Tuesday, February 16, 2010

::Well spent::

We have a brand new four-year old in the house. His requests for the day: Cocoa Puffs for breakfast, Kraft Dinner and hot dogs for dinner, and chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. Mostly--ew! But he calls the shots today.

He and Daddy went to McDonald's for their date. And I found a really neat gift made by Doug & Melissa. When asked what he wanted this year Gabriel replied, "Tools. . . And cars." He ended up with both: A fire engine that he could assemble.

We tried to rise above our assortments of household illnesses to provide some pep to the day, but it was hard. So many kinds of sick are in this house at the moment.

We did our best and our little boy fell asleep well spent.


I always wanted one of these. My uncle built my cousins a big one and they used to collect miniatures of everything. Lamps and cutlery and candle holders. It was so CUTE! But unless one has the determination and skill my uncle had beautiful dollhouses are very hard to come by affordably.

Last week Mom and Dad Van Dyk came by for dinner and brought this along with them. My aunt Corrie had made it herself years ago and sold it at an auction. The owner's grandchildren had long grown and the house was no longer being loved. So she asked who might give it a good home.

It has been swarmed by little hands ever since.

Monday, February 15, 2010

::Black Cat Bistro & Basia Bulat::

Wow, that's a lot of 'B's. . .
Aidan and I spent a rare evening out this Saturday enjoying great food, music and company. We'll call it our Valentine's date, although it was really a happy scheduling coincidence.

I have a not-so-secret list of restaurants I want to try in the city. We have eaten at very few of them but we can now cross one off the list. The Black Cat has evolved over its many years in Ottawa. But we were pleased with its current state of being. Josh and Karin joined us for a truly delicious meal there. There were tastes that were very new to me: golden caviar, caper berry, creme brule. And the atmosphere was lovely. I wanted to take the leaf-silhouette pendant lights home with me.

The music was a wonderful surprise. We attended this concert never having heard the band before. But her beautiful voice and amazing skills on a large variety of instruments won us over. It was especially infectious when the audience, deeply in tune with her music, began simultaneously clapping out quick beats to certain songs. Clearly they knew her music well. There is nothing quite like great live music pulsing through you.

A fabulous evening of the senses. Although the chill of the wind I could
have done without.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

::All about me::

I woke up to that feeling. I felt unhinged before I even opened my eyes. I muttered prayers on the way to church: may it lift? may it lift? But it didn't. And I was in no shape to meet God part way and keep myself in check.

The sermon rolled over me. Such a hauntingly sad message about the precious children of the church family and the damage that can be done through neglect and lack of love.

I became lost inside myself. Where's the love? Jesus urges, rebukes, commands that we kneel down and peer into each pair of bright eyes and LOOK. SEE. TOUCH. He gives us a picture of himself with children nestled into his arms, but do we put ourselves in his place? Such an act is borne out of some scrap of interest, let alone deep love. But who cares enough? Who sees past the naughtiness? Or the family name? Or the manners? Who looks past it all to see a child? Just a child.

Without being able to sift through the finer points of my anger, I knew angry was what I was. So angry that even a child, who hasn't learned guile or even true unkindness, remains beneath the love of some. What hope is there then for me to earn the love of those who haven't yet given it? I will never ever reach such an elevated state of sanctification that I can again attain the pure, inoffensive, beguiling lovability of a child. I can't fight for this love! I can't win it!

Now, on this side of yesterday, I can see that I woke up lost in ME. And stayed lost in ME. The anger has dissipated, and it's place is fresh resolve to love where it may never be returned.


Last night I had my first snowboarding lesson. Kim was a very patient instructor. She actually stayed perched with me part way up the bunny hill all night. We just hiked up and down and talked for 20 minutes between runs. We figure that, in future, we should just find someone with gear in my size and practice on a local snow hill. Cheaper.

It turns out I'm "goofy." Most people lead with their left foot and carve with their right, but when asked which foot I would lead with if I were to run and slide across some ice I had to say right. And sure enough, that's the way I instinctively wanted to go down the hill. I feel special--in a left-handed writer kinda' way. The other odd discovery is that I needed to strap on my board, then flip over onto my stomach and start backwards. It's all about comfort. And since Kim has never taught anyone to do this before she just went with it, good-naturedly.

After we were chilled to the bone, we came back here for some hot chocolate. And the best part of all was my morning discovery that I didn't ache all over. Maybe I wasn't working hard enough?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

::Five Hearts::

We decided to do Valentines a little differently this year. Caelah really wanted to wear pink, red and white. And she really wanted to be photographed. She also wanted to dress her little brothers. So, I just ran with it. This picture is hilarious. You should see how many faces each kid pulled in the bunch of photos I took. This one has it's quirks, but is pretty cute. We printed a bunch off and popped them into little envelopes with a chocolate hearts. We over printed, so everyone we know is getting one. . .
Early Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


sed. But FREE! I can't extol the merits of UsedOttawa.com enough. Aidan and I have been looking for a sofa bed for awhile, but didn't want to buy new. So we began to search online. One day, these couches popped up. The ad said "FREE to the first person who gets in touch." That was me!
Fabulous quality, ridiculously comfy and entirely my style.
We have been finishing our home piece by piece using other people's things. I highly recommend it.

Monday, February 01, 2010

::Top Chef::

idan and I are great lovers of food. We don't have the resources for expensive ingredients, but we have endeavoured to learn how to turn humbler ingredients into great tasting fare. We cook from as many ethnic flavours as we can and have so few aversions that we can sit down around any table in any home and enjoy an unfamiliar meal. I hope our kids cultivate an appreciation for a broad spectrum of tastes. It is a gift.

We are not alone in this. We have several food-loving friends who share the passion, two of whom joined us Saturday evening. We had decided to chose a few recipes from a show we all enjoy, so we could taste some of the dishes that made us hungry when we watched them come together on screen. The results were better than good. We paced ourselves, cooking and eating on and off from 6:00 to 10:00. Swiss cheese pasta with shrimp. Pork chops with tomato, olives and feta. Seared fennel-rubbed steak. Rustic apple tarts. All with flourishes I can't describe to you because they require french accents my keyboard won't produce. . . We never got to the last dish, but didn't miss it. We were stuffed.

It was a good evening, as it always is when you combine cooking and good company.