Monthly Archives: May 2012

Quick sketch

This past Christmas Darren and I gave all the grandparents empty picture frames with promises to fill them up with family photos. We have yet to get our family portraits done, so the frames sit empty. Until now.

During a painting session with Cate earlier this week I thought, “Why don’t I just sketch our family?”  And so I did. (Please be warned: this is NOT great portraiture and I am under no illusions that it is!)

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I think this took me about ten minutes. Here’s a closer look.

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From left to right you have…

1. Darren – I tried to make him look cheerful.  I’m not sure it looks a lot like him.  Not to say that Darren isn’t cheerful, he just isn’t generally so … whimsical.

2. John – I sketched him while he was looking down and concentrating.  Hopefully knowing that helps the photo to make more sense.

3. Benno – This really doesn’t look much like him.  Really, the one of him and John’s portrait could be interchangeable.  Which may not be a bad thing, considering they are brothers.

4. Cate – This is the first one that I did and the best.  I like how her hair has the strong bang and is messy.  As usual.  My girl, I love her so much.

5. Jen – I don’t think this looks like me at all, aside from my bangs covering my left eye.

Well, some major flaws, but all in all, not bad for less than half an hour’s worth of work.  Darren’s Mom seemed to like it, so that’s good. But we really do have to get those family portraits taken.  And I suppose this means that I am obligated to do a sketch for my parents as well.  I guess I’ll go haul out the paints again…

Classic movies: A love story

Okay, look up at the top of the screen. See it? Right next to the “About” and “Guidebook”? You got it! “Nostalgia!”

When I was a kid our family did not have a television. That’s right, we didn’t own a television until I was 12 years old. Even after we got a TV we never had cable, we just watched movies and the Sunday night line-up on CBC with the bunny ears (Disney then Road to Avonlea. Oh yeah, and there was Danger Bay – set in Vancouver, so we saw a lot of places that we knew, like the Vancouver Aquarium).

Anyways, because we didn’t have cable (something that my own family now does without, much to the bewilderment of cable company representatives) and barely had television, we rented a lot of movies. And because my parents were careful about what we watched, we rented a lot of old movies. Our family has even developed a verbal shorthand that references all of our favourite movies. With the demise of video stores, a lot of these old movies are being lost, particularly the Disney “live action” movies, which I have started to dig up. Happily, you can still find a lot of these on the internet.

So, mostly for the sake of my kids, I thought it would be a good idea to gather all of these old movies into one place. That way, whenever we want to watch something new (to them, that is) we can just go and check out my list! (Darling siblings, if you have any suggestions, let me know!)

What were your favourite movies when you were a kid?

Joke

(For you, an original joke, from the brain of yours truly. I think it is hilarious.)

What is the name of a Russian who is sick all the time?

Nastikoff.

Most Beautiful Thing: Sunshine and Peace

On Saturday morning I woke up and the sun was streaming into my room.  I  could tell by the brightness and the angle of the sun that I had been sleeping far past my normal waking time.  I could hear Darren and Cate downstairs, reading books.  John was still asleep.   As I was stirring I heard Benno pad down the stairs and join my husband and my daughter.

For the first time in forever I picked up my Bible and got to read it, uninterrupted, unencumbered, and undisturbed.  My copy is the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, a Christmas present from Darren two years ago.  This study Bible is like the “Special Features” of DVDs, perfect for a “behind the scenes” nerd like me. I often find that it isn’t simply the words of Scripture that moves me, it’s the context behind it that imbues meaning and substance to words written so long ago.  Because as you learn when you study history, it’s all about context.

And this Saturday the context of my lovely interlude with sunshine and peace was a loving husband giving me space and rest after a long and sometimes stressful week.  Whatever challenges I may face, I know he is always watching out for me, helping me to take the rest that I am so reluctant to give myself, taking care of me when I am the last thing on my own To-Do list.  Thank goodness for him.

Documentary: All About The Good Life (and a bonus Sloppy Joe)

In keeping with Tuesday’s post, and in honour of a friend who just returned from a visit to her family in England, here is a documentary about the cast and crew of “The Good Life” to keep you company this Thursday.

But watch the series first!!!!

;

By the way, we had the most marvelous dinner last night: Sloppy Joes a la Simply Recipes and Jaime Oliver. I used the basic instructions and seasoning from Simply Recipes and added the beans and whole wheat wraps from Jaime Oliver and it came out looking something like this:

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Darren and I loved them, and the kids complained a little bit but eventually ate them. I will definitely be making this one again.

Clothes shuffle

During the past few weeks the temperature spiked to 25 degrees. Ahhhhh….aaahhhhhuuuhhhh…uh oh. Where are the shorts?

Luckily Ben, Cate, Darren, and my summer clothing was close at hand. Thankfully, most of my shorts from two years ago (before I got pregnant with John) fit me again, which should cut down on the summer shopping I need to do for myself (although I desperately need some new shirts!)

However, John was a different matter.  All his summer stuff is packed away in our basement, which means its time for a clothing shuffle!

Late last week I went through Cate’s stuff and exhumed the “too small” drawer in John’s room.  I was left with this.  Note the lovely but too-small red velvet Christmas dress.  *sigh*  I think we may need to have another girl.

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And here is the pile of summer clothes waiting to be integrated into John’s dresser.

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Hmmm….must get on that… more to follow.

 

Clothes shuffle

During the past few weeks the temperature spiked to 25 degrees. Ahhhhh….aaahhhhhuuuhhhh…uh oh. Where are the shorts?

Luckily Ben, Cate, Darren, and my summer clothing was close at hand. Thankfully, most of my shorts from two years ago (before I got pregnant with John) fit me again, which should cut down on the summer shopping I need to do for myself (although I desperately need some new shirts!)

However, John was a different matter. All his summer stuff is packed away in our basement, which means its time for a clothing shuffle!

Late last week I went through Cate’s stuff and exhumed the “too small” drawer in John’s room. I was left with this. Note the lovely but too-small red velvet Christmas dress. *sigh* I think we may need to have another girl.

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And here is the pile of summer clothes waiting to be integrated into John’s dresser.

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Hmmm….must get on that… more to follow.

Most Beautiful Thing: A Little Indulgence

Guinness Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

This weekend we celebrated my Mom’s birthday.  (Really, this post should be about my Mother and how amazing she is, and beautiful too!  Some people find it hard to believe that she has three grandkids.  I’m just grateful that she is my Mom and that she is as generous as she is with her time! But this post is not about her, a very important Most Beautiful Thing in my life.  It is about a small, relatively unimportant, but nevertheless delightful, rare indulgence that made me happy.  Sorry, Mom).

We spent Saturday evening to late Monday afternoon at my parents’ house.  We were only supposed to go for one night, but John is cutting his molars and by 8:00 on Sunday evening it became very clear that taking the extra hour and a half or so to pack and be on our way, all while trying to jolly along a tired and cranky one year old, would not be an intelligent idea.  So we stayed the extra night.

After the kids were in bed, Darren used his time wisely by exercising.  I, on the other hand, decided to indulge myself a little bit.  I had chocolate ice cream with Cointreau.  YUM.  When I was a kid there was a local dairy called Milk Maid that used to make the most delicious ice cream – Swiss Chocolate Chip – which was chocolate ice cream with orange chocolate chips.  This tasted a lot like that, except a bit more grown up.

I was first introduced to this lovely treat by my Aunty Mary shortly after Darren and I were married.  We crashed my aunt and uncle’s house at the tail end of our honeymoon in order to save a bit of cash (as we were still poor students at the time) while we wandered around Victoria.  Yes, we are the history-nerdish type of people who slot a trip to the Royal British Columbia Museum into our honeymoon.

So on Sunday evening, there I was, eating this lovely concoction and watching episodes of “The Good Life” on YouTube.  And so, for your own viewing pleasure, here is Series 1, Episode 1 of “The Good Life” (which ran as “Good Neighbors‘ in the US) featuring Richard Briers, Felicity Kendall, Penelope Keith, and Paul Eddington.  The first episode is a bit stilted, but bear with them.  You will be rewarded.

(It appears that only parts of Episodes 1 and 2 are online, so to watch full episodes type in “Good Life Series 1 Episode 3” to YouTube and that should work.  Enjoy!)

Most Beautiful Thing: my Mom

 

As you may have gathered, I have been a tad busy in recent weeks.  One big clue was the fact that I haven’t posted for over a week.  I have been involved with planning the auction fundraiser for my son’s school, which has meant a LOT of late nights and extremely crazy hours.

Thankfully, the auction was this past Saturday, so I am hoping that the pace of life will switch from “frantic” back to “rather busy.”  Right now John is napping and Cate is being entertained by the Berenstain Bears, so I think we are off to a good start.

This weekend was Mother’s Day.  I had a bunch of lovely little treats this weekend, including flowers, chocolate, and Frog Tape from Darren, who knows I’ve been hankering for this for a while.  We also need to paint our house, so it is a very functional present:)

Finally, when I came home on Saturday afternoon (after spending seven hours prepping for the auction) I found a “just because” gift from my sister-in-law, her husband, and her daughter.  Pink Grapefruit from The Body Shop – delightful!  It was such a nice little surprise that lifted my spirits and helped me to rejuvenate before heading out again to the auction for another seven hours of work.

I would also like to wish a very Happy Mothers Day to my Mom, who is a generous and loving force of nature!  This past weekend she just completed a course on home staging, and it sounds like she did extremely well (surprise, surprise)! I am so proud of my Mom for launching into this new venture.  She is such a great example to me.

There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about attachment parenting and parenting styles and breastfeeding.  Know what?  I have never read any books about any specific parenting style.  I just try to listen to my kids and when I have any questions, I just ask my Mom.  After all, parenting is not primarily a political statement, it’s a relationship.  And who better to ask about relationships than your Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy.  Having my own kids helps me to appreciate you so much more! I love you!

 

 

Documentary: A Titanic Post!

Benno and I have been on a bit of a Titanic kick lately.  We gave him a book on the Titanic and he is fascinated by the subject.  I think my current interest started with the 100th anniversary of the sinking on April 15, 2012.

However, my love affair with that doomed vessel began a long time ago.  It definitely predates James Cameron’s blockbuster. (My evaluation of the movie – AMAZING beautiful sets that totally capture the majesty of the ship and a horrible, awful, anachronistic script. Who in 1912 said “I’m involved now”?  No one.  That phrase wasn’t invented yet.)  When I was in my early teens (maybe even before that), I discovered my Dad’s copy of Walker Lord’s A Night To Remember, and I was fascinated.  Then I found that we also had Lord’s The Night Lives On and another paperback whose name I forget.

Another interesting tidbit is that I tended to take those paperbacks with me when we went on family vacations. To Victoria.  On a ferry.  Emily usually ended up gleefully singing “It Was Sad When the Great Ship Went Down.”  I tried to ignore her and took careful note of the location of the lifejackets and lifeboats.

Over the years I have done a lot of reading on the Titanic.  And now that we have the joys of YouTube, I spend my kitchen clean up time watching (or listening to) Titanic documentaries.  Here are some of my favorites.

A Night to Remember, 1958.  Classic documentary drama, a family favorite when I was young.

A wonderful A&E Special (2 parts) narrated by David McCallum who played wireless operator Harold McBride in the 1958 A Night to Remember.

Ghosts of the Abyss. This is an interesting documentary of James Cameron’s last dive down to the Titanic.  It features Titanic star Bill Paxton.  Look for an awkward urination scene and some very cool Titanic footage.

Tony Robinson’s Titanic Adventure.  I’m pretty sure this documentary was created on the same trip, except this one is with Baldrick!

Return to Titanic. Titanic discoverer Dr Robert Ballard returns to the Titanic 20 years after his discovery.  This documentary also includes a very interesting discussion on the relative merits of salvaging artifacts from the Titanic.  I’m not sure that Ballard and Cameron would see eye to eye, especially on the topic of whether or not you should land your submersible on the deck of the Titanic.

Here’s a really interesting one Titanic: Case Closed.  Unfortunately it was pulled off of YouTube by someone late last week.  Basically, researcher Tim Maltin proposes that the Titanic hit the iceberg because of a cold water mirage.  The mirage distorted the water and air to the extent that the lookouts were unable to see it until it was too late.  He corroborates this with historical records as well as the experience of contemporary sailors.  It is fascinating and I recommend that you check out the website.

I hope you enjoy all of these, we sure did!