I once knew a woman who had to dress her baby very carefully.  Not in the o is my precious bundle dressed in her best coordinated Baby Gap ensemble for maximum cuteness sort of way, but more in a can I stand to touch my own newborn because of the fabric cloaking her body sort of way.  She had an aversion to velvet, you see.

I know another lady who hates cats.  She hates them not for the allergies they bring in their feline wake, nor for the hair they deposit everywhere they go.  She just. can't. stand. them.  The idea of touching the long, lanky muscles just barely cloaked by skin and fur makes her cringe. 

I know two men who can't even look at a child with a danglingly loose tooth.  The only answer for these men is to avert their revolted eyes.

I, myself, am very nearly horrified by ketchup.  Though for the most part I try not to, when I think of putting some of this - to me - noxious substance in my mouth, I feel a speckle of tiny pricks spreading their horror-struck way across the back of my neck, culminating in an animalistic shake of my upper torso.  I'd rather eat bugs, frankly.  And I'm only exaggerating a little when I say this.

What perhaps irrational thing creeps you out?
Have I mentioned lately that I love you people?  Several of my real life (as opposed to cyber, but no less wonderful) blog-reading friends told me how much they, too, loved yesterday's tomato cans.  We share a near obsessive interest in the mundane!  Hearing about it made me so happy, I wanted to commemorate this joy with showing you what I ended up doing with the notorious can in question.  I had a little pot of parsley growing and I plunked it in.  The picture below shows the back of the can, which is also so lovely, I think.  Don't you think the woman looks like Mother Italy, Herself?
I've loved it for as long as I can remember.  I've drunk it in an official capacity since my reluctant Mom finally said yes.  Before that, I surreptitiously sneaked cups of it from her omnipresent brew.  There are few physical sensations I relish more than sticking my nose into a freshly opened bag of heady, dark roast Starbucks beans. 

I very reluctantly weaned myself off it for each of my pregnancies, which for this and countless other reasons seemed to last eons.  About once each year I gradually change my caffinated/decaffinated ratio so that I'm 'off the stuff' just to see that I can.  I hate the idea that I'm held captive to a substance and so I do my little experiment every now and then to prove my supposed dominance over coffee. 

It's one of those things that brings me a disproportionate amount of pleasure.  What's yours?

There are a thousand things that seep together to comprise my day.  I didn't realize that when I took on the mantle of 'Mom' to a family of six, I'd be requiring and using - essentially - the skill set of a CEO.  I'm in charge of the smooth running of many lives and if I'm on my game, I'm inspiring them daily to become better people.

My alarm goes off at 6:45, though I know I'd be a better person if I made that 5:45 and went for my runs then.  I lug myself out of bed, turn up the furnace and check the weather online.  I then proceed to make breakfast for the kids and if I'm really organized that day, it's a simple matter of dishing out the hot cereal that's been simmering in the crockpot for the past nine hours.  The house smells better that way and it's the kids' favorite breakfast.

I then go to the different bedrooms and wake them up.  Their differing wake-up styles makes me laugh.  Lucy and Oliver are almost always awake and reading  in their beds already, though if they're not, they wake immediately and energetically.  Anabel is slower, but positive and lovely.  Jude takes eons.  He almost always requires a massage in order to maintain a positive mindset.  This is the only time of day where this boy is inclined toward grouchiness and probably wrongly, I treat him with kid gloves and willing hands devoted to long minutes of rubbing my grouchy boy's back.  Finally they're all up and dressed and meet in the kitchen for breakfast where they take their vitamins and chat and eat.

I do Lucy's and Oliver's hair as they sit on our high kitchen island chairs.  Jude and Anabel no longer require this service of me.  My repertoire is no longer sufficient, which frankly, is no surprise.  The hair stylist within me rarely sees the light of day.

We then proceed to rush around at what feels like a frenetic pace, Job Charts in hand for the Littles, and 'we' do 'our' morning duties.  I still have to brush the Littles' teeth, for if I don't, it's a nasty surprise for all those who they come into close contact for the rest of their days.  Let's just say that being thorough isn't their primary consideration for when brushing their own teeth.  Speed is more the nature of the game as far as these seven and nine year olds are concerned.

I swap mornings and afternoons with my carpool partner.  If I'm on my two-week stint of mornings, we're in a rush and if I ever struggle with impatience in life (and I do), it's during this mad morning rush.  We have our litterless lunches to shepherd into backpacks, freshly washed gym strip to pack, planners to sign and record individual reading times from the night previous, hole-less socks to place on little feet (and not-so-little feet), breakfast dishes to put in the dishwasher (though honesty dictates that I let you know that they rarely make it there and usually settle somewhere near the kitchen sink), cheques and permission forms to sign and carefully pack so that they don't go away to that mysterious Land of lost-essential-I-must-have-it-signed-and-turned-in-immediately items, preteen boy bodies to shower (subsequent nagging regarding the towel thrown haphazardly on the floor afterward is almost inevitable), teen girl outfits to choose (because it must be an outfit that no one else on the planet has ever once conceived, and should include, if possible, an apron or a tunic covered in pigs) , and breath to smell.  If some brilliant one among you has developed a more effective plan than the smelling of potentially stinky breath to check for tooth-brushing effectiveness, do tell.  In the meantime, I smell.  And I sometimes cringe.

I beller out my standard line, Jackets and shoes on! in a mystery tune whose origins I'm no longer sure of.  There are four pairs of shoes and four jackets hurredly put on in a hodge-podge flurry of activity as I do so.  On a really successful day, mittens and scarfs and hats are also donned.  We then proceed to pick up our carpool friend and make our way to the middle school, where both Anabel and Jude go to spend their days.  Next is the elementary school where a drop-off is taboo (And frankly, not welcomed by me, either.  I love to hang and chat with the moms who are also there waiting for the teachers to open the doors to welcome our Littles).  And then - and only then - I can heave a sigh of relief for my more pressing duties for the morning are now complete.

Sometimes - I don't need to tell the parents and teachers among you - one needs to dig deep to find a consequence weighty enough to strike fear into the  heart of the receiver of it.  That proverbial sometime has come, today, to our home. 

The littlest Little can sometimes be just a smidge headstrong, as I think I've mentioned.  He's that joy-spilling-all-over-the-place type and his energy levels, while bracing and admirable, and even sometimes dizzying, sometimes find him in the way of Trouble. 

And when Trouble arrives and joins ranks with our boy Oliver, there is nothing more effective than the formal gathering up of his (pointedly, all male) seal family.  He weeps quietly as he does it and we all gather around watching, as it's the sweetest, most poignant thing we've all seen in a long time.  He kisses and hugs each of them and says long, protracted goodbyes, assuring them that he's sure he'll see them again soon.  Here you can see them at their very visible perch atop the armoire in our living room, waiting eagerly for the time to to ripe to be reunited with their very loving little Owner, errant though he sometimes may be.  You can plainly see the excitement in their eyes - loyal, loving little seals.
It's past midnight and I'm too jittery to attempt sleep.  My perch on the couch is tentative, to say the least.

Of my five immediate Loved Ones, four are currently up for intermittent bouts of huddling over the toilet - wishing for a quick death.  The toilet part is mostly wishful thinking as less than a third of the 'episodes' has actually involved one.  I'm on my third load of laundry tonight and there have been ample tears and "Why does God allow this to happen to me?"  The only one spared was not actually spared, but just the first little fellow to fall, and thankfully by now, his turn of alternating  retching and moaning has ended.  They're like dominoes.  Or flies. 

My hands are dry and chapped from exposure to toxic cleaners and from frequent dunks into newly soapy water.  My floors and the bedding in their rooms are pristine from excessive and oft repeated scrubbing.  I'm more than a little stunned that I'm still OK myself, frankly, and I'm thinking that my $12 flu shot - spontaneously purchased during a meander through Costco with my Dad - was well worth it.

JoyBoy, whilst splayed out on the couch in a sort of lethargic, vomit-induced desperation, helped me laugh in the middle of it all when he said,  this has taken some of the tinsel and sheen off of bulemia for me.  He then asked me to remind him to get the flu shot next year.
Groupon has finally moved to l'il old Abbotsford!  I'm a staunch fan of the Vancouver version and have already purchased three Groupons myself.  They are every bit as good as you've heard.  Click on this link if you're an Abbotsfordian who loves a bargain (you'll be earning me $10 in the process and who doesn't like to spread joy like that?):

These pictures represent the naivete of the attitudes of the childless.  Insofar as they depict a little creature who is now indisputably a part of our lives, though I'd never have forecasted such a thing.  Before the sight of my sweet eldest daughter begging me for him, I wouldn't have imagined that I'd allow such a creature into my home, most especially in a voluntarily sense.  But he's ours now and we really kind of love him.  Especially when he shoves big bits of food in his cheeks.  That's pretty cute.
I've mentioned with what is no doubt a sickening frequency that I live in the forest on a mountain.  It's a little eccentricity I have to obsess about it.  About four times a week in the late Spring, Summer and early Fall, I gird up my proverbial loins and go for a run on the trail behind my house.  It's gobsmackingly beautiful (I'm testing your patience to see just how many times you're willing to put up with me using that word:  gobsmacking!  gobsmacking!  aaaand gobsmacking!).  The trail is peaceful in a way that I find hard to convey.  Everywhere you look, there is extreme Beauty of the sort that makes you feel pleasantly small and insignificant.  Before you know it, an hour has zipped by and you've hardly registered the fact.  You've been too busy watching the white butterflies drifting lazily around the blackberry bush blossoms and the occasional leaf zig zag slowly to the ground.  There are countless birds flitting about and there is the infrequent mole or deer to factor in.  What you don't want to encounter - and luckily thus far, I haven't - are the bears and cougars.  I'm not one of those fluidly silent runners and the great noise I make while lumbering through the forest has thus far been enough to keep the more carnivorous animals at what I imagine is a wary bay.

The plump blackberries are ripening fast just now and are a bit of a distraction if one is keeping track of running times and distances.  The trail, though it is mostly shaded by the massive cedars frequenting this area, and therefore lovely and relatively cool even on the hottest summer day, showcases sporadic shafts of gossamer sunlight that bring to mind Lothlorian of Tolkien lore.   You half expect to see FairyFolk peering out at you as you run past.  It's a true rest for the spirit to run here and when you arrive at home, sweaty and profoundly unattractive, you feel centered and happy, fulfilled and lucky.
I've inadvertently discovered a secret.  I didn't do it on purpose, but my goodness! did I learn a thing or two yesterday.  I boosted my readership in a substantial way, though I doubt that the new audience I temporarily garnered is long destined to stay a part of my permanent one.  You see, yesterday, without thinking, I used the word penis. 

My blog stats are normally not all that impressive.  Depending on the day, between 10 and 40 people read these little musings.  Actually, I feel pretty delighted about that!  It's humbling that even that number would find me interesting enough to check out on a regular basis.  But yesterday.  Yesterday!  My handy little weebly stats function showed that this little blog hosted 915 page viewings!  I was baffled at first.  I assumed it was a glitch.  But then as I continued to check it (obsessively) throughout the day, I saw the numbers continue to rise in an orderly fashion.  I re-read my entry and lo and behold!  My eyes lighted on the word in question.  Penis.

I can't think of any other explanation.  So fellow bloggers, take note.  Capitalize on the desperation of the porn crowd if you're feeling really callous!