Saturday, 30 June 2007

Happy Canada Day

Had the camera on the wrong setting today so none of the video worked - one and a half hours of Canada Parade completely undocumented. Yikes! My excuse was that the sun was in my eyes, such as when taking this beauty of the clown with his hand covering his face - probably for the best.

So instead, here's what we got up to during last year's home-made parade. That was a blast... with unlimited candy for the kiddies. And documented to boot...

Friday, 29 June 2007

Unconfined joy is…

finding one’s hard earned, highly sought after, much anticipated Anne of Green Gables outfit in the mail. She knew exactly when this was to arrive because joy in today’s world is also, apparently, following a highly prized package’s route meticulously from Toronto manufacturing plant to rural Metchosin mailbox via the company’s web tracker. Yes it cost an awful lot - but she doesn’t make these decisions lightly. And yes, in terms of current rotation, dolly Diana's wardrobe just doubled that of her caretaker. Thanks to all those who helped contribute to this magic.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Medieval Times

We’re in the middle of “Medieval Village” week at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site. We discovered this event casually two years ago and last year Effie really got into it and attended each day in period costume (ie: one medieval dress). Full members of PARMA, the Pacific Association for Re-creating the Middle Ages, spend the week at the site in period tents acting how people would have in 1371 England. This includes a lot of weaving, spinning, washing, painting, writing, shoe-making, cooking, tool-construction, building, armour making, sword fighting and even some puppetry. All done at a pedestrian pace that seems ideally suited to Effie’s inquisitive, observant personality.

This year we’ve gone a step further with Tiki officially joining in the fun though she is limited by both Fergus’ greater interest in the adjacent lighthouse and the strict rule prohibiting modern day eye-wear as the village is open to the public. She’s able to sneak her glasses on occasionally, the same way the others duck into their tents for clandestine 21st century cell-phone calls. Fergus, a definite refusenik when it comes to costumes, does manage to follow certain customs of the day by sporting a funky pre-semiannual wash and brush hairdo.

Balloon Skate

In anticipation of Live and Learn 2007 in Asheville, NC, I had great plans to learn to skate this summer as stylishly as Albuquerque Dave. However, so far our lack of a non-public, flat surfaces has scuppered this lofty goal. Tiki’s big summer project is becoming more proficient at balloon twisting so she’s about to apply for a downtown busking license and inflict her talents on unsuspecting cruise ship visitors on 12 hour release. Terms of the busking agreement in by-lawed-to-death, no-fun Victoria indicate that she is only allowed to accept donations and that she must provide “entertainment”. Entertaining pictures to follow!

For a family that prefers to live life without an agenda, road map or targeted goals - all this is truly revolutionary for us. Here’s an inflatable minute brought to you by Addi, balloon supplies donator to L&L 2007, that combines both skating and funky balloon hats into one enjoyable experience…

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Random Pics

At the ocean...

It was only a matter of time before we had a car up on blocks on the property...

The "garden" today...

Friday, 22 June 2007

This is what happens...

when a long-haired mountain-man Uncle climbs out of the bush for the first time in over a year and is greeted by his nieces and nephew:

when a girl sets up shop to sell her projects to extended family members for greatly anticipated doll clothes money:

when an Aunt meets her brand new nephew:

when you need a train - pronto:

when (comment deleted):

when you finally make it to the highway rest-stop after the boy closes a window on his fingers:

Saturday, 16 June 2007


People think we're a bit lazy, a bit messy and a bit nutty but I tell you it pays to not clean out the car from one big adventure (April's trip to Oregon) when the next one is only a couple months away! We're currently hanging in Penticton with Tiki's entire family, smothering Grandad for Father's day weekend - and the best thing about the trip is that it didn't take that long to pack the car... all the toys, gear and Fergus' gum were already in place. But I forgot the little cord thing that connects the camera to the computer so here's a somewhat recent photo of a tiger at the Portland zoo in lieu of proper travel pics.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007


Yesterday I made Fergus a cake cause his fourth birthday was in exactly 3 months and two days and that day will never happen again. His favorite colour is green. His favorite food group is icing. His favorite canvas is his face. I perhaps created a bit of a monster as he totally got into the whole surprise birthday thing ("its MY birthday, I get ALL the cake for myself") and Effie has designs on a pink cake for HER surprise birthday. We invited the-people-who-live-down-the-road but it was late and they were hottubing and Tiki went into town bra* shopping in advance of our upcoming vacation to the hotbed of BC, the Okanagan, so it was just the three of us. Fergus wore a hat.

*Regarding "Bras"… today I yelled out "bras!" in public for what might have been the first time ever - I'm not certain. I was exchanging some of Tiki's purchases (this happens a lot for me - especially the day after they're bought - woe is my life!) when the "service specialist" at MEC poked his head out of the back room across the busy floor "those were t-shirts right?" and I replied with the aforementioned bra announcement. I felt very metro!

Sunday, 10 June 2007

A Wonderful Saturday

Woke up at the crack of 9:30 and started in on entrepreneurial crafts:

Spruced up a tree:

Cleaned. Including popping a garbage bag full of old balloon hats. Woops - the Balloonatik wasn't finished with them it turned out:

Of course, had some fun prior to killing off the balloons - while no one was looking:

Dancing (she gets a few years out of her clothes!):


Mr. Fred Flintstone himself suddenly starts pedaling:

AND... I totally ruled on the trampoline today...

Friday, 8 June 2007

Passport process continued

Phase 2, Step 2 in the adventure that is getting ourselves to North Carolina in September: filling out and submitting the passport applications. Passport lineups have been crazy since the new border policy came out in January - we're talking people paying the homeless to stand in line for them all day type crazy. I was prepared (music, newspaper, cell phone, camera, pipe & slippers) for the long haul and I planned to get some shots of the unruly crowd, but I was a little disappointed that the lineup was minimal and the whole thing took only an hour. So instead, here's a photo of our local, rural Veterinarian signing our passports as our guarantor. I've shielded her face to preserve her professionalism since in the forefront you'll notice my effort to grease the palms of our friendly, neighbourhood Vet. Thanks Margaretha of Woodley Ghyll Drive in Metchosin, BC, Canada for doing this for us. oh shoot…woops.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

An Embarrassment of Mangoes

(with apologies to Ann Vanderhoof, author of the book "An Embarrassment of Mangoes")

We've been enjoying these crates of sweet juicy mangoes the last few days, and oh man, I know they aren't local and all that, probably burned several forests worth of fossil fuels and caused untold irreparable pollution to get them here, but they sure as heck taste good!

Mangoes remind me of my dad. When I was small dad would buy mangoes in summer, so exotic, I never knew anyone else whose family bought mangoes! Then he would ripen them carefully, and when the time was deemed right, the ritual began. He would peel them and pit them and if we were really lucky we would be the one chosen to chew on the stone. Then he'd put the slices in the blender with ice and sugar syrup he had boiled down and a slug from his coveted bottle of dark Jamacian rum - you've guessed where I am going with this - Mango Daquiries, elixir of the gods!

So I have been thinking of my dad, and wishing he and his blender were here so we could sit out on the patio (ignore the rain for a minute and just run with my image) and sip mango daquiries together in the sun and talk of the cottage and my brother and sisters and my mum and the old dogs and summer memories from years gone by. Maybe we'd pull out the old slide projector and the movie camera and roll out some of those old summer pictures and movies on the white screen in the living room.

I recently read a definition of unschooling that went "Unschooling is like experiencing the best Saturdays you had as a child on an everyday basis". When I think of my kids lives and how I want them to remember things, I think of summer holidays at the lake and memories like mango daquiries. In moments when things seem overwhelming and I am getting grouchy, I hold those memories in my heart and move toward them. Imagine a whole childhood of mango dauquiries? Could you possibly grow up wrong with a head full of memories like that?

I hope one day my kids will look at something as simple as a mango and get flooded with warm fuzzy wonderful memories of being loved and loving fully. What a wonderful life. What an embarrassment of mangoes.

Unexpected uses for a trampoline

Now, I knew they were for jumping, I'm no idiot.
And I've been around a bit, so I've seen a bit of laughing and goofing around, and was down with that too.

But cross country running?
(really, "running round in circles", but don't you think cross country running sounds so much more accomplished?)
Jumping in the rain?
Jumping while the sprinkler runs underneath the mat?
(usually only if it isn't raining, but sometimes also when it is)
(Need a nap after all that wrestling I guess)

Star gazing?
(even cloud gazing you can still see bats, and sometimes owls)

(I wish I could take credit for this so-far-by-me (us?) untested use, but it actually came to me via my friend...,
oh geez, maybe I'll just keep that to myself, but she knows who she is - maybe she'll comment? In case she doesn't, lets just make sure you know she said "great sex", not just any old sex!? Still I don't think it rains much where she's from, do you suppose that would make a difference?)

The real point I am trying to make is, whoever is responsible for marketing these trampolines is doing a piss poor job! Do they mention any of these uses on their website? Perhaps one of them there marketing professionals will read this and decide to hire me? There is a serious untapped market out there - if we had known all this beforehand we would have rushed out and bought a trampoline before we even had kids for goodness sake! And I haven't even gotten started talking about how many cold drinks I can consume while sitting out here in the summer sun blogging away on the laptop while both my kids are blissfully entertained together on the trampoline (I'm not fooling you right? This is the west coast we are talking about, it is raining and we are inside watching tv).

Scones to die for

I love bread! Freshly baked baguette dipped in cafe au lait, Irish soda bread spread thick with Irish butter, a crusty dinner roll on white linen, my mother-in-law Fran's brown bread spread with her homemade raspberry jam, OH!

The following beauties are more easily reproduced, infinitely variable depending on what goodies you add, and dress up any salad, soup, quiche, or leftover to make a more than passable dinner for friends (though I can't see any need to share, as far as I'm concerned this recipe serves 1). Indebted to my friend Memet and her friend Klinky for the recipe.

2 1/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar (use 1 for savory version)
2 1/2 tsp baking Powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking Soda
1/2 cup butter
1 cup buttermilk
(*or* 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar in 1 cup milk
*or* 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt + 1/2 cup milk)
1 beaten egg for glaze

variation ideas:
2 tsp lemon rind + 1/2 cup raisins
cheese (parmesan, cheddar, etc)
herb (rosemary, dill, sage, tarragon, etc)

Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine dry ingredients; cut in cold butter; stir in buttermilk till soft and sticky (add raisins, cheese, etc). Knead a maximum of 10 times; pat into a circle (8" x 2") on parchment; cut into pie shaped wedges and spread wedges apart. Brush top and sides of each wedge with beaten egg. Bake in 425 degrees oven for 12-15 minutes till golden brown.

Now, if you don't happen to have any leftover soup in your fridge you might also want this recipe for my favourite carrot soup, adapted from Judith Finlayson's Vegetarian Slow Cooker recipes so that you don't need a slow cooker and can whip it up in half an hour:

2 cups red lentils
diced onion
diced carrots (~4)
diced garlic
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
couple tsp veggie bouillion powder
1 large can diced tomatoes
~6 cups water
1 can coconut milk
splash of lemon juice

Put lentils in a colander/sieve and rinse. Put sieve into a bowl, fill whole thing with water and let sit.
In a stock pot, cook oil and diced veg (smaller dice cooks faster), after a bit add garlic, spices (to taste) and tomatoes.
Whizz with a hand held blender till smooth.
Drain lentils and add to pot. Add water & coconut milk. Simmer till lentils soft, ~20 mins. Add lemon juice and spice again to taste.

Need a salad to go with that? This dressing from my friend Nanci will make anything you've got in your fridge or garden shine and keeps well in the fridge:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup flax seed oil (or other oil)
titch of ordinary hot dog mustard

Shake vigourously.

There you go, dinner!

An evening alone... as recorded by

(well, with some help from Fergus)

Craig was away in Newfoundland for a week in May, and Effie spent an evening documenting our doings - I thought her photos revealed such an interesting view of our life: mess, cookies, funny faces, smiles, giraffes tied up?, insanity, oven mitt sharks, painting projects, and how to take the wheels off the dishwasher! I didn't include my favourite shot, which is of the floor underneath the dining room table, where Fergus was when Effie clicked the shutter, but where he wasn't any longer by the time the photo was taken - "Mum, I can't catch fergus, he's too fast".