay him back as soon as we could, and we did.

Actually, my dad always expects the world to do the right thing. He is kind and generous with his time and spirit and I think he expects that from the rest of us. Sometimes he is disappointed, but most times not. He will go out of his way to help a stranger, take in stray cats and dogs, and find a silver lining when you're sure that all that is there is rust. When these are the standards, we all try our best to rise up and meet them.

There is so much more to say, but mostly, the biggest thing is thank you. Thank you, dad, for being who you are and teaching the rest of us to be better people by example. Thanks for sticking up for me all of these years, being in my corner, and teaching me how to look at the sunny side of life.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Retro Kitchen Artifacts: the Antique Kavoorkaa

If you remember back to the Seinfeld days, you might remember an episode about Kramer and the "kavoorkaa," a Latvian word for "the lure of the animal." Like many things in pop culture, I've modified the definition, and apply it liberally to my own life.

Seriously, I've taken Seinfeld-isms to the next level. I've bought the complete series dvd set and make my children watch them (when appropriate) so that they can understand why I would ever use a word like "kavoorkaa."

Now, when I am shopping, especially at antique stores, I think about the kavoorkaa. When I touch an item, and linger over it, I know better than to think that it will be there when I return. By holding it and giving it my longing energy, I've kavorkaa'd it.

The next person that comes upon said item, might feel my energy. It will lure them to the purchase, because the positive, longing energy exists.

OK, I am crazy, but I also feel that there is negative kavoorkaa. Sometimes I touch an antique and drop it on the spot. The energy is negative. Creepy. Evil.

All to say, after many visits to one of my favorite antique spots, I finally purchased this thingy as pictured above. A 1950's spoon rack in the shape of a ceramic flower pot. Oh boy. Lucy, this needs some explaining.

I am a woman who has grandma plates. If my grandma ever comes down from heaven, she will find me based on the grandma plates that she purchased with me on a shopping trip in the last months of her life.

I love the old life. The fact that there can be individual salt cellars. The fact that there are so many kinds of forks and spoons and plates. I want the old life. The complicated, but simple. The importance of a beautiful dinner. The slower, more complicated, yet a firm set of rules that establish the next move.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blowing the Roof Off of Things

This is the latest pic. Kind of crazy, but on it's way.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What Your Husbands Are Saying When You're Not Around

I overheard two very nice things this week:

I was sitting in the stands of a baseball game, and two men were talking about their bucket lists. One of them wanted to see a particular sport's team before he kicked the old bucket.

Man 1: That's on your bucket list???
Man 2: It's true, that's one of the things I really want to do.
Man 1: No super models or anything? You don't have a super model on your list to sleep with?
Man 2: I'm married to her.

What you need to know most of all is that his wife wasn't at the game. It was so romantic...and it was a baseball game for goodness sake!

The other thing: I was talking with my Super Dooper Contractor. We were talking about how different people are good at different things.

SDC: Yes, I'm very good at some things, but my wife truly is the other half of my brain that I didn't know I was missing. Yes, she's truly my right hand and I wouldn't know what to do without her.

Awwwwwwwww, shucks! How wonderful and wonderfully romantic to have such things said about you when you're not even around!

That was a bit of sunshine in a week filled with banging, clanging and clouds of construction demolition dust.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Out With Old Memories, In With The New?

We've been moving out of the rooms in our house in stages. Mid-stage, we were due to be out of our master bedroom by June 1st. On June 2nd, we were mostly out, I had a few odds and ends left to box up, but it was looking pretty good.

I came home from errands yesterday, and the entire upstairs hallway was boarded off.

Ugh! No fair warning, my contact lenses were still in their container. Dirty towels, shampoo, a full garbage can--it was all in there. To be clear, we are not remodelling the bathroom, so I was not thinking so much about the "crap" in there.

Ohhhhhhh, but I need that crap. Especially my contact lenses and glasses! And of course, a girl needs her concealer!

Our super dooper contractor (this man seriously should be wearing tights and a cape, he's that awesome!) kindly unbolted the wood and peeled back the plastic and let me go in to clean out my essential lotions and potions.

As I finished boxing up I spied this:
Years ago, we had visited Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory. These were some of the treats we brought home. As I was working on some project or another on my bedroom floor, I looked up to see that Ruth had decorated the inside of the closet door.

Yes, I am the type of mother that would let her kid's willy nilly creation remain on the inside of the closet door. I often don't have the heart to part with any of my kid's creations, and I simply didn't care or mind that this adorned my closet door.

It will all soon be a memory in a matter of minutes. The banging and clanking has started for the day.

My new memories won't be as colorful and childlike in my new bedroom, I'm sure. I'm also a little bit sad about that...

This is why I may have to, HAVE TO, go back to teaching pre school!