March 2008

Earth Hour
We did it and we didn’t die. We turned off all ‘non-essential’ appliances for one hour Saturday night as part of Earth Hour. It turns out that a) for only an hour NONE of it is essential and going for the jugular main breaker was not a hardship at all and b) it was, in fact, rather enjoyable.
Dinner was ready just as it was time, so we hit the breaker, lit some candles and sat around the kitchen table. We spent the whole hour there, eating and talking and telling stories. We were all surprised to see that at 8PM, the sky was still light.The glowing the sky and the streetlights meant that it didn’t actually get really dark in the house until 830 or so. We didn’t notice that is was especially quiet in the house, but we did notice how much of the ‘outside’ we could hear – people out walking, dogs in the distance.
Toward the end of the hour, I got to thinking (uh-oh!). We do different kinds of detoxes all the time – food, electronics, news – where we black out some of the non-essentials that assault our senses and our bodies and send us into overload and toxicity. That one hour, with the house darkened and quiet was really nice. I’m thinking we should add it to our regular rotation of black-outs even if only for our own sanity. Mark doesn’t think this is a very good idea at all as there are way too many clocks to reset ;)

Green BinAnd in other news; It’s Here! It’s Here!!
Halton Region is finally implementing a green bin programme. I don’t know why it has taken so long (and I’m sure there are very good and valid reasons for it), but it has been so frustrating to see other communities get their composting programmes and not us. The bin, along with a smaller kitchen bin, was delivered Saturday. Inside were all the destructions and free samples of approved biodegradable liner bags. The bags smell vaguely like food. Like wet popcorn or something. Of course, a quick look at tells me that compostable bags are often made of starch from corn. Well there you go. That explains the popcorn smell. Maybe. We won’t use the little bin in the kitchen as I have a most excellent stainless steel compost bucket that I use. Plastic absorbs the food smells and gets all bleh. The stainless is perfect and pristine after years of use. Beauty.

We have, and use, a large composter that sits in our backyard. While we can, we’ll put our food scraps in there. Being vegetarian, there are no bones or meat scraps, so very little food goes in the garbage when we are using the composter. BUT. It gets full. Especially in the winter when the cold slows or stops the composting process. Typically, it is full before the middle of January and we have to stop using it. Some years, I have simply put food scraps in buckets with lids in the garage through the winter, where the contents freeze and do not smell or rot. But Spring can sneak up on you and suddenly you have buckets and buckets of slop and you are trying to find an afternoon to spend pouring it all into the bin. And a couple of very mild Winters made this plan of action not really feasible. So now we have a back up plan. Besides all those tissues and stuff, our food scrap overflow will now be composted. Yay!

Seriously, this makes me really happy :)

OH! Before I forget: Earth Hour – TODAY. Are you participating? We are. Rather than run around turning everything off – and then sitting in the dark listening to the hum of the fridge and feeling guilty about phantom loads (all that ‘hidden’ consumption in stand-by electronics and the digital clocks on every appliance) – we’re going to just throw the main breaker and feel good about it. :)
Easter 08
Easter 08
Easter was really, really nice. Well, the lead up was frantic and I will admit to sitting in my car in the parking lot at the grocery store crying. But only for a minute. lol Easter dinner was to be at my house on Saturday, because there were things I wanted to do on the Sunday, but Mark was away the week before (I think that business men do this on purpose. If there is some Big Event coming up, they plan to be out of town the week before. ) and THEN he got snowed in and couldn’t get home. Totally not his fault, but that doesn’t keep me from blaming him ;) The result was that the 6 hours of shopping and errand-running I had to do had to be done in less than two and then it took me 40 minutes to get to the grocery store because traffic was so bad and the store was so full of people I had to drive around until a parking spot opened up. This would be the point where the little meltdown occurred. hehehe But I got hold of myself, made some phone calls right there and changed the dinner to Sunday, giving up my plans for that day and one dinner guest in the process, but it was the only way there was going to be a dinner at all. *whew*
I know, I know, that is So Last Week and I need to Just Get Over It, but I still feel traumatized by the whole thing. I am a delicate flower. Or something ;)
Easter 08
BUT! My sister came over on the Friday and she helped me colour the eggs and bake bread and prepare some food for Easter dinner. That was a good time :) And Easter Sunday was bright with Spring Sunlight but holy cow cold! It is STILL cold. I love Winter. It is probably my favourite season (except for maybe Fall. Or Spring. And sometimes Summer), but even I have had enough now. I don’t think I’ve been properly warm right through for months. Next week is looking promising though. I have faith :) And in the end, inspite of the melt down in the grocery store parking lot, Easter dinner all came together pretty easily and it was a Really Good Day.
Easter 08
Of course, the Easter Bunny was here and Jordan carefully led The Baby through the egg hunting process. The Baby was not interested in the process, however, because Hey! I found this pretty shiny little egg thing beside the couch leg and it smells like something to eat! And after that, he was not very interested in hunting for more because he had two little shiny eggs. Also, it turns out he likes chocolate. I was stunned :P He also likes challah and home made hot cross buns. And dill pickles and salsa (not the mild kind, either).
Easter 08
I’m so happy to see Spring. Even if the tulips or daffodils haven’t come yet. And even if the temperatures are still on the chilly side. I believe and I believe that soon, very soon, it will start to actually feel like Spring.
I have to believe. Because the alternative is not pretty ;)

A traffic jam when you’re already late? Oh honey… it gets much worse than that.
Train crossing.
This is what happens when you got caught in the training-a-new-cashier line at the grocery store and now you are trapped in the car with a baby who is screaming for his supper while Jordan has the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop on repeat on the stereo. You get a train. A very long, slow moving train. It’s awesome. Except the part where it isn’t.

I am often confused by the way other people seem to feel about home schooling. Many feel that there is no way a parent has a right to choose how to educate their child (unless of course, you are choosing to send them to regular school; you always have that right) and at the same time, they feel they have the right to quiz you and assess how the education of YOUR child is going.
I am also surprised that some people seem to think that home schooling is academics on steroids and that Jordan should be just about finished high school now and is the baby reading. Don’t laugh… people have asked me. ummm.. did YOUR kids read when they were 14 months old? No, but they weren’t home schooled. ummm… ok? With a totally straight face, I told one person who asked me how long I spent each day schooling the baby (he was 10 months old at the time) that given his age, I only spent a few hours each day. He is reading at a grade four level, I told her, and I’m okay with that; there is no need to push any harder than that. This woman (who had kids of her own) nodded appreciatively and agreed that yes, reading at a grade four level at 10 months of age was probably enough but cautioned me against letting him off too easy as any mother would be tempted to do.

Recently, it happened again. Someone asked me what Jordan was learning ‘in school’… I assume meaning, what academic-type work is he doing at home. So I blah blah monasticism blah blah typing blah blah reading blah blah writing blah blah. And this led to questions about my specific goals in educating Jordan, what do I expect him to learn. I didn’t give the kind of answer that was sought. I said that I wanted Jordan to have good strong character, to know himself and how to be happy, to have the self confidence, motivation and discipline to set goals and achieve them. This was apparently unsatisfactory and I was supposed to say “Finish Grade X math by age Y”. oops.

On to me and my wishy-washy ways, this person looked me in the eye and sternly asked “And what are you educational goals for Christopher?” … because maybe if he stared at me just right I would suddenly see how wrong I am and come up with some better plans for the baby?
Umm.. he’s 15 months old…
Yes… and how are you educating him?
Mostly, I’m trying to teach him not to lick the dog.

Seriously!! It turns out that not-licking the dog is not a lofty enough expectation for a baby! There were more stern looks and clucks of disapproval. Too bad so sad. I wasn’t seeking your approval anyway.

The thing is… not licking the dog is HARD when you are so young. It’s REALLY VERY HARD.
Dont lick the dog
Who is licking whom?

Blue eyes and Cheerios

Blue eyes and Cheerios
Photos by my Dad. :)

You know, it took me days to figure it out. Each evening as I was getting ready for bed, I’d notice that my cheeks were sore. I realised it had been going on for a while. Finally, it dawned on me: my face hurts from smiling. Almost every day. But seriously look at that. He is that cute all the time. Your cheeks would hurt too.

Well, to be honest, he was ever so slightly less cute when he threw a fit in Costco because I wouldn’t buy him a big bag of Weed N Feed. What use would a 15 month old child have for a bag of toxic chemicals? It is a mystery to me, but apparently Very Important to him. Tonight, he made up for any cuteness points he may have lost when, at dinner, he carefully sucked the pesto off of each piece of pasta before eating it. lol I try to contain myself and to be reasonable, but it takes superhuman effort because I just want to go on and on every day about how GREAT my kids are.

Jordan has been really busy. Hockey is still going; he has art classes and guitar lessons, snowboarding and his paper route. There are the nature studies and all those books to read. He is ever occupied in one pursuit or another, that boy. Soon he’ll start an animation course that he is really looking forward to.

Full lunar eclipse.
Last week, Jordan and I drove out down a closed road near here to watch the eclipse. It was beautiful and quiet. And cold. It was very, very cold. I still didn’t have feeling in my fingers when I’d already been home for hours. But it was worth it. Jordan thinks it will be even more worth it if the next one happens in warm weather ;) But electric blankets and hot chocolate made it all better :)

For a whole whack of reasons, Jordan put off celebrating his 11th birthday last June, and instead we celebrated his Eleven and a Halfpth birthday at the local laser tag place in February. I like laser tag. You know why? Because I get to shoot children. Loud running around children who I am probably related to and who have contributed to my accelerated ageing. Shooting such children brings an immense amount of pleasure, itellyouwhut.
Goggle face.
But this was Jordan’s birthday party and in celebration of how we are all blessed to have him in our lives, I made a point of shooting him the most.
This is not to say that no one shot me. Because they did. At one point, I was cornered by six munchkins I had never met and they all just stood there, shooting me. The littlest one said to his buddies, “I like it when I have a nice big target; it’s easier to get a hit.” Sheesh. I tried to shoot back but i was always dead from them shooting me, so finally I just ran away.
And hid.
And pegged them off one by one as they came around the next corner.
Yes, I outsmarted six 5-year olds. And I’m proud of it. ;)
Jordan had a great time. His family and best friends were there. He says he wants to have his next party at the same place. That’s fine with me, as long as I get to bring ear plugs next time.

In other news, we’ve had a lot of snow.
And it makes me very, very happy :D