Thursday, December 18, 2008

another one about Swee'pea and the radio

After I picked Swee'pea up at daycare today, we went to the grocery store to pick up a few necessities. "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails came on, and I realized it might have been close to a decade since the last time I heard it. I own the cd, but "Closer" was really always a club song for me. Anyways, I cranked it and sang along, badly and loudly (except for the f-word, since Swee'pea was in the backseat). I did wonder if this would be another scary cookie monster song for him, but hoped for the best.

"Help me," goes the song at one point. "Help me. Help me get away from myself."

We parked and I just sat there, waiting for the song to end.

"Help me," called Swee'pea from the backseat.

"What do you want help with?" I asked, not catching on to the echo.

"Help me get out of the car."

Walking across the parking lot, I found myself still singing the chorus: "Help me."

Swee'pea said, "I like that song!" He giggled then sang, "Help me!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

our Christmas elf

Yesterday we got a tree, and pulled out the box of ornaments and stuff. We decided to wait to decorate the tree until we got some more lights this morning, and left the box out. While Sugar D cooked dinner, and I dabbled on the computer, Swee'pea played quietly behind me. I turned around and saw this:

christmas elf

Friday, December 12, 2008

morning rush

By the time Swee'pea and I got in the car this morning (because we were too late to walk and I had a 9 a.m. meeting, which was at risk even with the car), I was pretty much vibrating from headache and rush and irritability. I mean, how many times does one have to ask a toddler to do something like put boots on or a toque??? I hate that I'm constantly at Swee'pea to hurry up, quick, quick, focus, just FOCUS on the task at hand, would you? and do it.

I flipped some radio channels in the car, and soon heard the first few chords from "Come as you are" by Nirvana. I turned it up and started ,yelling singing along. It was just like being 15 again, and amazingly it felt good. It felt good just to sink into rage and self-loathing without apology, to feel 16 again. I had a moment when I wondered what Swee'pea thought, unusually silent in the backseat, but I didn't really care. I mean, I was singing. Singing can't be scary, can it?

The song ended as we pulled into Swee'pea's daycare. After I turned the car off, Swee'pea said, "That music was scary.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because it sounded like Cookie Monster."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

cheap greeting cards ending soon

Just wanted to let you know that as of January 1, 2009, I'll be increasing the price of my photo art cards from $3.99 each (less if you buy packs of 12 or 24) to $4.99. So you might want to take advantage of this extremely cheap price before I do.

Also -- I'm giving something away to interested Americans over at peripheralvision.

Monday, December 08, 2008

while I'm on the subject...

I suspect yesterday's squash soup is actually quite good. But sadly, it's still too sweet for me, despite two cups of vegetable stock and several generous splashes of white wine vinegar. This sweet-savoury aversion is a REAL handicap. I think I'll just have to freeze it all and let Sugar D take it for a month of lunches. I'd donate it to the drop-in centre, but many folks thought I was nuts for enjoying the pumpkin soup so much, so I suspect sweet squash soup wouldn't go over well. Besides, how popular is someone for bringing in something they cooked but can't stand the taste of???

* * *

When I started this blog, I immediately covered it with google ads, convinced it would be the ticket to my working from home and, eventually, living for six months in South Africa and six months here, never having to experience cold again. It didn't canvas shopping bag of food), along with my thoughts:

PC Celebration Sparkling De-alcholized Wine, Blanc - I don't much care for sparkling wine with alcohol, so I doubt I'll be trying this one... maybe I should find a pregnant woman to invite over for New Years.

PC Decadent Hot Chocolate - haven't tried it yet, but it's the real stuff you add to milk.

PC Peach and Mango Salsa - Hey, there was peach and mango salsa in the box? I must have stuck it in the fridge before I realized. I probably won't like it (sweet-savoury aversion and all), but I bet Sugar D will be ALL over it...

PC Memories of Fuiji 3 Mushroom Sauce - probably won't try it because I don't really like crazy weird mushrooms and somehow this just makes me think of hoisin sauce, which I hate (see sweet-savoury aversion above).

PC Lingonberry Sauce - Sugar D had it in some yogurt. Said it mostly tasted like cranberry sauce.

PC Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels w/ Sea Salt - Yum! If you scrape off the salt crystals. Otherwise the salty flavour lingers long after the chocolatey caramel goodness.

PC Black Olive & Fig Tepanade - saving it for a party.

PC Dark Chocolate Candy Cane Bark - not bad but a little more toothpastey than I generally like my chocolate.

PC Biscuits for Cheese - Swee'pea went so cuckoo for these mixed crackers I barely got a taste in before they disappeared. Not bad. I'll probably get them for our next party so I don't end up with half-empty boxes of crackers I don't like.

PC Fruit Cake with Single Malt Whisky - I hate fruitcake but Sugar D, the resident fruitcake aficionado, said this was pretty good: moist, nice flavour, just not as dark as he would have liked.

So that's that. I kept my word, and only need to feel a little bit weird for pimping my space.

* * *

On Friday night, we moved Swee'pea's double bed away from his window, because we'd noticed a nasty cold draft coming in. I thought maybe that would reduce or shorten or maybe even eliminate??? his night-time visits to our bed. (No joy there by the way.)

The next night, as I was putting him to bed, he said, "Oh noooo! There's a draft coming in the window!"

He wasn't placated when I told him it wouldn't bother him across the room in his bed: "It's scary! The draft is scary!"

Which is when I explained that a draft is just cold air... He still talks about the draft but at least it's not scary anymore.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

squash soup

My hands are orange and sore from cutting up a huge butternut squash. It's one of those bright wintry days that look really nice from inside a cosy house, but feel like a son of a bitch when the wind blows ice crystals into your face. Everything is coated with a powdery, pristine blanket of snow, so it's almost painfully bright in our living room with the wall of window. I can barely read the computer screen.

Yesterday at the drop-in centre, we served a fantastic pumpkin soup. Gingery, garlicky, smooth but not too smooth, it was delicious. Sadly, nobody knows who donated it or where I might find the recipe. So today I am attempting a butternut squash soup with the flavours I think I tasted (onion, a bit of celery and carrot, fresh ginger and garlic, and turmeric -- I'll add a bit of cream at the end I think). It's simmering now.

Last weekend I went hunting for new recipes. We've been in a bit of a cooking funk lately -- for months, really -- and I need to find new things to cook, things that don't depend on cheese and pasta, because that gets old pretty quick when you eat it four nights a week. But I realized we have a significant handicap: there are a lot of vegetables I don't like, or that I only like rarely with specific and careful preparation (that I don't know how to do). Eggplant falls into the latter category, and all the autumn vegetables fall into the former - squash, turnip, carrots by themselves, sweet potato, rutabaga, parsnips, fennel. Oh and I don't like bizarre, slippery-feeling mushrooms either. Which writes off almost all the recipes in my cookbooks that I haven't already tried. Sugar D doesn't like brussels sprouts, and I don't think lima beans don't really count as a vegetable.

Wow, that was fast -- the squash is already cooked! Apparently, butternut squash takes longer to peel and chop than it does to cook. Regardless, it smells fantastic. Now I just need to put it in the blender, which could prove hazardous since Swee'pea is napping.

Oh crap. I just tasted it - it's way too sweet. (I also hate sweet and savoury flavour combinations - probably why I hate all those root veggies.) Anyone know how to cut the sweetness? Vinegar? Salt? Add more stock to thin it out? Help!

Which was not what I was going to ask for help with. But it will do for now. Help?

Thursday, December 04, 2008


The second anniversary of the Just Posts is coming up very soon.

It was through the Just Posts that I read something about all the women in Africa suffering from fistula, which is preventable and treatable. Yesterday one of my favourite photography blogs led me to this multimedia presentation about a hospital in Nigeria that treats women with fistula. Go watch it; it's beautiful. (Just click on multimedia when you get there.)

* * *
This anniversary is also making me reflect on how the Just Posts have changed my life. On the first Just Post, I pledged to sponsor a child through Help Lesotho and I actually set it up six months later (I know, I suck. But at least I did it, even if it was disgustingly late. And we're still doing it.)

On the first anniversary last December, I pledged to volunteer two hours a month somewhere. I decided on the Drop In Centre, and after my first morning there, I immediately decided to make it two hours a week (give or take a weekend out of town or of illness). I'm still going strong on that.

Last January, I also started selling my prints online and donating at least 50% of the proceeds to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. I've donated more than $200 now from the sale of my prints.

Last Friday I got the following message from the foundation:
It is said that the international financial turmoil will undermine the work of agencies like ours. Supposedly there’ll be no money around for charitable purposes. My colleagues and I refuse to accept that. We work from the premise that the struggle against AIDS will not be sacrificed on the altar of financial turbulence.

So we’re defying the odds. And we’re asking you to do the same. In fact, we’re asking you to do more. We’re asking you to join us in a new fundraising campaign called “TURNING THE TIDE”.

It’s our conviction that so much has been accomplished on the ground in Africa, for grandmothers and orphans and women in particular, that if we can fund every worthy proposal, we can turn the tide of the AIDS pandemic at the grassroots.

People will say that the timing is all wrong. We say, to the devil with the timing. We’re on the cusp of bringing hope to thousands upon thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS. Please join us.
It makes sense to me that charitable organizations could be among the worst hit by the global financial downturn. And it makes even more sense to me that we not let it. (So c'mon, buy a print or a calendar? They make great gifts! Or how about just donate to a charity you believe in...)

* * *

So now what? I feel I need to mark this anniversary by doing something more. But I can't think what. Any ideas???

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Not one hour after I wrote about Swee'pea's capacity for tenderness, he punched a little girl in the face at his daycare. I don't think it could have been too hard because she didn't cry but she did lose her balance. Swee'pea was utterly unapologetic. He said he didn't want her to come to his cubby -- which, given we were at the front door, was nowhere near the poor girl.


blue eyes

This past weekend, I went out to a party. I said goodbye to you and asked for a hug and a kiss. You hugged me and presented your cheek for my kiss, then pulled away. "I want to kiss you," you said, and I consented. So you placed your hands on either side of my face, and slowly pressed your lips to my forehead. Your capacity for tenderness is a salve.