Thursday, March 28, 2013

Serious Talks

Many serious subjects have come up recently to make me think about when and how to start talking to Evan about certain things. From Moxie's letter to her sons about preventing rape, to Prof-Like Substance's unexpected conversation about religion with his oldest child, to finding out a 15-time repeat child sexual offender is now living in my city - my head is reeling just thinking about all the things we need to start talking to Evan about.

But, he's also only 2.5. It's fairly difficult to hold a lasting conversation with him.

But, I want him to learn certain things from us first.

When did you start talking to your kids about "serious" topics, or when did your parents talk to you about these things? How did you/they go about it? I know it's not going to be a sit-down, 30 minute discussion, but I don't want to totally ignore these topics either.

It's these kinds of things I wish I had a manual for.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bookshelf Meme

Nicoleandmaggie at Grumpy Rumblings and Cloud at Wandering Scientist have posted photos of their book cases. Check them out here and here.

I thought I'd jump on board, so here we are:

We have two built-in book cases on either side of our fireplace (go here to see the full wall).

Fig. 1: On the right-hand side, we have fiction and biographies.

Fig. 2: On the left-hand side, we have popular science books. travel, traditional literature, "self-help", and other non-fiction. You can also see my knitting takes up two shelves. 

Fig. 3: Upstairs in our office, we have our combined text-book collection, as well as one cubby of parenting related books. 

Fig. 4: My cookbook collection, which resides in the kitchen beside the oven.

What do your bookshelves look like?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Just the Pants, Thanks

When did clothes shopping start to feel like running through an up-sale obstacle course?

I was recently shopping for some pants in a store I regularly shop in:

"Hi! Can I help you find anything?"

"No, thanks...I'm just looking right now."

"Well, if you haven't been in for a while, here's a HUGE LONG EXPLANATION of our store layout and our current sales which are posted obviously all over the place."

"Great, thanks". Goes over to the jeans to pick out some to try on.

"Did you need any help with sizes? Sometimes different styles fit different ways and other obvious things that people who have shopped for their own clothing for 20+ years know already."

"Yes - it looks like all these come in my size. Thanks!" Heads to dressing room.

"How are the sizes? Sometimes your size will change depending on the fit....yadda, yadda, yadda..."

"Everything fits fine, thanks". Tries on 4 pairs of pants and a skirt, decides 3 pants work very well. Comes out of the changing room.

"How did everything go? Do you need tops too? How are you doing for bras and panties (??)?"

"I'll take these three and these didn't work. I don't need anything else."

"Oh - was it the size or the style? Is there something I can magically do to those garments to make you want to plunk down cash on them needlessly? Or something else I can do to make you spend money on other things you don't want?"

"They just didn't work. I'll take these."

"Do you have our uber-duber special membership card that gets you 1% off with every $3456 you spend in the month of May every second year?"

"I might...I don't carry cards though."

Looks me up in the system using my phone number and makes sure every single bit of contact information is still current.

"I assume you've started your spring time skin rejuvenating regime?"

"Um, no...I don't even know what that means. No thanks."

"What?? But you don't want your skin to look horrible once sandals and shorts season is here!!!"

Just give me the pants. Just give me the pants. JUST GIVE ME THE FUCKING PANTS.

"So, you're $2 short to get a $50 gift card...what would you like to buy? We have a giant list of useless things, these accessories, and OH YES, our amazing skin cream for the regime I was trying to sell you before."

"Just give me one of those random accessories." 

Idle conversation about the lack of a chip on my credit card, the weather, etc..

"Okay!! So, here's a summary of your whole shopping experience. Here's some other information that you will never use and is totally useless. Thanks for coming in, and remember, if you need tops, bras, panties, skin care, or ANYTHING else, come back! We'll call you to remind you!!!"

"Thanks for your help - bye."

Didn't clothes shopping used to be simple?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Arizona and 34

We got back last night from a glorious week spent with my parents at their winter place in Phoenix. The weather was perfect: 25-30C, but a nice dry heat, so it was cooler in the shade, and the nights were cooler too.

Almost every morning, my dad picked oranges (with Evan's help) and made fresh orange juice.

We went to Meteor (Barringer) Crater and the Grand Canyon.

Evan loved spending time with Grandma and Grandpa, and we saw a few trains too.

I also got to spend my 34th birthday with my parents - can't remember the last time we celebrated my birthday together! I got a banana cream pie :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Books that were meh

I haven't been doing well in terms of books this year. The first two I've read were Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt and Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.

I was really excited to read Angela's Ashes, since I had heard so many wonderful things about it and it has gotten rave reviews everywhere. I don't know if my expectations were too high, but in all honesty I found the book really boring and repetitive and the language was difficult to read. I was often so annoyed by the characters that I couldn't identify with them at any level. I tried to remind myself that this was a true story, so maybe I would have more sympathy, but it didn't work. Maybe I'm heartless, but I just didn't care. I gave this book a 2.5/5.

Cannery Row wasn't any better - though at least I could read it without feeling like I wanted to punch someone in the face. Again, I didn't feel anything for the characters and couldn't identify with them. For such a character-driven story, they were not developed really well, and so the story just fell flat for me. Or maybe I just didn't get it? I've been told John Steinbeck is a must-read author, but judging from this book I won't be going back to him for a while (if ever). I'm giving this book a 2.5/5 as well.

To cleanse my pallet, I'm starting Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin - hopefully she can renew my love of reading!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Zebra Said Shh

How awesome is it when someone you know (in real life or online) does something amazing?

Cloud - who blogs over at Wandering Scientist - has done that by publishing her first children's book called The Zebra Said Shh.

The book is an adorable bed-time story about the animals at the zoo. I'm always on the lookout for good bed-time stories, since we read 3-4 every night, and this fits the bill. It has a wonderful rhythm to it (great for night time!), it can be interactive if you want it to be (kids can get into it by saying the animal sounds), and the illustrations are colourful and charming, as you can tell from the cover:

From the author:
“My oldest daughter loves being told stories. She also hates to go to sleep! So at one point, I decided to try having a consistent bedtime story for her. The story evolved over several months, and then stabilized into what is now The Zebra Said Shhh.”

Check out this interview with Cloud about the book and other things too!

The Zebra Said Shhh will be available in ebook form from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble NOOK Kids, iBooks, Kobo, and at many more retailers. The paperback edition will be for sale at retailers nationwide.

Publisher: Xist Publishing 
ISBN: 9781623954406
eISBN: 9781623954482 
Release Date: March 5th, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Let There Be Light

DH installed a light in my closet so I can now tell the difference between black, brown, navy, and dark green :) Sorry for the crappy quality of the photos - I was using the camera on my phone.

Fig. 1: Before. 

Fig. 2: After.