Canada

April 30, 2010

I am going to paint that country red. 

Red and white. 

There will be red all over the great white north. 

Just you wait and see.

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All My Bags Are Packed…

April 29, 2010

which was really easy since I’m only one person and only going for two days. And once the stuff for my one brother gets delivered and the gift for the groom-to-be (and his wife, of course) is gifted, my bag will be pretty empty. I love travelling light!

I am looking forward to 48 hours without anyone touching my face or hair. Personal space notwithstanding, I will miss my family terribly. The last time I travelled solo it wasn’t really solo — I went with two fellow teachers, both my dearest teacher friends, both of whom had children my age. We drove all of the two hours or so it took to get to Richmond, and stayed with the mother of one of them in an old Richmond home (beautiful!) and spent our days at a teaching conference. That was October of 2003, before I was even pregnant with Little Red. Travelling without Paul, without the boys, and even without friends, will be a very different experience for me. I understand that people read and sleep on airplanes when travelling without children. I plan to try both of those things.

I have already checked in online!


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

April 28, 2010

I finished my brother and his bride’s wedding gift: a bouquet of our favourite kitchen tools.  (good)

Turns out Paul and I have really expensive tastes in kitchen utensils.  (bad)

Now that all the fun stuff is done, I really have to pack.  And clean.  (ugly, but for a good cause!)


Music

April 27, 2010

I have new inspiration and a new focus for the next period of my life, and it all started with an accordian. Wanting to add music to our Italian class, Albe and I decided to sit in on some classes that one of the mothers was doing in the Spanish classes. Now, I’ve known Sara for a while, and always thought she was great, but when she walked into our class for the first time, armed with what little Italian she was able to learn in a week, and proceeded to teach Italian songs to our enraptured kids, she jumped from mortal status to demigoddess. It was amazing. Before I knew it, 30 minutes had passed and we were cleaning up and moving on to the Spanish kinder classes.

Now, I can play a Bach fugue (or I could, and will again, to be more specific) but while I’m a proficient classical pianist, I am also very limited in my abilities. I am tethered to a gigantic, stationary instrument and reliant on sheet music. I do have a roll-up piano, but as it is physically flat, it isn’t fulfilling to play, and still isn’t the same thing as a truly portable instrument. But there was Sara, playing her accordian, accompanied by Albe on the box drum. There was Sara, teaching the kids to hit sticks, and then Albe tapping out rhythms with his claves for them to mimic. There was Sara, playing her ukulele while the kids jammed percussively along and Albe played the conga. She probably can’t play a Bach fugue, but she is much more of a musician than I.

When it was over, and Boy Blue and I had helped Albe get all his gear back to the car (and oh! how good it felt to be lugging percussion gear around after all these years!) I looked at him and said, “why not?” And it was decided. We won’t be ready next week, but we can certainly get started in the fall, bringing music time to our little Italianos.

This summer I’m going to purchase and learn to play an ukulele. I owe it to myself to broaden my horizons. I owe it to the children to broaden theirs as well.


Decay

April 26, 2010

I am SUCH a nerd. There I was, yesterday, dumping the contents of my weekend compost collection into the composter at school, trying to contain a happy dance. The fruit flies were everywhere, the smell went unnoticed, and all I could think about was how happy I was. Happy that the school started a garden (and compost.) Happy that I chose this school. Happy that the other parents contributing to the compost are doing it right so it isn’t stinky (no animal products, people!) Happy that the bin was filling. Happy to see the decomposition. Happy to include my children in this beautiful restorative circle of life.  Happy that I’ll be back again tomorrow with more.  (Making sauce in the morning, and those onion skins will add vitamin c to our black gold.)


Getting There

April 25, 2010

My big personal resolution this year was to be more emotionally self-sufficient. It has required a great deal of effort, but I think I’ve seen some progress.  Although I know it hasn’t, it seems to me like the world has slowed down just a little, and as a result I have the time to think clearly about things and separate myself from what doesn’t matter.  I still have a long way to go, for sure; I’m not there yet, but I will be.  And it feels good.  Calm, unaltered by the moods and whims of other people, is a really great way to live.  For the first time in possibly ever, I feel near to my blogging moniker: Zen Mama.


I Did It!

April 24, 2010

I have always admired (coveted) my mother-in-law’s ability for being able to tell when the asparagus is done by smell. (And my husband can do it with pasta.)

I have hoped beyond hopes that I would also get there. Someday. Somehow.

And today it happened!

Is anyone surprised that it was a baked good that made me run down the stairs with two and a half minutes on the clock and rescue my caramelized apple skillet cake from the running-hot oven before disaster struck? 

(Now that I’m thinking about it, I guess I can smell when the bread is done, but that seems like less of a victory, because my neighbours can also smell when my bread is done.)