September 30, 2009

Part 2: Fried Rice- The long version

Okay, this happened last night and I had to tell you part 1 to explain part 2. (Jen-story, remember?)

It took a while but I finally managed to get past the tuna/ cod incident. I can laugh about it now. Kinda. I am not unlike most mothers- I have the stunning ability to completely forget the most absolute pain. I learned only enough from the incident to stroke fish off any potential menu list but little else.

Okay, it’s Tuesday night and we need to be at Girl Guides in 30 minutes. I’m the first to point that I am not Rachel Ray and if we want to eat something other than grilled cheese or pancakes I’ll have to put on my thinking cap.

I need a meal that is vaguely healthy and quick. Healthy is hereby defined as having at least 3 real food groups. I’m not saying I made good decisions but here was my thought process:
1. I have left over pork roast but do not want to repeat last night’s meal.
2. Kids eat the pork better if I chop it up small, put it in something and tell them it is chicken. Ask any parent- they know this as truth!
3. Vegetables in the fridge: broccoli, onions, red peppers, carrots and frozen corn. They like everything except onions. Note to self: chop onions to no larger than nanoparticle and I’m set.
4. My kids will always eat rice. (NB: The tuna/cod incident was the rare exception.)

In my brain, last night, 1+2+3+4 = fried rice! I really should have known better.

Dinner is ready and we have 20 minutes until it is time to leave. I explain that everyone needs to eat their dinner before they can go out this evening. I place a bowl of rice in front of everyone. Georgia is whimpering already.

Olivia: (tone of disgust) WHAT is this?
Finn: It’s rice. (Starts flicking rice at his sisters- digging to see Batman at the bottom of his bowl.)
Georgia: I don’t like rice with sauce.

(Side note- my kids don’t like sauce. Whether real or perceived. A mere implication of sauce offends them. Deeply.)

Jen: There is no sauce. You have 20 minutes please eat your dinner or you cannot go to Girl Guides.
Georgia: (digs out nanoparticle sized onion, points to it) There are onions in here.
Jen: (lying) No there isn’t. That’s rice. (Make a mental note to look up what is smaller than a nanoparticle.)
Finn: Me no like rice. (Flicking rice on floor this time.)
Olivia: Why did you make THIS for dinner? This isn’t fair! Daddy would have made something good!
Jen: You like rice. You like chicken. (Again with the lying!) You like broccoli and corn. That’s what this is.
Olivia: NO! This is rice, chicken and broccoli all mixed up. It is NOT the same!

The next 17 minutes were occupied with Olivia’s very logical monologue about how if I just made things that they liked for dinner that it would be easier for everyone. And the unfairness of having to eat what I had made when I KNEW that they wouldn’t like it because it was all smashed together. (She is a smart kid. I really should have known that.)

Georgia just sobbed continually about having to eat onions (Seriously, does that kid have microscopes for eyes?!) and Finn just flicked rice until there was more on his shirt and the floor than in his bowl. Everyone was excused to go to their room. Me included. Scott came home late to find the girls crying and a disturbing trail of rice going down the hall. No one went to Girl Guides.

I'm not sure I can laugh about this one yet. Check me in a couple of months- I’ll have forgotten by then.

The short version: I made fried rice for dinner and it went over just about as well as the tuna/cod and asparagus. There was just as much shouting involved. No one went to Girl Guides.

Oh yeah, we’re eating f***ing pancakes all week again.

Part 1: The Tuna-Cod Conundrum

WARNING: this is a patented Jen-Type story (aka the long version of a short story.)

A while ago I decided that I needed to broaden our horizons when it comes to what we eat for dinner. I decided, for reasons that I have since forgotten, that it was time that we all try to eat fish as a meal. Most of you know this already but neither Scott nor I particularly enjoy fish. In the wise words of Scott’s late grandfather “it doesn’t appeal to me.” Scott and I will on occasion eat canned tuna or salmon but the kids have always opted out.

I was reading a magazine that presented a lovely baked cod as a family favourite. The cod was plated artfully with a spiced risotto, broiled asparagus and sprigs of parsley or dill or something. It was gorgeous. I foolishly decided that this would be the meal to introduce fish to the family.

Gagging while getting the fish out of the package and into the oven seems like a rough start but I am committed to healthy eating! I can do this! I am just plain tired of eating pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. It also seemed like a good idea at the time to substitute plain white rice for the colourful risotto. I knew the kids liked white rice and this would give them something familiar on the plate.

Hindsight being what it is plating this meal was also a mistake. White fish on white rice with shriveled asparagus crossing it doesn’t look as lovely as I had imagined. The kids flip out that their food is touching each other. They all declare that they don’t like it just by the smell alone. (I am not totally disagreeing with them but I am committed to this and must follow through.) We all sit down and look at our plates.

Scott: Okay, kids let’s eat our dinner now.
Finn: What is this? (Pointing to the cod)
Jen: It’s cod.
(Puzzled look from all kids.)
Jen: It’s a type of fish. It’s yummy. Let’s all try it. (I put on a happy face and swallow some fish. Smile falters while chewing.)
Georgia: (touching nothing) I don’t like tuna.
Jen: It is not tuna. It is cod and you need to try it before you decide if you don’t like it.
Olivia: No. I don’t. I don’t like tuna.
Finn: What is this? (Pointing to asparagus)
Scott: It’s asparagus. It’s a vegetable and it makes your pee smell funny.
Georgia: I don’t like smelly pee. (I glare at Scott and motion for him to eat his fish to show them. He does so, slowly.)
Finn: Me no like aspar-gus. (Points to rice) What is that?
Jen: Rice. All of you like rice. Please eat your dinner.

Fast-forward 3 minutes and we all have cold plates and we are still no further than…
Finn: (Shouting like we are all hearing impaired while frantically pointing to his plate) Me NO like aspar-gus AND tuna!
Jen: (I yell.) It’s not tuna! It’s cod! Eat your bloody…
Georgia: I don’t like smelly tuna pee.

By this point everyone except me is howling laughing. I excuse everyone- immediately! They sensibly run for their lives.

None of us ate our dinner. Scott could only choke down half of the cod. I vowed that they would all eat pancakes until they all turned into a flipping pancake!

Family favourite my ass!

September 29, 2009

Calgary last week

Calgary was fine. The course was well worth my time- other than Wednesday morning when I felt slow and stupid trying to solve steps 2 through 10 in the revered Buckly Leverett method for water flood analysis. Right. Apparently I do not do nearly enough calculus-derivative type math anymore. I think that is why my employers have given me a computer and a calculator and access to a reservoir modeling program that will make both Buckly and Leverett it’s bitch.

I did not have Internet access in my room and was unable to blog while away. That makes this the 4th time I have taken my computer with me on a business trip to not be able to use it. You'd think that I would learn! I used it as a really heavy portable DVD player. Yes, I do know they have smaller and certainly lighter versions. I will look into it next business trip.

I had a great visit with Kelly and her adorable children Rachel and Kyle. They came to the hotel for a swim and a visit. Kelly and I also got an adult evening when we went out for dinner and dessert ourselves the following night. It was so nice to catch up face to face with someone I see so rarely and whose life is so much parallel to my own. I, of course, give myself too much credit in that statement. She is short, cute, brilliant and has 2 children instead of 3 but other than those tiny things were are quite similar.

Scott and the kids had a great week too- as expected. Although it is noteworthy to say that I don't know how we would function as well without Julie. Thank you Julie! This week were are all back to our regular schedule. Scott in trial, me in the office, and the kids in school and activities. We have one more week until dance starts for the girls. Gym for Finn and yoga for me will start mid-October so we have a few weeks to wait for that.

Olivia's 7th birthday is next week (OMG!) and we are considering the unthinkable.... a group friend birthday party for both Olivia and Georgia. We had the family party for G on the September long weekend and left off her friend party thinking she should go to school and make some new friends. Now September has practically disappeared and I don't have many choices left. Hopefully it doesn't prove too difficult. Wish me luck!

September 27, 2009

Minty Girl Guide cookies for sale!

The girls officially have their boxes of minty Girl Guide cookies for sale now. They are $4 a box.

Let me know if you need some of these gems!

September 20, 2009

Off to Calgary...

I'm trying hard to not feel giddy- I mean guilty- as I am just about to leave for a week long course in Calgary. I am leaving Scott here to be a single-parent for the week.

Calgary will be fun. The course I'm taking will be good and I am well overdue for some professional training. I will get to visit with my girlfriend Kelly Ann and her family. I might also do some shopping in my downtime. Yeah, I'll definitely do some shopping! I will try hard to not fester in the silence of my hotel room for the week- but I make no promises.

I expect that my room will have Internet connection so that I can stay up to date. But if I don't then I'll talk to you all next week when I get home!

September 18, 2009

Goulter Fundraiser- Potatoes and Carrots

Hey everyone.

If you have the need of potatoes and carrots in large amounts I have a great oppotunity for you. Goulter School is running a Fall fundraiser with Peters Market Garden (locally grown produce). This is the school the kids attend and we are fundraising for a new playstructure.

Potatoes and carrots will be ready for winter storage and use. Produce will be sold in the following quantities and prices:

Potatoes (Red Norland & White Russet) – 50 lbs -- $22.00 25 lbs -- $12.00 10 lbs -- $6.00

Carrots - 8 lbs -- $10.00 4 lbs -- $5.00

If you'd like to order any of these items please let me know before Friday, September 25th. Pick up will be October 2 at Goulter school.

September 16, 2009

The badges we wear.

I have joined the gym here in town and I have been working out at lunchtime. This system apparently hits a perfect balance for me as I have not been successfully consistent at working out before work. And I am generally too lazy to do it after the kids go to bed.

Anyways, I am in Abs class with one other woman and the P.Y.T. instructor assured us that we can do another 30 of these particularly difficult pilates torture moves. Um... sure we can. To prevent myself from hating the instructor I silently remind myself that I am here voluntarily and had I not such a fondness for KitKats and cheeseburgers I maybe wouldn't have to work so hard to get my torso off the floor another 30 times. I mentally counted by fives while I do my 30.

The P.Y.T. instructor is telling us that she is so proud of us and is amazed at how far we have come in 4 short weeks. She tells us that she had been bragging us up to her mother. My comrade in pain makes the observation that I have it so much easier than she does. Huh?! She says "I've asked about you. You are a marathoner." WTF? I stifle a giggle at this statement but mostly because it hurts to laugh.

My comrade in pain is a gym friend- you know the ones- where you know her first name and the names of her kids but you really don't know anything else about her other than she is a member at the same gym. I have no idea where she works. I certainly don't know who she might have asked who would have described me as a marathoner within the first 5 adjectives or at least in the present tense. I have marathoned- singular and past tense. In fact the last time I was running seriously I was pregnant with Finn.

In my mind there are certain badges of honour that we should get to wear proudly forever such as "parent" or "veteran" but I think the rest should stay relatively current. A 26.2 mile race is not something that everyone can do and generally is not done lightly or without training. It is an accomplishment. All of that being said I am still not entirely certain that "marathoner" should be a life long descriptor. I believe my statute of limitations for that title has expired.

I do think that the statute of limitation is variable based on achievement. The bigger the accomplishment the longer you can ride on the coat tails of the title. For example a good friend of mine's sister finished an Ironman race in Penticton this year. A Frickin' Ironman! (2.4 mile swim + 112 mile bike + 26.2 mile run) As far as I am concerned she can brag that up and even add it to her into name if she wants for a solid decade- maybe even more.

But if we do wear labels for life for any of our past acts and accomplishments then in that same light could I not proudly proclaim myself a stilt enthusiast, water skier and a hunter? Each is more absurd than the next! I haven't done any of those things in at least 2 decades (or longer) and was only mildly good at one of them. But isn't that the same as accepting myself as a marathoner now?

Back to class: I struggle to sit upright, catch my breath and then turn to my comrade in pain. I mumble something like "yeah, this is sooo easy for me." I suppose sometimes it is easier to just wear the badge that is given, especially when it was meant as a compliment, than to explain that you may have lost your credentials.

That is unless you have been given the title as the flabby girl who can't lift her torso off the floor.

Girl Guides

Girl Guides started last night. Olivia is returning as a Brownie. Georgia is starting her first year as a Spark! Both are excited by the program.

Stay tuned for when we have those awful... I mean fabulous... cookies for sale. We sold the mint ones last fall and the chocolate and vanilla ones in April . I expect we'll have the same schedule this year.

September 15, 2009

Impressively Random Accomplishments

I like to read. Don't shake your head. Yes, it is true.

I've broadened my reading repertoire in the recent past. In my teen years I read horror books almost exclusively. In high school I used to keep a list in my backpack of all of the different ways people died in these books; it was a long and creative list. Had my list been found then it might have been looked at strangely. However, in a post-Columbine world this list would now likely get me some quality time with the RCMP.

My reading tastes have expanded as I have matured. Yes, I still have a sweet spot for vampire stories and most things supernatural but now I have range beyond horror. For example I now read non-fiction- a genre previous foreign to me and my tiny brain. I now read literature, biographies, self-help books (I really should kick this habit), philosophy (well, i tried- it hurts my head), business and management books, the Harvard Business Review, Star magazine and really whatever crosses my path that sparks a tiny bit if interest. I am not picky and certainly not exclusive to one genre anymore. I even enjoy some of my husband's more cerebral comic books. Sorry Love, Legion of Superheros and any and all of the Final Crisis titles will never make the list!

I'll read pretty much anything these days. However, I have noticed an interesting trend in my book choices of late. I am reading books about normal people looking for purpose in their life or trying to improve themselves. These people have chosen to set rather random, but impressively challenging, goals for themselves and then write a blog and a book about it. Say for example cooking ALL of the recipes from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1" in a year or reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.

I can't tell if I am drawn to these books as a way to improve myself by proxy or if it is something else entirely. I get all of their satisfaction for their impressively random accomplishments but I have to do none of the work- except read their books I suppose. Based on the success of at least one of these books (now a major motion picture- as the cover tells me) I see a trend of these types of books coming in the future. I am trying to figure out if I am going to live vicariously through these future books or find my own impressively random accomplishment to do and then write about it. (A side note: these people did live regular lives while doing their tasks- so this is not a passive cry for help before I quit my job, abandon my family and decide to groom cows for a year in India.)

This ties-in nicely to a catalogue that fortuitously (and randomly) ended up in my mail box last week. I have been carrying it around in my purse. This is a catalogue for specialized university-type courses distributed on DVD or down loadable audio. They are not for credit but purely for interest. Their titles include things like "A Brief History of the World" ( 36- 30 minute lectures) "The Joy of Mathematics" ( 24- 30 minute lectures) and "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition" ( 48- 45 minute lectures). These are not necessarily the ones that are triggering my interest but you get the idea.

Now, my sister will be quick to suggest that my parents OBVIOUSLY dropped me on my head a lot when I was a child for me to consider such a task. But you know what- this is exactly how these other books started. Someone doubting the random accomplishment or even questioning why- thus spurring on the task.

I am on the precipice my friends. I don't know which way this will go. But if you find me on the streets chatting with unusual aplomb about the main differences between the Old and New Testaments or casually dropping mathematical references into conversation you can safely assume that I've taken the jump.

And then I'll write a book about it.

September 13, 2009

School Time!

Back to school time. Or starting school time for two out of the three kids in our family. I thought that I would post some pictures of the glorious event.

Olivia: Grade 2- Mrs. Lifeso
Olivia was glad to be getting back to school and returning to normal routine. This year she'll be a Brownie and taking dance and piano lessons.

Georgia: Kindergarten- Mrs. P
Georgie is excited to start school! She got to ride the bus on her own for the frist time. This year she'll be a Spark and will be taking dance lessons.

Finn: Pre-school- Mrs. Lansing
Finn is estatic to actually be allowed to go to school with the girls. This is his first year of pre-school. His most used statement last week was " I'm so excited that school is open for me now!"

Ahem... Hello...

I had an ephipany today. We were out at Clear Lake for the Western Bar Weekend and Bob Perry, owner of Thunderbird Cabins, was talking about putting pictures of the kids on his company webpage and how his daughter maintains a blog for family updates. And it hit me... I could do that too.

Can't I? Well, I guess we'll see.

Yes, I know. I do have a few things to be doing otherwise and they do seem to occupy my time quite fully. But I thought that this might be an excellent idea to accomplish a few things at once: (Mrs. Multi-Taskers in-da house!)

  1. I can keep family and friends updated with news and pictures without having to spend my evenings emailing pictures to those with small email capacity and dial-up. (You know who you are.)

  2. I have not been doing much writing of lately, so this gets me back into practice.

  3. I've always been a person who journals but I've never done a blog before- so I can learn something new.

So away we go.

As you all know I am a proud wife and mother who has more than a few opinions about life, the universe and everything. You'll find more than a few of these opinions posted here as time moves along.

Thanks for reading.