Tag Archives: Amazing Race

Day of Whine and Noses…

Warning to my regular readers…this is not my typical “everything is wonderful” post…

Anna and I are home sick today…she has the flu, and Hope was generous enough to give me a cold…since I’ve been awake since 3:30 a.m., I decided that I should probably stay home from the bookstore. 

AWOL Bloggers

There seems to be a rash of good bloggers lately who are “taking a break” or quitting blogging completely.  Your public misses you…please come back (you know who you are)! 

Pothole Piss-off

Thursday night, we blew another tire on the Mazda 6 when we hit one of the 30,000 potholes lurking on our local streets…it was the second tire we’ve had to replace in two months!  Seriously…it’s spring…the snow is long gone!  Fix the damn holes!

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

I think it’s rained every day of May so far…they’re predicting a sunny day for Kaylee’s birthday on the 22nd…I won’t hold my breath!  Luckily, our landlord was able to get our garden plot plowed for us on Saturday morning…he kindly extended it another 6 feet so that we’d have more space.  If it would stop raining for a while, I might be able to get some seeds planted, and my seedlings put outside…they’re definitely not very happy in my back kitchen:

Lackadaisical plants in the back kitchen..."We need sun, Mom!"

Cheers and Tears

Saturday morning was Anna’s provincial cheerleading championships.  The Harbour View High team performed very well…they were enthusiastic and tight, and there weren’t any major mistakes.  I was sure they’d be called back…I was wrong…again!  Congratulations to the repeat champions, Harrison Trimble High, whose performance was flawless, as usual!  Special kudos to the team from Carleton North High, who I also thought should have been called back…they have improved a lot since the beginning of the year!   I would like to give a shoutout to Fredericton High, who kept the crowd entertained all season in between performances with their infectious dancing!  They were the embodiment of “spirit” even though they were never called back!

Harbour View High team after Provincials...Anna is crouching down in the middle of the back row (photo by Brianna)

   

Network Numbnuts  

I watch very little network TV, so I was upset on the weekend to learn that ABC had cancelled three of my shows in one go:  Off the Map, Mr. Sunshine, and Better With You!  

Off the Map was the only drama I watched.  It was created by the same folks as Grey’s Anatomy (which I used to watch until about four years ago when I started working an evening job).  The acting was good, the plot twists surprising, and it starred one of the sexiest New Zealanders (not Australian…thanks, Lynley for the correction!) I’ve ever seen, Martin Henderson.  I hope you get a new gig soon, Martin!

When I first watched Mr. Sunshine, I wasn’t expecting great things.  I was pleasantly surprised though: Alison Janney‘s narcissistic character was hilarious, and Nate Torrence as her son was adorable…that guy just had to smile, and it made you feel good!  Matthew Perry‘s character wasn’t far removed from his Friends persona…the wise-cracker who just wanted people to like him.  I will miss this show!

Nate Torrence and his irresistable smile...photo from hitfix.com

Better with You was the “bridge” between The Middle and Modern Family on Wednesday nights.  It explored three related couples in various stages of their relationships.  An excellent ensemble cast made the show a lot of fun…notable members were Jake Lacy, whose combination of goofiness, facial expressions and comic timing was funny every time, and Debra Jo Rupp, whose character always said what people are thinking but are afraid to say.  This was one of the only sitcoms I’ve ever seen that portrayed couples in a fairly realistic way (The Middle is another one).

I’m happy to see that CBS has renewed The Amazing Race and Big Bang Theory, as well as Two and a Half Men.  However, word that Ashton Kutcher will replace Charlie Sheen on Men sounds like a death knell for that show…the last couple of seasons haven’t been great anyway.  Ashton was fine on That 70’s Show as the brainless Kelso, but I don’t think he has the “parts” to pull this off…

Canine Cacophony

Jake is driving me nuts!  He barks whenever he sees a squirrel or chipmunk on the back deck, or hears the slightest little noise…I can’t wait to go back to work tomorrow!

"What are you barking at, Stupid?" (photo by Anna)

Hopefully, I’ll be feeling better by the time I post again…thanks for letting me vent!

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Nom, Nom…Thank You, Mom!

We pretty much ate our way through the weekend due to birthday celebrations and Mother’s Day…hence the title…

Saturday was Brianna’s 15th birthday…we were invited to Jim’s parents’ house for a combo birthday party for Bri and Jim’s brother-in-law, Chris, whose birthday is May 12th.  Jim’s mom made a delicious ham with scalloped potatoes, vegetables, and broccoli salad (one of my favourites!).  For dessert, we had two cakes: ice cream cake for Bri and chocolate cake for Chris.

Brianna and Grammy...photo by Jim

Brianna and Uncle Chris showing off their birthday presents...photo by Jim

Bri was happy with the underwater digital camera Jim got her…Anna, Hope and I got her a pair of snazzy rubber boots for when the kids go looking for frogs at the pond, and some cash to buy more clothes (because I need more challenge when I’m folding and sorting laundry – I don’t ask “Whose is this?” quite often enough!).

Sunday was Mother’s Day, of course, but also Jim’s and my third anniversary.  It’s lucky that we’d gone out to dinner a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of our special day being overshadowed by other activities…we were so busy on Sunday, we hardly saw each other!  I’m incredibly happy that our online dating experience turned out to be a success story…Plenty of Fish…you rock!

All four kids brought me breakfast in bed (even Devin, who rarely gets up before noon on weekends…he poked his hand out from under his blanket wrapped tightly around him, and presented me with my silverware).  There were cards and presents too, including my garden stone from last year, which had gotten broken and been epoxied back together.

Mom French Toast made with 12-grain bread...

Anna and I had arranged that Jim would get Bri out of the house in the afternoon so that we could make her a birthday cake.  Hope wanted to help too, but Anna wouldn’t let her.  I told Hope she could decorate a Mother’s Day cake for Kaylee, who was coming over for supper with Scott and Elise.  Jim took Bri and Devin to see the new Thor movie…while they were gone, we made these:

Anna's cake for Brianna...Kerri (the cranky judge from Cake Challenge) would not have been happy with the fondant, but it tasted good!

Hope's cake for Kaylee...the icing was mauve, and a little odd (I don't know what Anna did to it!)...tough to work with...

Kaylee, Scott and Elise arrived just as the girls were finishing the cake decorating.  I was washing the huge pile of pots and pans that had accumulated on the counter and in the sink.  Jim, Bri and Devin returned home shortly after that.  Jim and the kids got right to work making supper: lasagna, fusilli, caesar salad, and garlic bread.  It was nice to have time to just play with my granddaughter (and hard not to interfere with what was going on in the kitchen!).

Elise fist-bumping Auntie Bri...Bri took the photo with her new camera...

Kaylee and Scott got me a HUGE pizza stone for Mother’s Day (we may have to build on another room to store it!).  I can’t wait to try it out…I hope my pizza will turn out as well as Kaylee’s does!

Supper was delicious (Thanks, hon!), although Elise decided that throwing fusilli on the floor for Jake was more fun than eating it!  After licking ten spaghetti sauce covered plates, Jake needs a bath…his beard is a lovely shade of orange now.

Elise sharing her Cheerios with Jake...it's the only time he really likes her...

When we’d finished eating, I showed Kaylee my seedlings, and then sent her out to the yard to gather some rhubarb to take home…it’s just starting now, but when she comes back in two weeks, it will be huge!  Here are some fiddleheads Jim gathered down by the river last week (fiddleheads are ferns that grow in swampy areas…delicious cooked with lots of butter):

Fiddleheads fresh from the riverbank...

After Kaylee and Scott left, we loaded the dishwasher and sat down to play our highly-addictive computer games relax for a while.  Then we watched the two-hour finale of Amazing Race…I was happy with the winners, although I liked all the remaining teams and would have been fine with any of them winning.  I’m looking forward to the premiere of my other favourite reality show, So You Think You Can Dance, in a couple weeks!

Happy Mother’s Day to all my Mom blogging buddies…hope you had a fun day!

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Cruciferous Vegetables, Cheer Competitions, Cakes, and Canada…

Jim and I were happy to survive another busy weekend…back-to-back cheer competitions for Anna and Hope Saturday and Sunday!

Jim dropped Anna off at Simonds High School for her competition for 9 a.m. on Saturday…on the way home, he and Brianna and Hope stopped at Costco for some essentials (and not-so-essentials)…I got my mango juice, and Anna got her fix of Veggie Sticks.  We’re also stocked back up on acetominophen and allergy meds.  While they were gone, I got up and checked my e-mail, and watered my plants.  The cruciferous vegetables are taking off nicely…I have broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and purple Brussels sprouts (will post photos later this week)!  So far, Jake hasn’t made an effort to jump up on the table and destroy them!

We got to the cheer competition fairly early, and Hope and I went in and grabbed seats in the bleachers while Jim parked the car. We brought our pillows again…there were 10 teams competing, and we knew we were in for a long afternoon! Luckily, the gym at Simonds is fairly large…

Anna’s team looked tired during their performance…all those extra hours of practice seemed to take their toll. Anna is covered with bruises from people falling on her (she’s a “back” and catches people). I was surprised when they made callbacks again, along with three other teams!  Five out of ten teams dropped their flyer at least once (no one hit the floor, thank goodness, but there were far too many “close ones” for my liking).  A toddler about Elise’s age who was sitting behind us cried for most of the afternoon…taking little kids to a three-hour event is not a brilliant idea!

The Harbour View High girls nailed their second outing! They were enthusiastic, and tight…I thought surely they’d place in the Top Three this time…I was wrong! Foiled again…their Provincial Championship is two weeks from now. Maybe the third time will be the charm?

Anna also performed with a quad or stunt group at this competition.  She had a different flyer than her usual one during the team events.

Anna (top left) with her quad in their final pose...photo by Jim

We stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home for a snack, and also at Canadian Tire for some rope…Hope had asked Jim to make her a tire swing in the back yard.

When we got home, we discovered that Jake had been having fun with Jim’s lunch bag in our absence…another Rubbermaid lunch container was now history, and a new lunchbag would also need to be purchased.

We were pretty exhausted Saturday night…I didn’t do any laundry, and no swing was installed out back.

Sunday morning, Jim got up early to drive Hope to her Middle School Provincial Cheerleading Championships…the girls had to be there by 8 a.m…luckily, the venue was Devin and Brianna’s high school (and Jim’s alma mater), Kennebecassis Valley High, so it was only a 15 minute drive from our house.  Before they left, Jim took some photos of Hope before her very last cheer competition (she doesn’t want to cheer next year).

Hope before provincials...photo by Jim

There was a huge lineup when we got to the school…we grabbed the first seats we could find!  Jim took his camera and roamed around, looking for the best photo ops.  After a long competition (12 teams – boy, did I regret forgetting the pillows to sit on!), Quispamsis Middle School wasn’t called back, but had improved significantly since their last outing.  It was fun to see some “different” creative stunts that some of the teams performed (and it was another accident-free competition…hooray!).  I appreciated that the DJ at this competition remembered there were some members of the crowd born before 1995, and played some 80’s music instead of the constant current pop drivel that normally dominates these events.  Anna was suitably horrified when I started bobbing my head when they played “Footloose” (my work here is done!).

Since it was Hope’s last competition, Anna decided we should celebrate by eating supper at Vito’s (somehow, I missed the part where she offered to pay for it!).  We had a fairly relaxed meal.  At one point, Hope commented, “Hey Anna…I can sit with my legs apart because I have spankies on!”  We all laughed (we weren’t nearly as amused when Hope started blowing her straw all over the table).  My Creamy Pesto Chicken Club sandwich wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but the fries were great.  Jim polished off his Chicken Parmigiana in record time, and Anna finished her Gnocchi au Gratin with some difficulty (we also had a lively argument about how to pronouce “gnocchi” – I was right).  Hope had the last half of her pizza packed up to take home…she took it for her lunch today.

When we got home, Hope was happy to see that Grandad was hanging up the tire swing…she helped by holding the ladder steady.  I started four loads of laundry while Jim refilled the bird smorgasbord…he reported seeing another pigeon out there…luckily, we don’t get many of those!  Anna and Hope went out to try out the new swing.

Later, the girls and I watched Cake Challenge on the Food Network: The contestants were asked to make a cake to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Dora the Explorer.  One young woman’s design included a 4-foot Dora figure with a 2-foot wide head…huge mistake!  As one of her competitors commented after Dora lost her head, “That was cake carnage!” I have to say that I was impressed that the baker and her husband/assistant took the “epic fail” a lot better than most people would have…very classy!

Dora, before she became The Headless Toddler...photo from blog.oakleafcakes.com

We watched Amazing Race before going to bed…let’s just say “whiners can’t be winners”!  I also don’t think I’d want Gary and Mallory or Zev and Justin rescuing me if I were ever buried during an avalanche!

Today is an important day in Canada…we are voting in a new federal government. We have been in “election mode” for about six weeks here, and will finally get the chance to cast our very important ballots. Jim and I will be stopping on the way home from work to exercise our right (and indeed our responsibility as Canadians!) to vote. If you are eligible to vote today, please do so…together we can decide the future of our great country!

Google Canada's election graphic

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Easter, Elmo and Elise Come to Hammond River…

After another busy holiday weekend, I’m happy to say that we survived to go back to work this morning…

One of the things I wanted to do on Friday morning when I woke up was get my indoor seeds started…it was sunny and warm on our back deck, so it was perfect for it.  I also made an executive decision that it would be a “jammie day”, which for me consists of a T-shirt and yoga pants (I don’t do yoga…I just like the pants!).  I set my 130 small peat pots out on some metal trays that I bought at Value Village…13 to a tray.  One at a time, I brought the trays outside to fill the pots from the industrial sized-bag of dirt, and put the seeds in.  As I worked, the birds flew past me on their way to the 392 bird feeders on our deck, some brushing close enough to me that I could feel the wind from their wings (I was glad they were birds and not bats!).  I was leaning over the table poking holes with my finger in the soil to deposit the seeds into, when I felt something on my back.  Reflected in the glass of the deck door, I saw that a chickadee had landed on me.  I have no idea what he thought I was, since I didn’t resemble any local tree in my bright orange T-shirt!  I hollered for Jim, who was immersed in a computer game in the living room on the other side of the glass…by the time I got Jim’s attention, my new feathered friend had abandoned his perch.

After I’d finished planting, I carried the trays carefully into our back kitchen, where I set them on a table I hope is high enough to prevent a repeat of Jake’s destroying my plants like he did last year!

Trays of planted seedlings...

Saturday afternoon after picking a few groceries for our Easter family dinner, I decided to try out a new recipe for the rolls…Clover Leaf Rolls.  I spent all afternoon making them…three rises…they looked amazing!

Rolls before putting them in the oven...photo by Anna...

I put them in the oven, being careful to reduce the temperature by 25 degrees, as our oven is quite hot.  Fifteen minutes later, they came out looking like this:

Finished clover leaf rolls...

Unfortunately, I baked them a little longer than I should have, and I decided they weren’t good enough for company…I had Jim pick me up some more rolls that afternoon.

While I was baking, Jim had conned the kids into helping him raise the giant birdhouse from last summer into one of the apple trees…it ended up one platform down from its intended resting place, but at least it was finally off the ground!

Remember this from last year? (photo by Anna)

I dragged myself out of bed Sunday morning at 8:30…I had a 12-lb. turkey to make stuffing for and have in the oven for noon, 7 loads of laundry to fold, and mega cleaning to do for our company (Jim and the kids helped after they got up)!  I was still working on all that when Kaylee, Scott, and Elise arrived at 2:30 (dinner was at 6).  Hope had organized a small Easter egg hunt for Elise in the living room (Hope hid them in plain sight).  Elise fed Hope and Jake some of her Fruit Loops (much to Jake’s delight).  Later, Hope took the opportunity to improve on Elise’s hairdo:

Elise...hair by Auntie Hope, photo by Auntie Anna...the theme of Elise's bedroom is Dr. Seuss...surprised?

Jim presented Elise with a fun children’s CD by one of the singers from the Presidents of the United States of America (they did the theme song for the Drew Carey Show), Chris Ballew, aka Caspar Babypants.  We also gave her an Elmo building toy, which led to a rather hilarious slip of the tongue from Hope:  “Look Elise…it’s Elmo Kotex!”

Maybe "Kotex" is his horse's name?

Jim’s parents and his sister, Tracy, came a little closer to dinner time.  Jim had made his Grammy Clark’s dressing and gravy…I did the turkey, mashed potatoes, squash (from the garden), cauliflower/broccoli mix, and corn.  Synchronising all that food takes a little talent.  I realized as I was serving myself corn that it was still frozen, and took it back to the kitchen for a couple more minutes in the microwave.  When it was done, I brought it back, and spooned some more on to my plate.  It was only after I finished loading up my plate with other things, that I discovered I’d made two piles of corn!  Other people had noticed, but were too polite to point it out! 

After dinner, most people were too full for dessert…Jim and I put the food away in lunch containers, and he put on the bones to boil for turkey soup.  We chatted for a while and then I served apple pie to those who wanted it.  By this time, Elise was so tired she could barely stand up!  Her parents took her home, and Jim’s family left soon afterwards. 

We watched Amazing Race before I went to bed…we were all sad to see Jet and Cord eliminated…the Goths have gotta go, especially that whiny Kent!

Happy Trails, boys...you were true gentlemen and awesome competitors! (photo from cbs.com)

Jim stayed up to finish making the soup broth and finish his game on the computer…
 
I hope all my readers had a Happy Easter…I’m going to spend tomorrow catching up on all the blog posts I haven’t read yet…

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A Wilde and Snowy Weekend…

I apologize for the four-day gap between posts…even though it was not a holiday weekend here in Canada, it was a busy time!

1. Sinking to New Depths.  On Wednesday afternoon, Jim looked out the window and saw a septic tank cleaning truck stuck up to its axles in the mud in our front field…very bad idea on the part of our landlord’s brother, who owns the lots next to our house and is trying to sell them!  Needless to say, no sewage was sucked that day (although I imagine the truck driver was probably throwing the S-word around pretty freely)!

2. Lost Subscriber.  I think it was sometime on Thursday that I discovered that someone had cancelled his subscription to my blog…being obsessed with stats as I am, I was upset and hurt.  Had I said something to offend him?  Was my blog quality slipping?  After second guessing his motives for a few minutes  hours days, I decided to get over it…he “just wasn’t that into me.” 

3. Parent-Teacher Conference.  While my American friends and family were eating turkey on Thursday, I was on the Stairmaster meeting with Hope’s teachers at Quispamsis Middle School.  I met with six of her teachers in five different classrooms on two different floors.  Suffice to say, whoever made up our schedule must have known I need to lose a few pounds…the first meeting was on the second floor, second meeting on the first floor…you get the gist of where this is going!  I was up and down more than the Canadian dollar!  All of Hope’s teachers were very nice, and told me what a pleasure she was to have in their classes (I’m pretty sure they were actually talking about my kid).  I was relieved because I had been dreading the encounter with some of them.  I made sure Hope was thoroughly embarrassed by giving a lot of them my bookstore business card.  I also ran into one of Kaylee’s former high school teachers (he has a child attending QMS).  To Hope’s horror, I whipped out the photo album with Elise’s pictures to show him what Kaylee’s daughter looked like!

4. Alice’s Adventures.  One of the things that came up at the Parent-Teacher conference is that Hope needs to spend more time reading.  When we got home, I took down our copy of Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and asked Hope if she wanted me to read it to her.  She was unsure at first, but trudged upstairs with me anyway.  That book is quite enjoyable to read aloud, and Hope laughed in all the right places (I decided that the Mouse would have a Manchester accent).  We read two chapters Thursday night, and two more last night.

5.  Back to Work Friday.  The kids had the day off Friday because of Parent-Teacher conferences, but it was Jim’s first day back to work after his surgery.  He arranged with his boss to leave a couple of hours early in the afternoon…wanted to ease into the routine.  Hope came to town with me to hang out with her friend, Gabrielle, and go shopping.  Here’s what Hope bought for Jake at the Dollar Store:

Hope and Jake (photo by Jim)...this will be Hope's Christmas card this year...

6. The Importance of Being Earnest.  Jim and I went to see an ultra-modern version of Oscar Wilde’s excellent satire on Friday evening at the Imperial Theatre (there were references to Facebook and e-mail, and characters were checking their PDA’s).  The Saint John Theatre Company did a bang-up job as usual, delivering Wilde’s lines with the biting sarcasm we’ve come to expect from Oscar.  My favourite is Lady Bracknell’s response when Jack declares that he’s an orphan: “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

7. Santa and Snow Come to Town.  Saturday morning was bright and sunny when we woke up…surely the weatherman was mistaken about snow later in the day…Anna had to be on the West Side at noon for the Lancaster Santa Claus Parade.  After an emergency stop at the mall for black sweatpants, she arrived just in time to make it into the team photos being taken before the parade.  By then, it was snowing like crazy!  We watched the parade from the car (Hope got out…she collected the candy given out during the parade, but didn’t share with us!).

Anna...self-portrait after the parade...

After a nap for Jim, and a quick supper, we were back on the road enroute to the Kennebecassis Valley Santa Claus Parade, which Hope’s cheerleading team was marching in.  The coach had told the girls to be there by 5:30…we were a little late due to a stop at Co-Op for a can of tomato paste.  The parade was forming at the high school, and by the time we got near it, the road was blocked off.  Traffic was crazy!  Jim drove us to his parents’ house, and we all walked to the high school from there (about a mile, I think).  Hope got there just in time to join up with her team.  Anna and I watched the parade, while Jim followed Hope’s team in the parade, snapping photos like a paparazzi.

Hope and her cheerleading team in the parade...photo by Jim

After the parade, Anna and I met Jim back at Jim’s parents’ house…Jim’s mom made Anna hot chocolate, and some tea for me.  I was exhausted, but not as tired as Hope, who had walked another half an hour longer than I had!  She went to bed as soon as we got home!

8. Little Wendy Homemaker.  Sunday morning, I got up early…in addition to four loads of laundry, I had plans to make homemade spaghetti sauce with tomatoes from our garden.  Kaylee, Scott and Elise were coming over for supper.  Jim suggested I make chocolate macaroons for dessert…we call them “doodoo drops” at our house:

"DooDoo Drops"

 

I took precautions and put up the baby gate in front of the dining room door, to prevent a repeat of the unfortunate molasses brown bread incident.

9.  Ridiculous Gifts.  In between loads of laundry and cooking, I had a little time to peruse some of the many catalogues which have made their way into my mailbox.  Here are a couple of examples of what people are supposedly plunking down their credit cards for: 

Cast Iron Giraffe Toilet Paper Holder - $27.95...what kind of self-respecting jungle animal wears Charmin as an accessory? I could make him a scarf...

The Hot Seat Swivel Stool...$395...I can't have one of these because they only deliver to the continental U.S....darn!

10. That’s What She Said.  When Kaylee and Scott arrived (early, as is their custom), Elise happened to find the TV remote, and turn it on.  The big-screen TV also acts as Jim’s computer monitor, and he had been looking at his photos onscreen.  Anna and I took the opportunity to show our guests some shots from our PEI trip this summer.  Jim had several shots of some very tame foxes.  Kaylee looked at one and announced confidently, “That one’s definitely a girl!”  Anna asked, “Are you sure?”  After taking another look, Kaylee said, “Oh…I thought that was a hole…”(the poor girl inherited my eyesight!). 

One of the fox photos...not the one that fooled Kaylee!

We had fun with Elise…it had been a couple of weeks since we’d seen her.  She has added the word “flower” to her vocabulary…she had flowers on her very cute little coat that she got for her birthday.

Kaylee, Elise, Hope, and the fuzzy flower coat at Elise's 1st birthday party...

11. Homemade Spaghetti Sauce.  After simmering for a little over five hours, the spaghetti sauce was finally the right consistency.  To save a major mess, I decided to serve it with penne rigate instead of spaghetti, since we don’t have a high chair for Elise yet.  She rejected the old dishtowel I tied around her neck as a bib (it was clean, and only had a couple of holes in it!).  I also offered utensils, but she preferred to use both hands to feed the pasta and carrots into her mouth.

12. Nick Needs to Go!  Amazing Race is down to the last four teams…last night, Nick showed himself to be the whining dickhead that he truly is once again (sorry for the potty mouth, but Nick is a waste of skin).  Poor Vicki was struggling to run in the heat with her asthma, and he was telling her to “suck it up”!  She spent the episode throwing up after a food challenge, but didn’t want to quit.  When faced with finding a certain fishing boat in the dark, Nick gave up, and said he was going to go to sleep, leaving Vicki holding the ball again (she is the only one who has any, apparently).  They ended up at the pit stop without completing the task, and now have a six-hour penalty and a speed bump…it was a non-elimination round.  Please, Vicki…stop wasting your time with this buffoon…he keeps saying he’s changed, but he lies!

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Tiptoeing Through Tuesday…

Tuesday has never been my favourite day, but it’s nearly 11 a.m., and it’s actually been not bad (so far…touching wooden desk as I speak!).

Here are some random things from my last few days:

1. Snow/Whirlwind Shopping Trip/Music on Saturday.  We woke up to snow on the ground on Saturday…not much by New Brunswick standards.  In what was probably record time for shopping with the girls, we managed to pick up winter boots for Hope on Saturday at Old Navy for $19…WIN!  We were rushing to drop off Anna and Brianna at the new Harry Potter movie, and then dropped Hope off at her dad’s to watch the Santa Claus Parade in (uptown) Saint John.  Her dad is one of the judges, so the kids get to watch the parade from the comfort of a Saint John City Transit bus.  This year, the head judge brought them pizza and pop.  Jim and I stopped for groceries (sans kids) on the way home…we hadn’t done a major food run since Jim’s surgery!  We spent $165…nobody had better look in the cupboard and complain “There’s nothing to eat!”  There will be two more parades next weekend: the Lancaster Santa Claus Parade (West Saint John), which Anna’s cheerleading team is in, and the Kennebecasis Valley Santa Claus Parade (Quispamsis), which Hope’s cheerleading team is in.  I finally had the chance to listen to a Richard Shindell album I’d ordered (Courier), thanks to my friend Hippie Cahier.  It was so amazing, I listened to it twice in a row!

2. Laundry/Migraine on Sunday.  Four loads of laundry…first migraine for a while!  Family ate pot pies/fries for supper instead of planned lasagna.  I ate Multi-Grain Cheerios and Saltines (neither of which stayed down).  Opted to PVR Amazing Race instead of watch it (you know I’m sick when that happens!).

3. Jim’s Sense of Smell Came Back.  Since his sinus surgery almost two weeks ago, Jim hasn’t been able to smell much.  Anna was scrambling eggs Sunday morning, and he actually caught a whiff of them!  He’s also happy to be able to blow his nose again!

4. Relaxing Monday.  Worried that the migraine might come back, I stayed home from the bookstore on Monday.  Played on the computer and made lasagna (with homemade spaghetti sauce from our garden tomatoes) while Jim slept through old Newhart and M*A*S*H episodes in the La-Z-Boy.  Dad and Anna got home late – they had seen a car hit a deer (one of a group of three), but the deer got up and ran off after doing a little cartwheel.  The man’s car was slightly damaged.  We watched Amazing Race after supper, and were happy to see Chad and Stephanie go…I give their marriage a year…tops!  Two and a Half Men came on at ten…I’ve been underwhelmed with the show this season…the writing was a lot funnier when the dirty jokes were subtle.  I used to let the kids watch it, knowing they probably wouldn’t pick up on the raunchy parts, but now, it’s just “in-your-face” crass!

5. Weird Dreams.  I dreamed of running again last night (for somebody who doesn’t run, I dream about it a lot!).  I also dreamed that I was in town with no purse, no wallet and no phone.  Then I ran into another running man who was “having a low” (Jim is Type 1 Diabetic – he has “low” sugars a lot in the night), so I followed this poor guy into the men’s room to try to help him.  Realizing I’d wandered into forbidden territory, I came out and informed the staff in the snack bar that there was a man “having a low” in the men’s room, and that they should get him some juice.  Then I used some Chinese girl’s (I think she was a stripper) Hello Kitty cell phone to call home to ask Jim to come and get me…but not before we went to my old apartment in Moncton to deliver a blanket(?) to a bad mother who was letting her two toddlers run around outside by themselves.  While we were there, my brother wandered in (having made the 1000-mile drive from Ontario)…my aunt from Florida was already there!  If I’m going to have weird dreams, I do it right (I think it might have been the hot dogs we ate for lunch)!

6. Stats.  Opening up a friend’s blog post this morning, she was complaining that she had gotten some 1500 hits this past WEEK by searchers using the search term “turkey” or variations thereof…I think I’m going to tag all my posts “turkey” this week!

7. Airline Security.  A friend on Facebook posted a link to a note written by someone else about the recent airline security “personal” searches, and how ridiculous they were.  It was quite well-written – the poster declared that he would choose the “patdown” search when he flew home for Thanksgiving.  I got a chuckle from a commenter who suggested that he “Wear a quilt [my italics].  Go commando.”  Yeah…that will make it better…

8. Perfect Stranger Chills in PA.  Another friend on Facebook lives in Pennsylvania, and celebrated her 40th birthday this past weekend.  She was at the ice cream machine at the Old Country Buffet in Scranton at the same time as Bronson Pinchot (Balki on Perfect Strangers).  I wonder if she did the “dance of joy”? 

9. More Shopping With Teenagers Tonight.  Jim is bringing Hope and Brianna with him tonight when he comes to pick up Anna and I…Hope needs a new winter coat (she’s grown out of last year’s), and both Bri and Anna need new boots (Anna’s $90 ones from last year are totalled!).  I’m hoping that my MasterCard escapes with cuts and bruises rather than a skull fracture…

10. Holiday Decorating.  I have friends who have already decorated their homes for Christmas…I personally think they’re deranged!  I saw a couple of Target ads for Black Friday last night…nuts! 

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Filed under blogging, cooking, dreams, family, food, satire, shopping

Introducing Jake…Guest Blogger…

"Writing skills run in my family!"

Mommy’s gone back to the bookstore today after kind of a crazy week…she asked me to tell you about yesterday.

I woke up when Grandad got up…he took me outside on the leash, but I just sniffed around looking for this guy, who was on our porch with his buddy last night, devouring our Halloween pumpkins:

Doesn't he look like fun to play with? (Anna took the picture)

I waited until Grandad went back outside to work on the woodpile before I snuck into the back kitchen and pooped on the floor.

Mommy came downstairs about 9:30, looking like something the cat drug in…oh wait, Mommy had to get rid of the cats when she moved in with Daddy…allergies and stuff!  Hope had hollered upstairs and told her how hungry she was, so of course (sucker that she is) Mommy came running down right away!  I jumped all over her and gave her kisses, so she’d know how much I loved her!  Daddy won’t let me jump on him right now…he’s afraid I’ll bump my head into his sore nose!

Mommy got out all the stuff to make Toad in the Hole for three, but then Hope said she didn’t like that kind of bagel, so she didn’t want any.  Anna was getting in the shower, so she wasn’t ready for hers yet.  Then Anna asked, instead of Toad in the Hole, if she could have French Toast Bagel, with cinnamon.  Mommy was muttering bad words while she made breakfast.  She made Daddy some tea…he was lying in the LazyBoy chair in the living room.  She got him some antibiotics too.

By the time Mommy sat down at the computer to check her e-mail and eat her breakfast, Anna was out of the shower.  She and Hope started their usual Sunday morning bickering.  It took Mommy half an hour to drink her tea…she got up so many times to referee the stuff going on in the family room!  I got to lick her plate though!  Finally, Mommy went upstairs to have a shower.

When Mommy came back down, she was in a little better mood…weird thing about humans…they don’t like being dirty like we do!  She started folding the eight loads of laundry, while Hope and Anna played on their computers, and listened to crappy music (my excuse for not helping is that I don’t have opposable thumbs – I barked at the squirrels on the deck, and begged to be let out every half hour, just so Mommy wouldn’t be bored).  Daddy was watching something on TV (but his eyes were closed).

About lunch time, Mommy went outside to the garden…I watched out the window while she pulled up rutabagas and carrots (rutabagas suck, but carrots are awesome and crunchy!).  Her nose kept running whenever she leaned over.  When Mommy came in, she had mud on her face from blowing her nose with muddy fingers (I think she had tissues in her pocket).

Mommy told Daddy that Kaylee and Scott were coming over for supper.  I love them, but I hope they don’t bring that thing!

Isn't it scary?

Mommy started making meatballs for supper…mmm!  She hasn’t made those in a long time!  She used Daddy’s ice cream scoop with the release on it, so she wouldn’t have to touch the raw meat with her fingers.  Grandad peeled and sliced the carrots…it took him forever (but not as long as it took Anna to peel and slice the potatoes for the Spinach and Potatoes Alfredo – oh, my Marmaduke – that kid is slower than Mommy!).  I hoped Mommy would forget the rutabagas, but she put them in the oven to bake.

Kaylee and Scott came about 4:30, and my worst fears were realized…it must have snuck into their car when they weren’t looking!  I barked, but it didn’t go away!  Mommy ran around the living room, picking up clean clothes off the couches and chairs, firing empty meal replacement shake bottles into the recycling, and pushing the LazyBoy back where it belonged against the wall.

Daddy settled himself back into the LazyBoy, and Mommy came in to visit with our guests while supper was cooking.  They let the thing walk and crawl around on the floor…it was picking up all the good stuff that I like to eat!  I watched from the safety of Grandad’s lap.  I never saw such a squirmy thing!  Kaylee had made chocolate chip cookies…they didn’t share those with me (a little chocolate never hurt anybody…oh, yeah…now I remember Hope’s birthday party last year and the Smore incident!).

Oh, no!  Daddy picked it up…”Watch out, Daddy!  It‘s going to whack you in the nose!”  I barked, but Mommy yelled at me.

Soon, it was time for supper…I staked out the couch in the dining room, waiting in case anyone dropped something on the floor…no luck!  “What do you keep giving that thing perfectly good carrots for…I could take those off your hands!”  Daddy slipped me some meatball when he thought Mommy wasn’t looking.  They were having pumpkin pie for dessert…I’m not a fan!

After the dishes got carried to the kitchen, Mommy put down the meatball pan and the potato dish for me to lick…amazing stuff…I love that woman!

Kaylee and Scott left with the thing right after supper…they said something about it‘s missing its afternoon nap…I was glad it was gone, so I could have my Mommy and Daddy to myself again!  The nerve of them bringing that to my house!

I jumped up on Mommy just as soon as she sat down on the couch to watch TV…I think they should do a new version of the Amazing Race with Mommies and their dogs!  I’m smarter than Nick, for sure!

Nick...I've eaten Milk-Bones smarter than he is!

After the show was over, Mommy went upstairs to bed…Daddy stayed in the LazyBoy (she wasn’t mad at him…I saw her kiss him good night!).  I wasn’t lonely last night…maybe if I’m lucky, Daddy will sleep down here every night…

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Filed under family, food, gardening, satire

Two Thanksgivings, A Quarantine, A Helicopter Attack, and A Giant Pumpkin…

So, this was our Thanksgiving weekend…it was a busy one.  On Sunday night, we went to Jim’s parents for a combination Thanksgiving/birthday dinner for Jim’s son, Devin.  He turned 17 on October 4th.

The Birthday Boy...

We had a lovely meal: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, gravy, cucumber/tomato slices, and a delicious turnip puff that Jim’s sister, Kim, made.  I had two helpings!

Unfortunately, Jim’s dad only joined us for a few minutes, sitting way over in the corner by himself…he was suffering from a bad cold, and didn’t want to give it to anyone.  He had spent the past few days in the basement.  Kim’s husband, Chris, pointed out that Gordon couldn’t have been suffering too much…he had the big screen TV, computer, and a fridge nearby.  Gordon came up to watch Devin open his presents: he got some clothes, lots of money, and a remote control helicopter that Jim bought for him.  It was fun watching it fly around, although it didn’t fly very high on the first night…it wasn’t fully charged.

Dessert was yummy…my blueberry pie, Jim’s mom’s pumpkin cheesecake, and purchased carrot cake for the birthday boy, who doesn’t like chocolate.   Jim’s sister, Tracy, had to wait for a minute to bring Devin’s cake out…Jim wasn’t ready with his camera…

Kim invited us to her Halloween party: “Everybody has to wear a costume!”  I have no idea what I’m going to be.  Halloween isn’t my favourite holiday…Jim the smartass suggested I go as a “party pooper.”

We got home just in time for Amazing Race.  I was so happy it turned out to be a non-elimination leg…I like Kevin and his dad!

I woke up Monday morning feeling like a dump truck had driven over me several times…my cold was back!  Jim didn’t feel much better.  I dragged my butt out of bed, made a bagel and tea for breakfast, and started getting the stuffing made for the turkey.  Kaylee, Scott and Elise were coming over for Thanksgiving dinner.

I got the turkey into the oven by noon…then I went out to the garden to harvest some vegetables for dinner.  I got a couple of Red Kuri squash, some beets, three rutabagas, and some mutant-looking carrots (average 4″ long, but fat little things).

Carrots, Rutabagas, Squash, Beets from the Garden...

I took a little break and sat down at my computer to check e-mail and Facebook.  Jim and the kids were playing with Devin’s birthday present again.  It went really high – almost up to the ceiling!  I was sitting there minding my own business when I felt a breeze over my head…a couple of seconds later, there was a helicopter entangled in my hair!

The Killer Helicopter...

Jim swears it was an accident: “It just lost power!”   I think he was secretly getting revenge for the times I injured him earlier in the week…an elbow to the nose (“It hurt for two days!”), and a whack to the temple with a snow brush handle (we were cleaning out the car, and he asked me to hand it to him so he could put it in the trunk).   I apologized profusely, both times, but warned Jim that there probably would be a third time…these things always happen in threes!

It took a few minutes to free my hair from the vehicle nesting in it.  It was at that point I decided it would be a good idea to have a shower.

Devin and Brianna went to their mom’s house for their second Thanksgiving dinner of the weekend.

Kaylee and family arrived about 4.  Elise is now taking a few steps on her own, and asking what everything is.  I didn’t have much time to spend with her though, because I was busy cooking (and also didn’t want to reinfect her with another cold). 

Kaylee wanted some pictures of Elise with a pumpkin, so everybody trooped outside, leaving me in the kitchen with the food.  Jim took the photos below:

Elise and the Pumpkin...

"Let's see how it tastes..."

"Yummy!"

Apparently, Elise couldn’t wait for supper.  She also sampled some fall leaves…I let her take the pumpkin home, since she’d already licked it!

Our Thanksgiving dinner was also delicious, if I do say so myself!  In addition to the turkey, stuffing, and vegetables from the garden, we had whipped potatoes, broccoli, and corn.  Jim made his Grammy’s dressing (which Hope loves), gravy, and a sauce for the beets.

Elise was falling asleep, so Kaylee and Scott left before dessert…I sent them home with a blueberry pie.  The rest of us ate pumpkin pie…it was yummy!  Devin and Brianna made it home just in time!

Jim and I packed the leftover food into lunch containers…Jim is planning a turkey stew for his night to cook…looking forward to it!

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Filed under cooking, family, food, gardening

Ready, Set, Go!

So, one of my favourite shows, The Amazing Race, started again last night.  Ever since I got hooked on it way back in Race #5, I’ve dreamed about being on the show…

Jim would be my team-mate.  We’d wear matching Canadian flag T-shirts (everybody loves Canadians!), relaxed fit jeans, and comfortable shoes.  The other teams would call us “that nice, boring couple”  and wonder why we never yell at each other!

"Wendy and Jim...Parents of Teenagers"

Of course, I’d probably have to make some changes to prepare for the competition:

1. Get in shape (other than round!)…I wonder if the show will still be on in 2015?  I might have to give up potato chips…

2. Conquer my fear of heights.  Standing on a stepladder makes me dizzy…I might have difficulty rappelling down a tall building…

3. Learn how to pack light.  I’ve seen those knapsacks the contestants carry…I’m guessing they don’t have blow dryers in there?

I might have trouble surviving without this...

4. Get over my squeamishness of snakes and other reptiles…I might have to get up close and personal with one of them…ewww!

5. Learn to swim with my head under the water (I taught myself, and I like to leave my contacts in so I don’t bump into things!).

6. Be more adventurous about foreign food.  Right now, I don’t try anything with the potential to cause gastric distress (and I’m lactose-intolerant, so that includes a lot of different foods!).  If I can’t identify it, it doesn’t go in my mouth (however, I do like lots of things that other people don’t: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, squash, and chicken hearts).

7. Learn to drive (again).  I had my temporary permit for a year when I was a teenager, but never took the test.  I have always driven an automatic…I’m a huge fail at stick shifts!

This scares me more than a snake would...

8. Brush up on my geography.  As a former stamp collector, I’m pretty familiar with North America, Europe and Asia, but my knowledge of the continents south of the equator is not very good (unlike one contestant last night, I do know that London is not a country!).

9. Pick up a second language (or two).  My Ontario secondary school French is rudimentary at best (laughable at worst – my French Immersion kids laugh at my pronunciation all the time!).  I can count to ten in German.  I can say “Hello,” “Goodbye,” and “Thank you,” in Spanish.  I can speak Teenager though: “OMG!  Did you see that dress she had on?  It was right weird!”

10.  Learn to love being grubby.  Those poor people on the Race have been subjected to all kinds of nastiness: mud, hay, dirty water, paint, pies, etc.  It must be all Phil can do to contain himself when some sweaty contestant pops up in front of him with muck running from every orifice…

11. Get over thinking that using my sexuality to get what I want is wrong.  I would have no problem flashing my bare ankle in Saudi Arabia if it got us what we needed!

12. Find somebody to look after our kids for all the weeks we’ll be gone…we do plan to come home with the million bucks after all!

Any takers?

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Filed under dreams, family, satire, travel