Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's Friday Afternoon. Do You Know Where Your Child Is?

Lost track of Maddie for a few minutes Friday afternoon. Found her in bed, reading l'Autobus Magique, Girl Guide cookies within easy reach.

Good Golly, I love that child.

YES-S-S! It's a Double Digit Day

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Indian Cooking Class

Here is the finished product - the white stuff is a sweet dish (like rice pudding). It really helped to cut the spiciness of the other two dishes. It almost tastes like Carnation milk. The red stuff is Channa Masala (Chickpea curry). My favourite! I didn't think I'd like it, but it was just the right kind of salty, and the chickpeas rocked. The stewy stuff with the green peas is Aloo Matter Masala (Potato pea curry). Also, very good, and it was not so spicy that I think my family would actually dig it. The bread is Pori or Chapatti. The name changes depending on whether you deepfry it or pan fry it. It's kind of like Naan bread. Nummy.
Here's our host frying the bread. When the bread is put into the hot oil, it puffs up like a balloon. That's a sign that it was rolled out correctly. Isn't her sari pretty? My mom, rolling out some of the bread.

How to Pack a Suitcase 101

Step 1 - Pick out an outfit for each day. Fold the clothing lengthwise and pile on top of each other. Make sure you have socks, underwear, and even any special accessories in the pile. Roll them up carefully. If you roll them smoothly, you'll eliminate most of the wrinkles that come from folding.

Step 2 - Nestle the outfit rolls together into the suitcase. Make sure they are snug so that they won't unroll. Put any shoes into plastic bags so that they won't dirty your clothes. Do the same with any bottles of lotion/shampoo/etc.

And that's how I pack a suitcase! It's so much easier to just grab a roll every day and know that the whole outfit is there. It eliminates having to dig through all the other clothing to find the right pair of socks or the right bra. Coming home, though, I just throw everything into the case because I'll have to wash it all anyway.

Monday, March 23, 2009

St Paddy's

A little glimpse into our Saint Patrick's Day themed week...
Monday is Journaling Day.

We made rainbow coloured water using math and measuring. No gold at the end of that rainbow, though. Oh, well.

Maddie, measuring out her answer. They were so excited to see the water change colour!

We made a Leprechaun Trap. We used a potato as bait (of course). There is a little sign that says, "Don't Climb the Ladder!". Leprechauns, being the curious and disobedient elves that they are, will of course take the caution as an invitation and will climb unto the top of the hat to get to the potato. There, they will quickly meet their demise and fall through the trap door on the hat top! Genius!

The girls pointing out how far Eastern Canada and Ireland are on the globe. Maddie figured that it was really quite close and it would only be a short walk to span the few inches. We're working on that one!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We are NOT Pregnant

I'm NOT pregnant. I just want to be clear on that! Okay, I know that the lack of a pregnancy isn't something people normally announce, but because of recent events I thought I should put it out there. Here's a quick run-down of what's prompting this post:

I take folic acid every day. Not because I anticipate a pregnancy, but because it's something all women of childbearing age should do as a precaution against spina-bifida and other neurological disorders. In our family, this is a concern. The spine and all parts & pieces that go with it are amongst the first things to develop in an embryo, and by the time there are two pink lines on the pee stick, the baby is well on it's way to being properly or improperly developed. So - prevention is key. If you wait for the positive pregnancy test to take your vitamins, it might be too late to avoid some very serious disorders. We aren't trying, and have no plans to try for a 4th child anytime soon but hey - it happens. So, I'd rather have a clear conscience and folic acid is one of those things that can't hurt regardless.

On to the un-announcement! Eva, being 3, is a curious little tyke. She also has no idea what is tactful and what is inappropriate to say! She saw me take the folic acid at breakfast a while back and asked me what my medicine was. I explained that I was taking vitamins that help babies grow big and strong and that there WAS NO BABY in my tummy, but it was good to be healthy anyway. Well, didn't that start a conversation! When will there be a baby? Tomorrow? When is A's dog going to have a puppy? Will you have a boy or a girl? Is your tummy big? Why are babies healthy?

And, then, yesterday she was looking through the Shopper's Drug Mart flyer and noticed the vitamins were on sale. "Hey, look, Mommy! That's for your healthy baby!" and, me, again, "No no, there is NO BABY in my tummy." How do you explain prevention to a 3 year old? I figure it's only a matter of time before she announces it in public. I may as well start damage control now:

There is NO BABY in my tummy. Really.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Censored Doula

I admit it - I deleted almost half this post. It was angry, discouraged and frustrated. And, then, I remembered that this is not a private blog. It's not my outlet, unfortunately. People will read this and will remember what I've written. I am seriously censoring myself. So, here's a quick run-down - the prettier version:

So, I'd been trying to decide - do I hang up my Doula Bag for good? Should I bother with trying to certify at all (my deadline is in May, I still need 2 births and I've only done 3 in the last 2 years...tick, tock, tick, tock)?
And then, a mother asked me to be her doula. She was due in 2 days! That quickly fell through since the hospital has a 2 person limit and she had to choose between me or her own mother. Still, it was a glimmer of hope. Maybe there is some interest.
And so, I'm going to trudge on. No matter what the present mindset is amongst women in this area, truth is truth. Birth matters. Doulas make a difference. It can be better. If I can't go from A to B, then I'll detour to all the letters I can think of.

Friday, March 13, 2009

When Birth Means Death

I work with women who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies. Some are happy, some are confused, some are horrified, some are in denial. Most of them (in our centre, at least) are not very well off financially. What's going through their minds? Perhaps something like: How will I tell my boyfriend? What will my parents think? Another mouth to feed? I was just starting to get well established in my job - I'll lose seniority! I can't handle another one. I don't want to go through another uncomfortable pregnancy. I don't want to get fat (I know, but it's a concern for some). What about college?

I've never heard this one though: Will this birth bring about a funeral? Am I going to die? How will my other children cope if I don't make it? Will my baby be born alive, and make it safely to it's first birthday?

The truth is that for many women, those are valid concerns. Death is as sure as birth, for all of us, but in some areas of the world, pregnancy and childbirth are risky occasions. While we Canadians are worrying about having to give up our second vehicles and where to buy the nursery linens, families in third world countries are dealing with the reality that maybe this new pregnancy will be the end of their family unit.

If I were to become a midwife, I must say that I'm not all that interested in practicing in Canada. It's not that midwifery isn't needed here. It is. It's just that for a Canadian woman, birth is about choices. In third world countries, it's about life and death.

Here are some stats about maternal mortality:
The number in italics is the Maternal Mortality Ratio (maternal deaths per 100,000 live births). The number in bold is the Lifetime risk of death (1 in ?).

For example, in Canada, statistics say that the percentage of moms dying from childbirth related problems is .00007% In her lifetime, a woman would have a 1 in 11,000 chance of dying from childbirth related problems.

Afghanistan - 1800****8
Canada - 7****11,000
Cuba - 45****1400
Ireland - 1****47,600
Japan - 6****11,600
Niger - 1800****7
Philippines - 230****140
Sierra Leonne - 2100****8
United States - 11****4,800

Here's the rest of the info, more complete:
It's an eye opener.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mexican-Chinese Cooking Class

Ethic cooking class was Chinese this week! We made traditional Chinese New Year dumplings and chicken wings. It was good! I'd even say it was the best ethnic cooking class meal yet! The dumplings were served with a sprinkling of sesame oil and soy sauce over the top...mmm, mmm. I brought home a doggy bag for Rich since he missed it. I don't recommend that, though. I guess reheated dumplings are less than desirable.

The chefs were an elderly chinese couple. They spoke no english except for "Good job". This lady was the sweetest 4'9 you ever did see!

The chef man was awesome. Though we couldn't speak, he made himself understood with hand gestures, big frowns, wide grins and a thumbs up if we did especially well.

Two weeks ago, we had Mexican night. Talk about awesome! We made enchiladas with green tomatoes and fistfuls of jalapeno peppers. I admit, I was scared to try it. Turns out that he really knew what he was doing. It was the perfect mix of hot and spicy.

I think it just might have been the best ethnic cooking class yet!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Thievery in the Country

I never expected to be solving a crime when I visited my mom this afternoon. On the way to her house, I bought a couple gallons of milk. I set them outside the car in a snowbank to stay cool. They live in the country, and I didn't think that anything would happen to them. After a couple hours, I came back to the car and there they were. Gone.

I found the gallon jug near the car, and from the teeth marks in the plastic, I immediately knew the culprit - Bernie! My parents' big ol' Bermese Mountain dog has a thing for inanimate objects. He'll make off with anything that isn't tied down, especially if it's plastic. So, we sent out a search party. My dad went one way, I went the other and we looked. And looked. And looked. Mid March, it's very difficult to walk outside with all the snow and ice. I should have rethunk the black stiletto boots...

Anyway, I did find the milk after a while. It was down the driveway, and not anywhere near Bernie's special treasure spots (He does have special areas where he deposits his loot. The areas change according to the seasons). Now, all is well. Graedon has his milk - as long as he doesn't mind the dog slobber and teeth marks on the jug.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Family Visit

A visit with family...

We all went to the local amusement centre. The kids played their first game of bowling. Maddie and I were tied for points for a while!

We tried out the new Montana's restaurant. We told the waitress it was R's birthday and he got to wear the very cool moose antlers!

Part of the crew.

We went for a walk and stopped at the local cafe for white hot chocolates. Maddie is sporting a dashing moustache!

Family bonding time!


Maddie has been asking me to teach her to sew for months now. I'd been putting it off until I felt her dexterity was up to snuff. I didn't want her to get discouraged and turned off from the whole idea if I introduced it too soon. Finally, though, I thought she was ready. Here's our first project - Tank Top Tote

Take an ordinary tank top and turn it inside out. The spaghetti strap ones are better, but any top will do. Then, sew a straight line across the hem of the shirt. We used a darning needle and darning thread (yarn) because it would be easier for five-year-old fingers to handle.

Make sure the stitches are small enough that what you're carrying won't be able to fit through the gaps. The stitches will be hidden, so if they aren't perfect it's not a huge deal.

Make a knot at the end of the row. Cut the thread, turn the bag inside out and Voila!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tax Time

Yep, it's that time of year again. Tax time. For weeks, I've been scrounging under car floor mats, chasing dust bunnies from under the printer and shooing the moths from my wallet in the quest for any extra receipts I can claim toward Noble Electrolysis. I've filled out my spreadsheets, I've organized and filed, and I've raced to the mailbox everyday in hopes of my long-awaited T3s, T4s, Twhatevers. And today, I made my annual trek to THAT PLACE. H&R Block.

In the waiting room, all they had to read was Maclean magazine, and the TV set was on CNN (no remote in view). Not only must you wait an eternity, you also evidently must learn about politics and finances while you are there, and make idle chit-chat with strangers who are asking themselves the same questions as you...just how much are we being screwed for this year? Or, hmmm, since I didn't make enough money to pay my bills on time this year, maybe I can escape bankruptcy with my tax return!

So, finally, my name is called and I trudge into the office. I do my best to look innocent and somewhat financially responsible. My hands tremble, my eye twitches, and I can't wipe the stupid grin off my face. I might sweat a bit. I sit on the edge of my seat trying to decide whether I should look casual or concerned. I am an uptight business owner, and I go out of my way to be entirely on the up and up. No receipt for this expense? Too bad, can't write it off. Got paid? Sorry, no under the table. And, yet, I can't help but wonder - what if there's a rule I didn't know about? What if I made an innocent mistake and they catch it and sue me for tax evasion? Oh my gosh, what was that amount for??? Am I going to jail???

And that's why I pay way too much to get it done by professionals.