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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Digging out from under Laundry Mountain...

The table is piled high with laundry! There are about ten different piles. The scary thing is, this isn't a month's worth of laundry, or a week's worth... it's yesterday's laundry. And because I haven't done any today, I've already fallen behind.

Just accepted two new CJN assignments due the 15th. This time, about education; health is more interesting to me, but I should be okay with this, too.

Today is our anniversary - yay! 2 years! Ted got me a bubblegum pink t-shirt from the kids that says "We Love Mommy" and a Toyota keychain with a magen david on the back. He thought it was a Hyundai logo. I am saying I don't mind.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

More addictions!

Flax seeds - they're everywhere these days! Smaller and more slippery than a sunflower seed, bigger and more substantial than a sesame seed. And full of Omega-3's, they say...

And, totally unrelated:

Infomercials - I will watch and kinda half-believe almost any infomercial, especially for kitchen products!

Does it work? websites - This is the most redeeming feature of the Internet; the professionals who check out all those infomercial claims for me so I don't (often) get sucked in... of course, epinions, a recent eBay acquisition, is also great...

Supper:

Friday: Terra-chip chicken (terra chips ground in the food processor), zucchini latkes (zukes, carrots, potatoes, onion, all grated in the food processor), corn, soup (carrots and celery sliced in the food processor) (1000 kneidlach - matzah balls - made by ECH who accidentally doubled the recipe!).

Shabbos Lunch: Nothing much - bagels, cream cheese, assorted salads. ECH made peanut butter tea biscuit "salad"

Motzaei Shabbos: Fish sticks (well, fillets), instant macaroni in a cup, nothing much else. Crying kids, not too hungry.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

And the big bday present this year is...

Random thoughts:
Nosiness and curiousity are so close to being flip sides of the same coin...
A person's insatiable desire to learn is something they say wonderful things about in eulogies... but the flip side is being a controlling, nosy, poky-minded b.

<hr>

The ceaselessness of dishes and laundry is no longer bothering me. Of course, that still doesn't mean they're getting done every day. :-)

But it doesn't grind me down the same way if I put in the "last" load of laundry for the week, come upstairs, and find, say, a diaper or a pair of something that didn't "quite" make it into the hamper.

<hr>

So... the big birthday present? From my parents, of course...
An amazing new Cuisinart 14-cup (that's big) food processor. I am so thrilled to have a brand and I have yet to find a review that's much less than five stars anywhere on the web. It is a fabulous black-matte metal colour; it look like a professional appliance.

I had originally planned to buy an extra disk and bowl for dairy (grating cheese, etc). But that would be over $100 extra, which is a heck of a lot of cheese, so I think I'll just stick with the Starfrit hand cranked chopper. A little broken after several years, but still in use almost every day. And if it does break, it now comes in a cool black colour.

It is SO cold in here I can barely type. The temperature is set to go down to 16 during the day (while we're "out") and up to 18 in the evening (still too cold). I didn't want to be paying to heat the house just because I'm home with the baby.

*** Supper: Red-pepper quiche, creamy corn soup (Imagine) from a package (Ted thought we should try it). Leftover dessert pizza (see last night's entry) for the kids' dessert - a treat since they don't usually get dessert of supper. On Thursday nights, we need all the sugar-help we can get.

That's because Thursdays are Library Night, when we all schlep over to our local branch, haul in old books and haul back a load of new ones. Always lots of happiness for young and old. Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Success!

Gave a workshop today at the Betel Centre about buying/selling on eBay. Only 4 people (out of nine "registered") showed up... but they were very involved and interested, so that's okay. Sometimes, the ones who do show up feel sorry for you so they try extra-hard to be "good" students. :-)

Started late because I wanted to wait 'till 9:15 in case people would come, but no-one else did - there was some snow on the ground this morning and that always makes seniors want to stay at home. And then I talked until 11:30 straight with only a short bathroom break.

Very hoarse now; hope it's just from talking at people and not from actual disease.

Going to write an article for CJN about Beech-Nut baby foods which are now available in Canada... but turned down for my query about restaurant-bathroom reviews (darn), and also about Krispy Kreme (where have all the KK's in the GTA gone?) because they just ran an article last week about how successful KK has been here in Canada. Umm...I can't even find a KK anymore!

The donuts are made in a central location and sold in gas stations and WalMart, sure, but the two actual stores I knew of near anything good are both boarded up (Cosco on Wilson and Richmond Hill). Brand-new stores, too. What a shame.

Supper: Shepherd's pie, tinned peas, tinned Campbell's veggie soup (yes, again! I wish there was more variety)

Now we're making a "dessert pizza" and going off to finish watching our romantic comedy o' the week... how pathetic is it that we can't even watch a whole movie in one sitting anymore? Too tired, too distracted. The dessert pizza is kind of good, if a little sickly-sweet. A big cinnamony crust with packets of strawberry and apple goo. The apples has lots of chunks of real apple; the strawberry has strawberry bits, too. You smear them on the crust and bake it, then drizzle on the icing. Nice.

I sent Ted to Kosher City for it because I was looking forward all afternoon to popcorn with the movie, and then I realized we just had meat. No, I won't eat that pareve popcorn stuff. No, no, no. So dessert pizza it is.

Nighty!

Re: Test post to Blogger

Kind of a "nothing" day... I always feel like Monday and Tuesday are recovering-from-the-weekend days.

Baby playgroup at the shul. $7 seems like a lot for babies to sit around and play for an hour, and the songs were exactly the same as last week. But Naomi loved it; she was exhausted and sat the whole playtime staring in awe of the baby (couple of weeks older than her) who was starting to walk.

That baby's mama saw Naomi just sitting there like a lump, so (I guess to make me feel better) asked if she was saying any words yet - like maybe she's good at something else, right? And I'm like (in my head) "only if 'grrlabbbbbababa' is a word, lady." But then I remembered - doh! - and got to brag after all: "she says 'more' and 'music' in sign language." And she did, too, during snack time a few minutes later!

After a bit of juice, a cracker and some applesauce, she perked up a bit and crawled around during music. Attacked and started licking another mama's boot before I noticed what she was doing (thought she was just leaning over to maul the baby - doh again!).

The boots were suede; I didn't know if the stain of my baby's licking would come out, but then felt guilty because I should worry more about the baby ingesting toxic road salt than the boot contacting toxic baby saliva.

Walked down Eglinton after that in search of supper ingredients ... not much luck. Cursed myself for moving from an area with two accessible grocery stores with kosher sections to an area with 1500 spas and hair salons within spitting distance. The other day, walking home from shul, YM spotted a computer store with a sign outside that they are now doing hair in their back room - is there really demand for so many beauty specialists in this area?

Then we came home, sat around and... what? The rest of the day is a blur. Baby slept right away - no poo all morning, so I was nervous she'd do it in her sleep (she holds it in until she loses voluntary control, is my theory). Did some laundry, washed some dishes.

Oh! Reheated curry in a packet and served it to myself over rice for lunch - yummy... really have no idea where the rest of the day went.

Received the third of three pairs of BabyLegs I ordered through a co-op. They're legwarmers for babies (remember, as in the 80's, when Jack Frost was apparently - judging from old photos - nipping at all our ankles?) (remember, you weren't allowed - for fashion reasons - to hike them up past your anklebone?)

The three we have are: green jester, rainbow stripe and hearts. Will add pics when I get a chance, hopefully... love these, though the jester is my favourite. The other two feel kind of squinchy to me; too tight for fatty thighs, plus a bit polyester-ish. But maybe they will loosen up with washing. The green jester is nice and loose and soft on the inside.

Ooooh... package from HarperCollins publishers today. I am reviewing a book by Sarah Chana Radcliffe for the CJN and I called yesterday to request a review copy. They phoned back to verify my details and I was thoroughly not dressed, speaking to the book company rep like the freelance-writing professional I truly am, deep down inside... and then it arrived today! Looks like a good book; she's written others, but I think this is her first by a mainstream publisher. I should just have Ted read it - he's her biggest fan.

Arts & Crafts Day committee meeting of the kids' school today. A&C Day is the strangest thing ever... not a fundraiser; it's just supposed to break even. We mamas get together like sixteen times in the months leading up to this momentous event in February. We slave to prepare 200 of five quick craft projects and then the kids come in for two hours, pay their admission fee, eat some snacks, slap together the crafts and head home. I guess it appeals to the crafty mama in me, but my kids are too old now to actually participate. ECH was mortified that I'd make her go, but I said she was old enough to volunteer and this seemed to mollify her.

Tonight's activity (A&C Day is over a month away still) was cutting donated upholstery fabric in the shape of plus signs to cover cereal-box ends, which will transform them into gorgeous, tapestried bentcher boxes. When the kiddies arrive next month, all they'll have to do is slap a box onto a piece of fabric, tape the fabric on, tie a ribbon around it, and go home.

I missed the actualy day last year because Naomi was only 6 days old... she was born during the kids' midwinter vacation. I felt bad because I'd promised to be there, so Ted went in my place and supervised kiddies doing crafts. Lucky him!

Speaking of kiddies... another detention for YM. Seventh late this term. Ted got him there on time but YM says we make him put his coat in his locker, that's what makes him late. If he doesn't put his coat in his locker, it gets lost. Can't win. ECH wandered around the house distracted all evening because her agenda was lost... and I kept saying, "look on the computer desk." Finally, I came over here and sure enough, there it was - it had been put over here before Shabbos to tidy the entranceway.

Anyway, this is actually no time to blog... we have heaters in the back bedrooms now so I set the house temperature to go down to 15 after 10 pm... like now. So my room is pretty toasty, but the rest of the house - brrr....

Oh, yeah. The baby stayed dry through her entire nap and peed / pooed when she woke up. Yay! The rest of the afternoon, we had a few potty-pees, but late afternoon and early evening were pretty much a write-off, potty-wise. Looking forward to when she can get there under her own steam - it can't be far off now.

Supper: Lasagna, using yummy roasted-tomato sauce left over from last week, plus "French" onion soup

Monday, January 23, 2006

Done, done, done!


This week is looking way rosier than last week (the end, anyway). We have a "new" washing machine! It works great! The clothes were starting to get dingy... my criterion for a good washer is - does it knock the "stuffing" out of a pocket diaper? The last one (it came with the house) didn't... the stuffing would just curl up and hide in a corner of the dipe. If you're not sure what a pocket dipe is, here's one with the stuffing on its way in. The idea being, the outer part is waterproof, the inner part is soft against the baby, and the middle, you stuff a towel or anything waterproof. But the whole thing is way more sanitary if the stuffing is washed outside the diaper.

Anyway, this washer does a stupendous job - the stuffings were all cowering obediently in a corner FAR away from the outer. And the whites that came out of the white load today were shiny and bright. Can't wait do some sun-drying in the backyard... when the sun decides to return in its full strength, round about July. :-)))

So why "done, done, done!"? I finished all three articles for the CJN: midwifery, insurance, compounding drugs. Will post links if/when they appear online.

The week started pretty desperate and glum yesterday when the midwife I'd originally contacted as a source for my article wasn't home when I called to interview her. I was 25 minutes late because I was stuck at the Dr. with Yerachmiel, and she was out. I have left so many messages for her over the last week or so, but I guess she was fed up with me or something, because she never returned one of them.

So, last night, backed into a corner and up against my deadline, I emailed every midwifery practice in the city to see if they had a Jewish midwife. No reason she had to be Jewish, I guess, except it's the CJN, so I wanted some kind of connection, and it's nice to see that there are Jews in these kinds of fields.

Anyway, at 9 this morning, I also called the Association of Ontario Midwives, and the director of Ryerson University's midwifery education program... to no avail.

Then, around 10:30, while the baby was blissfully sleeping - ha! A wonderful, blessed midwife fell into my lap: one of the cold emails to random midwife practices paid off! She was so articulate and happy to chat for about 15 minutes and gave me all the quotes I needed. I was SO grateful I emailed her right away to thank her kind of effusively... I'm sure she thinks I'm totally crazy now. :-)

But all that means my article is done!!! I had the thing mostly written already and I just plunked in her quotes, smoothed things out a little bit and sent the piece on its way. All while the baby napped, little suspecting what a super mama I was in that particular moment...

Since she was still napping, I decided to take a shower (it was 1:00 in the afternoon by then, so I thought high time) and I found a hand towel all shrivelled and damp and realized Ted must have had to use it for his shower this morning. Felt so sad at the pathetic image of my 6-foot-some husband towelling with this little thing that I stuck in a load of towels to wash first.

I must be the world's worst housewife. I thought at first it was because I was new to it, but that can't be it, because here we are almost a year on and I'm still utterly incompetent at this job of feeding, clothing and caring for my family.

My intentions are good, but things just run out of steam... or take way longer than I expect. Laundry tends to start optimistically on Monday morning, but then expand to take the entire week. I heard a mother say last year that she does one load every morning, but then, she also said she yanks her husband's shirts out of the dryer after 15 minutes so they don't wrinkle. Somehow, I don't think she's the type to leave the rest of the things crumpled in the dryer for days on end until the next soggy washload needs the space. :(

BUT I have a washer. See? I thought I had it bad because I had only one shoe, but last week, I was the man with only one foot - a dryer and no washer - so now, this week, I feel much better.

The baby seems to be pooing at random these days - sometimes in the potty, sometimes in her diaper. She did two in her diaper today, which has gotten extremely rare, so I guess I will drop the smug feeling of "my baby is almost trained," and just enjoy letting her play on the potty and not do anything there for a few days.

My next hurdle: a workshop this Wednesday at the Betel Centre introducing eBay. Must email Michael (current co-ordinator there) to see how many people he's expecting me to entertain. Must also put together an outline for what I'm actually going to say. :-))

But after that, I'm off the hook for a couple of days - no tutoring this week. Only been doing it for a few weeks, but already, it is a welcome vacation. Knowing we'll be back at it next week, of course. Otherwise, it would just be a scary bit of "unemployment."

Anyway, as we cub reporters like to close...

# # #

(in the writing business, that means you're done... so does...)

- 30 -

Why "30"? I have no clue...

Oh - dinners for the last few nights (forgot I was meant to be doing that):

Friday - Shabbos -

"Easy Shabbos" - shake n' bake chicken, rice-a-roni, corn, spring rolls, mix brownies doctored with chocolate chips, pecans and marshmallows BUT also homemade challah and the most divine chicken soup I've tasted in a long time. Kneidlach, kreplach.

Must add Shabbos lunch here because I went all out:

Salmon noodle, crunchy broccoli salad, gefilte fish, pickles, sliced meats, spring rolls, cholent. Had two people from shul, my mother and YM, plus he had a friend over. LOTS of squishing at our table, but great time had by all - yay!

Saturday - Motzaei Shabbos - nothing. Elisheva had a bday party, so YM stayed home and played on the computer then complained when I got home after 1 1/2 hours that he hadn't eaten. To which I basically said, tough. What kind of Jewish mother am I?

Sunday - Ted fried Lazer Yitzchok sausages (amazing!) and we had leftover Shabbos vermicelli rice (rice-a-roni), plus corn, plus he boiled potatoes, which the kids loved.

Tonight - ick. Matzah Brei, the supper of last recourse. I was just so tired. My excuse is, at least I voted!

Oh... almost forgot.

Yet another line I can't stand and will strangle the next person who says it:

"You must have so much room now that you're in a house!" Umm... no? Our apartment was big; our house is TINY. We have WAY less room here, even less if we ever rent out the basement. Hopefully, someday. So I can't stand it when people suggest that we must be rattling around in a big empty house now.

It's mostly Thornhill people who do it. They have lost touch with real property values and think everybody can afford one bedroom per child. :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Broken Washing Machine Frantic Sad Day

Yes... the demise of a terrible washing machine CAN have that much of an impact on my life. More about the washer later.

Otherwise, it was already a crazy day - I was out tutoring this morning and go out again this evening, all trying to make some money plus "keep a hand in" for the intellectual stimulation. Sara (my sister) came to watch Naomi, which was a pleasure... she's so calm and good with the baby. I hurried back but it still took 1/2 hour longer than I thought it would and the baby was crying and ready for num nums (nursing).

But then the washing machine was broken. Actually, I discovered that first thing this morning when I went to use it, but then it was preoccupying me, hanging over my head like a gloomy cloud. There's another one in the garage, but it's a crazy-hard thing to get it inside and hook it up and Ted doesn't know who he'll ask to help him carry it. Meanwhile, I discovered it was broken (the knob doesn't turn) as I went downstairs to wash diapers. Meaning - there are no clean diapers. Eek!

New baby wants: patemm diaper changing pad... lovely round shape, lovely oilcloth prints. Starts at about $40 us... ha ha ha. Like the Bugaboo, it's hot right now because all the movie stars have one. They probably get them for free. It's one of those smart ideas that everybody wishes they'd come up with - change pad and diaper bag all in one, kind of.

Of course, since Naomi is my third baby, I'll change her anywhere I can lay her down and I've learned that if the surface is hard enough, she won't wriggle out of the way. Isn't that terrible? A bathroom floor is best - ceramic tiles under her head and she'd stay put for hours. Trying to change her on the bed is worst - she sees me coming, grins and scampers off. I do use a waterproof/flannel pad when I change her on the floor, btw. In case you think I change babies on the floor floor.

In the last paragraph, I accidentally spelled her name Namoi - stupid broken keyboard that boy uses for online games! - but it looked kind of cool... like a space-alien name.

Can you tell I'm procrastinating?
Supposed to be writing three articles:
~ pharmaceutical compounding
~ longterm care health insurance
~ midwifery in Ontario

Two new articles out today in the CJN:
~ mind, body, soul in medicine (interesting short lecture I went to last month)
~ local vegan bakery goes kosher (badly butchered in a couple of places - not my fault!)

More recent articles
~ psychologist on children's anger (very short lecture I attended last month). Everybody at shul made a big deal about this, like, "oh, you write?" and it's highly embarrassing because duh...yes, I write!
~ Breastfeeding Clinic Closure... went to this guy when YM (ds) was a newborn - it's a shame all the hospitals here have shut him down. Send an email here (hope this is the right link!) if you can help or write a letter of support!

Supper tonight:
Macaroni, tinned Campbell's (kosher) soup, tinned green beans

Last night:
Pasta with roasted-tomato sauce, spicy corn chowder

Tuesday night:
Steak soup with tons of veggies - crusty baguette bread

Monday night:
Steak on the barbecue (my amazing Weber Q Grill!), mashed potatoes, stir-fried multicolour peppers

So you can see, tonight's macaroni-and-leftovers is a BIG step down from our usual... :-((( But everybody deserves a break sometimes. :-)

While I was typing this, the baby - three feet away - was in her highchair diaperless (because of the laundry situation - she just peed and I figured I'd save some work) except then she pooed everywhere. Runny, carroty - never seen her do THAT before. Every day is a new and disgusting journey of discovery.

Most went in the potty, but still... ick.
More about our potty stuff another day. Somebody has to make supper.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Addicted to... raves page

Only one so far:

YU organic basmati rice milk - costs a fortune... maybe if I get a blender for my birthday, I will figure out how to make this. Pur rice, no sugar added, so this is kind of a guilt-free addiction, for once!

More:

Okay, it's pretty trite, but Robeez baby soft shoes. They work better than any others I've tried - in 11 years of parenting experience, mind you! I have 6-12 months: Lion, Butterfly, Teddy Bear. Plus, I have one in the next size up... 12-18 months (forget which one). I prefer the animals, in general, and only buy them secondhand, as the prices are scandalous new. HATE the Booteez or however they spell them, though. What non-walking baby needs boots in the winter?

Swimming Lessons! & HB to me!

Today was Naomi's third swimming lesson - my 2nd. I couldn't take her last week, since I was doing a workshop at the Betel Centre. What a fun time! The pool water was cold so it was only a 1/2 hour class this week, instead of the full hour which exhausted her so much last time.

Oh - mailman's here! Oooh! I've been Pinned! See DiaperPin.com for more information, but basically this means a little present, out of the blue on a day when I was least expecting it. It's a brand-new Carter's crib sheet. Wow! I used to have a million crib sheets for the other kids, and I probably didn't throw them out, but now that Naomi needs them I have no clue where they are. I know I tossed a bunch with dead elastic a while ago.

And on my birthday, no less... I'm so excited! Thank you, thank you, whoever sent this!

Also, my new "free" business cards arrived from Vistaprint. Not exactly free, but it gives me something to hand out with all the networking I plan to be doing now that my EI is running out. :-)))

Anyway, swimming was great as it was the first class. She loves the water now (quite different from the noisy public pool last summer). Six or seven mamas with babies... hers was the only swim diaper - everyone else has disposable "Little Swimmers." They sell them there and I'm worried they'll try to make me buy one, but BOY will I kick up a fight if they even think to question her neon green Kushies velcro swim dipe. :-)))

I dunked her twice. You count, 1-2-3 and then bob under and up again quickly. And then, at the end of the class, the teacher took each baby and "dived" him/her through the water, very quickly, coming up so they could see mama right away. I hope this is a good thing that will make her unafraid to put her face in the water.

Anyway, my CJN editor just emailed me about three stories that are due next week so I must get on it and find out what happened to this midwife I was supposed to be interviewing this morning (for an article about the current state of midwifery in Ontario). Ta ta!

Oh, yeah...it's my birthday. Did I mention that? :-)

Cast of Characters

I don't like coming "cold" into a blog without knowing who's who... you know, you're reading along and all of a sudden, Phoebe does something and you're like, "who's Phoebe?"

So here's who's who. KEEP IN MIND THAT MOST OF THIS WAS WRITTEN TWO YEARS AGO AND JUST UPDATED TODAY BECAUSE IT WAS sOOOOO OUT OF DATE!

The grown-ups:
Me - Jennifer - 36 years old today, stay-home mama of 3 (only one at home)
Ted - DH - 42 years old, or maybe 43! Works as a driver for local funeral home but his real talent is in graphic arts - he's a cartoon artist. Very talented.

The kids:
Ds1 - 13 years old - interests include: reading, computers, handheld computers
Dd1 - 12 years old - interests include: umm... it's private
Dd2 - almost 3 years old - interests include: Lego, play-doh, cooking, cleaning ;-)
Ds2 - 4 months old -

Other characters:
My parents - two
Kids' Grandparents - Bubby, Zeidy, in Ottawa, Granny, Grampa, and, in Calgary, Grandma & Grampa Mikey, Grandpa & Grandma Carole
Siblings/Aunts/Uncles - Eli, Sara, Abigail, and on Ted's side, Richard, Bobby, Cheryl
Friends - a few, from shul and other places... not many for me; I'm a loner

The biggest thing I'm working on these days is getting back into freelance writing. Mostly for the Canadian Jewish News, but trying here and there elsewhere as my energy levels permit. It's nice being back into writing, and it gets my brain working again, which is always a good thing after this quick repeat journey into early-mommy-hood, but it's also hard shaking off the sleepy daze that surrounds me most days.

I also do computer tutoring. I like working with people 55 and up, especially beginners, because it's such a fascinating journey of discovery. Before this baby came along, I was the coordinator of computers for the Bernard Betel Centre (can I put in a link there?) and built their seniors' computer centre from scratch. Right now, I have two ladies that I'm tutoring in their homes and I'm also starting to do workshops at the Betel Centre (no need for another link!) in the hopes that it may lead to a part-time job teaching...

All of this is a frantic effort to make money in light of the reality that - with the baby approaching 12 months - my EI is running out any day now. And then we will be on our own with Ted's (significantly reduced) income.

Anyway, this is the cast of characters, plus a bit about who we are... hopefully, more adventures will follow!