Saturday, May 1, 2010

Where have I been?

It's been 6 months since i started my new job in Kelowna and moved down and I'm pleased that it feels like we're settling in. Lots of stuff has happened of course, here are the highlights:

  1. Grandma Hope and Grandpa Jim came to visit.
  2. tiled my mother's bathroom - 240 bright white tiles; plumber break a tile while installing shower. I spend 2 hours replacing it.
  3. found new hairstylist - Jen at Regis. Will start to train her in Christine-style haircuts
  4. Alex also finds a hairstylist - very frou-frou and has only one name, a la Madonna. Alex is somewhat satisfied but not happy with her bangs - he doesn't take instruction as well as my "mall hairstylist"
  5. tiled my mother's kitchen - went much faster as mom learned how to grout the last time around and Alex measured all the cuts
  6. Amy and June came to visit, learned how to geo-cache, took them to the Jammery for breakfast
  7. my sister Michelle came to visit, toured 6 wineries in 1 afternoon, no time for the Jammery
  8. Margo and Sherwin came to visit, had a lovely stroll at Mission Hill Winery, went to the Jammery for breakfast
  9. bought a Yamaha V-Star that I use as my daily commuter, I've named her Maggie cause I love her. 7 minutes of heaven before I have to start my day
  10. Alex now has a very pretty Yamaha Vino that she only rides when her outfit matches the bike, i think. (here are the bikes together, being ridden by hooligans that broke into the garage)
  11. went to disneyland - most tiring vacation of my life, definitely once in a lifetime for me (check out pics on facebook)
  12. Heather, Marie and Nate came to visit, Heather attempts to teach us how to make chicken soup; we forget to tell her we already know how
  13. Alex sees her one-named hair stylist again, still cannot give her the bangs she wants - i suggest they break up
  14. I see Jen at the mall again - walk out with perfect hair-cut
  15. built, from scratch, shelves along one wall of the garage that are so strong, they can be used as bunkbeds.
  16. bought a Wii Fit Plus. It tells me I'm a senior citizen. Lucky I moved to Kelowna - it has the highest per capita of senior's homes in the country.
  17. Grandpa Ervin comes for a visit. Kills everyone at Wii archery. Took him to the Jammery for breakfast.
  18. Grandma Hope and Grandpa Jim visit, they look at houses for sale; took them to the Jammery for breakfast
  19. found an amazing hiking trail to a place called Paul's Tomb that is as close to the Grouse Grind as you're going to find in this area, except you start from the top of the mountain and then must go back up to get home.
  20. ripped out all the cedar bushes in the front of the house with Patricia, found many quail's eggs which reeked to high heaven, but the kids wanted to keep them anyway. Replaced everything with lavender, echinacea, maltese cross, dwarf lilac and sage. Much better.
  21. went to gay and lesbian centre fundraiser dance - great time, very friendly people; see one-named hairstylist - do not say hello.
  22. went to Greg Sczebel show at Cush - amazingly high end food, very classy venue, and Greg was lovely. More Junos for sure.
I'm sure there's a lot of stuff that I've forgotten. I know for a fact that Tea has brought home unbelievable pieces of writing from school, and right now she's practicing for a musical. Looking forward to seeing it. Kai continues his obsession with Lego and Star Wars. He has now managed to buy all 6 episodes from garage sales and clearance aisles.

This week me and the kids are working on woodworking projects for the moms in our family. Will post pictures when they're done.

Happy Mother's day to all.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jesus, it's Nazareth

So, it's been a month since we officially moved to Kelowna and we're settling in quite well. The commute is the biggest change in our lives - it's 10 minutes tops, door-to-door, from home to my office. It's 4 minutes from the house to the school, and that's if you miss the traffic light on the main road. My commute is the bus 3 days a week, as I open the branch on those days and have to be there early, the other 2 days i work the evening shift as we're open late, so I get to take the kids to school and come back home and putter about until Alex whips me down in time for the lunch hour crowd. We feel like we have so much spare time these days - the time that was typically devoted to commuting in the big bustling city. We're not missing the old days.

I'm still having a deep, soul-effecting daily struggle though - finding a radio station to wake up with in the morning. This is something I used to take for granted in Vancouver. It's been CBC since I can remember. The friendly soothing voice of Rick Cluff, his direct approach with guests, his sarcastic sense of humour....If you’re reading this, I miss you Rick.

There is a CBC station here but it’s not the same in the morning. Plus, on the clock radio by my bed, it comes in like it’s being broadcast from Russia. I’ve played with the antenna, but to no avail. So I’ve been experimenting. For a while I was waking up to French CBC – comes in clear, the music is lovely, but I was missing out on current affairs. It has helped me in brushing up on my French, so it wasn’t a total waste. Then one of the kids played around with it and changed it to the Top 40 station in town. It was fine, I was catching up on the Miley Cyrus happenings, I knew the exact schedule of when American idol would be on, and who the guest judges were going to be, I was informed where and when the big parties in town were and got the scoop on how to win free tickets for me and all my friends to drink and dance all night long.


I woke up one morning to Jordan Sparks searching for air again and thought I should find a new station. As I lied there under the weight of one of my children’s limbs (yes, they’re still sneaking into our bed) I grabbed the radio and started to move the dial. The wonderful comforting sound of Bono came through so crisply I felt like I had won a lottery. Finally, a station that plays good old U2 – can’t get better thatn that. I found my new station. I turned the radio off and got up for the day feeling like if I had already accomplished something this great before 7am, this day was set to be magnificent.

The next morning brought quite the opposite feeling. Again, I stirred to feel that there was a child in my bed, which I was grumpy about. Then the alarm went off and the most god-awful music blared out of the horrid piece of plastic. To add to the instant headache and nausea, Tea, who was lying half on the bed and half on top of me, started to rock and tap to the hard and heavy sound of something that was a perfect fit for a drunken brawl in a mid-70s smokey bar. She was perfectly in time, which made me proud, but i could not, would not encourage her by telling her. As I reached out my hand to hit the damn thing’s Snooze button she grabbed me and screamed “No!” “What??!?” I said. “Mummy, can you hear those drums, they’re amazing, I love them, this is such a good song.” OK, so I get that she’s probably never heard this kid of music as every room or vehicle she’s in she changes the station to something Top 40ish, and I’ve never heard JT do drums like that, but COME ON. I had to listen to the whole thing, and it must have been some EP version of the damn song cause I swear it went on for 10 minutes before the guy came on and announced with such glee that it was the best song Nazareth ever recorded.

Jesus, it’s Nazareth. My daughter has just heard Nazareth and she’s enthralled. I was dumbfounded. I needed a new station. Apparently, I had dialled into the classic rock station in town. Playing U2 the day before was stretching their identity. I changed the clock radio back to Top 40.

The weekend after the Nazareth incident Alex and I were invited to a dinner as an opportunity to meet some new people. We got all dolled up and off we went. I ended up sitting next to 2 women who work for a local radio station – the country station. Heather, who just happens to be the co-host on the morning show, was very charming and talkative and we hit it off right away. I explained to her how I’ve been looking for a new station and my experience earlier on in the week with Nazareth. “Nazareth” she screamed, “I love them, it must have been Hair of the Dog. I love that song” and she started rocking about just like Tea was that morning. “That’s a great Canadian band” she said “every Canadian should listen to Nazareth and like them.” There I was, lamb morsels growing chewy in my mouth, the co-host of a radio show gyrating in front of me, I took a swig of my Tanqueray and had a moment of questioning my patriotism – all because of Rick Cluff.

By the end of the evening I had resolved my inner guilt of un-Canadian-ness, and made a new friend. I agreed to listen to her show, she said she would play me a favourite Sugarland song at 6:30am the next morning and said goodnight. She played the song as she promised, and she even talked about meeting me and Alex – it was sweet. But that station didn’t last very long either. I found myself a few days in a row, listening to Heather and then turning the volume down when the New Country came on. I just can’t do that either early in the morning.

Alex suggested getting a new clock radio, maybe something from this century. I’m thinking about it. In the meantime, CBC with lots of interference is probably the best choice.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Getting used to new shadows

Well, for those of you who have ever wondered what I get up to in my room alone, and I know there is many a curious mind out there, this story will shed a bit of light.

It takes a while to get used to a new place, the sound of the furnace clicking on and off, the dripping snow melting off the eavestroughs landing with a mini-crash on the concrete below, the creak in the floor in Alex’s office that’s always followed by six mini creaks, etc. And the feeling of the house is important –none of the rooms are creepy, we’ve scrubbed everything clean, and it’s starting to smell like our home. I have felt comfortable in this place from the moment we’ve set foot in it with the realtor. It truly has good energy.

My pseudo anxiety started the day we moved in. I had been at work all day while Alex managed the movers. By the time I got home all the smelly, sweaty men had left and Alex and the kids were swimming in boxes. I changed into my grubby clothes and started to work on a path through the mess and adventure into the nooks and crannies. I found myself in the storage area under the stairs playing with the built-in vacuum accessories, working on a plan to hang or tie them into a tidy group. There , on a ledge, I spot a tiny mouse trap. Hhhhhmmmm. “Why would they have had a mouse trap here?” I thought to myself, and actually said it out loud unknowingly as I heard Alex say “Is there anything dead in it?” “No. Just a little empty mouse trap.” I replied with a bit of suspicion in my tone.

So, that was about 20 days ago. Here and there I have been keeping my eyes open for rodents. I cleaned the downstairs bathroom and thought I may have seen mouse droppings in the cupboard. I have left items in specific places in said cupboard and have checked it daily to see if they’ve been moved– nothing. Maybe it was just dirt.I have been on the lookout for anything moving along the floors while I’m quietly typing or watching TV – nothing. I found little black specs under the kitchen cupboard and when I thought I finally had proof of something Alex came by and said “Oh sorry, I was just gonna clean that up, I dropped a bunch of coffee grounds when I was emptying the coffee machine.”

So I carry on with my semi-active rodent search.

About a week after we moved in I thought for sure I saw a small animal scurrying along the side of the house. Alex and I were in her office, laughing about some email, and it just so happens that her computer is under the window. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something dark in colour, the size of a small cat, run from the front of the neighbours house along the side to the back. “AHA. Did you see that?. I’m sure that was a rat.” “There’s no rats around here” she said flippantly. “No, I definitely saw something. If it wasn’t a rat then it was something else, but something just ran past the window.” I don’t think she takes me very seriously when I’m hyper like that, I think she just puts up with me cause she knows it’ll pass quick. But now I had proof.

The next morning was when we discovered that we had a bevy of quail living in the underbrush behind our house. There must have been about 20 of them - a mummy quail, some daddy quail, lots of baby quail, and I’m sure there were some aunts and uncles – we didn’t have a chance to interview them at length. We saw them crossing the street, slowly walking along in a straight line like when we were school girls in our Sacred Heart uniforms out on a field trip. My friend Wendy says that they are able to fly but they just choose not to. Sort of remind me of my children; they are able to go to sleep without whining, they just choose not to.So, I have resigned myself to the fact that the animal I saw scurrying beside the house was one of them. My mind felt rested, my shoulders felt lower, I was content. Until last Thursday.

It was an evening like any other. Dinner was done, we had read to the children in their respective beds and Alex had gone downstairs to her office to check on any new emails. I put the kettle on, and went into the bedroom to put my pyjamas on and get ready for an hour or so vegging in front of the TV. The lights were dimmed in the hallways so as to encourage the children to fall asleep and I left my bedroom lights off as I could see easily with the light from the ensuite bathroom. The house was dead quiet. I was in my panties, standing at the foot of our bed, when I threw a night shirt up over my head. “What was that?” I froze. As the shirt was coming down over my face I saw a shadow or something move quickly along the wall outside my bedroom. “Damn, it, what the hell was that?” You have to understand that I was balancing my anxiety with the importance of keeping quiet so as to not wake up the children. I kept thinking to myself “You’re crazy, there’s nothing in the hallway. It was probably one of the kids, or the cat.” So, in my panties and shirt I walk quietly around the house checking in on the kids (both sound asleep), checking on the cat (passed out on the sofa). And Alex is downstairs. I’m getting nowhere. I consider myself a good detective, and I suddenly have an almost awakening – what if the shadow was from my shirt flying above my head. Could I really have flicked it so fast it looked like it ran across the wall? Let’s see. I took the shirt off, assumed the exact spot I was in before and started throwing the shirt up as if to wear it repeatedly and watching the wall across the hall.

I must have done it about 10 or 15 times. Standing in front of the bed, almost at my bedroom door, in my panties and nothing else, quickly putting the same shirt on with my head turned like an awkward half-dead duck’s head, watching the shadow. I saw a couple of shadows that may have been the one I saw originally but not exactly. Then the real awkward moment came. Shirt half on my body, legs manoeuvred at the oddest angle, I looked 6 inches to the right. I was looking straight out the large window above my front door, straight into the house across the street. "Shit!" It’s amazing what we’ll stop doing if we know that someone may be watching. You see, the neighbour across the street uses his garage as an extra sitting room, and I quite often see him in his garage, puttering around with some hobby, and he always waves. And there he was. “Yup, now they know that crazy people moved into their street.” Was all I could think. At that moment I decided to be convinced by the experiment that I had created the shadow and it was not some rodent in my house. I had solved the mystery. I put the rest of my pyjamas on, in the bathroom, and made a tea. “What are you up to sweetie? “ Alex calls from downstairs. “Nothing.”

It’s over. There are no rodents, the quail have even moved somewhere else. There are no mouse droppings. There’s just my paranoia. Take a little Rescue Remedy and get used to the new house.

Now, explain to me why last night I had this dream that I looked out my kitchen window and the back yard was covered in little weird creatures. They had faces of gophers and the back sides of squirrels. They were everywhere I tell you, and all I kept saying to Alex was “See, I told you, I told you.”

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Starting out

I was always the chatty kid in school, and god help me now in a management meeting - i just can;t keep my mouth shut. I guess I've always truly believed that what I had to say was important so I don't hesitate. Yes it sometimes get me in hot water. I've been known to say that I'm lucky my foot only grew to a size 7 cause it's regularly in my mouth.
Having said this I've been considering starting a blog. With just moving my family to a new city and having all my friend far away, I find that all those crazy things I observe and think about have nowhere to go. All this stuff is going to clog my brain. I need to download it somewhere.
So, stay tuned for all the craziness, spirited, direct, non-compromising thoughts that will flow onto this blog. It's gonna be fun.