Sunday, February 28, 2010

I am feeling a bit ranty.

Today is the day of the big cross-border battle for hockey gold. I don't have TV channels and don't actually care about hockey anyway. (Yes, as I have said before, there are Canadians in this world who don't know anything about icing or offside passing or the differences between major and minor penalties. We live full and productive lives nonetheless.) It is still my patriotic duty to say GO CANADA, KICK SOME AMERICAN BUTT before I go any further.

Since I am not going to be another person going on and on about the Olympics I am going to rant about the Academy Awards instead.

Here is a list of the best picture nominees. The ones with stars next to them are the ones I have actually seen. (This is where I thank our sainted respite worker yet again.) I have linked each title to it's preview on YouTube for your convenience.

*The Blind Side
*District 9
An Education
*The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
*A Serious Man
*Up in the Air

Avatar for best picture? Really? Academy, are you serious? Don't get me wrong. The movie is very pretty. It is really, really pretty. The sad thing is that the story is a very dressed up retread of a story that has been told over and over again. When I think of Best Pictures I think of movies that have substance to go with their style. A story that stays with you and makes you think for days after you watch it. A story that gets people talking about more than special effects. If all you can remember about a movie is how great the special effects were, is it really Best Picture material?

I love a good action movie. I love special effects. I purposely seek out these kinds of movies to give my brain a break. Sometimes you want to go to a movie and relax and not think too hard. That is what Avatar is for. If we are going to choose a cartoon for Best Picture, how about we choose Up. Sure, no one glowed and could attach themselves to stuff with fiber optic cable, but the story was rich and layered and had emotional depth. When I walked out of the theatre after watching that movie I didn't just talk about the stunning visual effects and about what a lovely delicate touch the animators used with the 3D--I also talked about how the story was just as rich and full as the colours.

District 9 was incredible because it is a sci-fi movie that didn't need fancy eye-popping special effects to tell it's story. Up in the Air was enjoyable and also had a story line that was worth talking about, and a Serious Man had me bummed out for days afterward. (if you have seen it, you will know what I mean.) I was surprised I enjoyed The Blind Side as much as I did.

I have no idea who should win Best Picture, and in the long run, it doesn't matter in my life. I just hope that the voters of the Academy are smart enough to see past the flashy visuals of Avatar to choose a different movie. Of course in Hollywood beauty is only skin deep, so maybe it would be fitting if a movie that is really only pretty on the outside wins after all.

EDITED ON MARCH 3: We watched The Hurt Locker a couple of days ago...another interesting and thought-provoking movie much worthier of Best Picture than Avatar!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Something happened yesterday that involved cake and candles.
This year Richard took the kids to the mall and let them choose their own gifts for me. This proved to have hilarious consequences. You really get a glimpse of yourself through your children's eyes when they choose gifts for you.

Emmett chose a Bejing Olympics highlights DVD and My Fitness Trainer for the Wii. He sees me watching the Winter Olympics right now, and the fitness game is not a comment on my appearance, he just sees me play my other fitness game a lot so he assumed I would like this one too (I do! I have heard it is a good one.)

Charlotte chose a cheesy paperback romance novel for me. She sees me reading books a lot and I guess this one had a pretty cover. I almost fell off my chair laughing at this one!!

They both chose a Spongebob Easter card for my birthday card. They both love Spongebob.

Richard baked the cake. Click on the link if you dare--this cake is not for those of you watching your calories! It is for those of you who appreciate a fantastic chocolate cake. The icing is more like chocolate mousse than it is icing, with it's combo of butter, cream cheese, melted chocolate AND cocoa powder. Sigh. So. Good.

So far, this new year of life is looking pretty good!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I still knit sometimes!

So, I spent a lovely Valentine's Day evening at my friend Sandy's house. She is a chronic hat knitter. She made an adorable hat that I just had to have. So I made one too. In two days.

The yarn is thick and soft, the pattern fun and engaging.

It's a good thing I like it so much. My respite worker spied it last night on my needles and asked me to make her one. The kids love her and she tidies my house after she tucks them in for the night. How could I say no??

The pattern is Devra 2, and I made it with Paton's Shetland Chunky in Taupe using 40-cm bamboo circular needles in 5 and 6 mm sizes. I added plastic craft mesh to the brim to make it rigid.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My life in shoes.

Rina at Gotta Little Space was inspired by her bloggy friends to peek into her closet and look at her life in shoes. She asked if she had too many. I laughed. Her shoes all fit into ONE photograph!

She inspired me to look into my own closet(s). In the knitting world this is called flashing your stash, and can be a very enlightening exercise in looking at your own consumer habits.

Once upon a time, my own shoe collection could fit in a single photograph. That was back in the days before I had children. You see, when a woman gets pregnant her feet often change size, and they stay that way permanently. Before I had kids my feet were so narrow I could only fit specialty sizes. I was 9-1/2 AAA. Big, long, narrow. That meant I never spent less than $100 for a pair of shoes. Three kids later my feet have widened and shortened into a more normal 8 1/2 A. The world of shoes suddenly opened up to me!

This is going to be embarrassing, but here goes......
I am not explaining every single pair, I will just give the highlights or we will be here all day!

Photo 1: Flats. These are the shoes I reach for almost daily. Ballet flats look so cute with jeans or skirts and are easy to chase the kids in. The leopard ones are my most recent purchase, and still have the tags attached. I need to retire the mary jane style clodhoppers. They are so comfy, but also so very ugly!! The green Keds are also nearing the end of their lifespan.

Photo 2: Sandals. Most are flats, the two on the bottom right have heels, but are still surprisngly comfortable. The Mephisto sandals on the top row are actually my second pair. I wore the first pair into the ground. If I want to feel like a yummy mummy in the grocery store I'll wear the cork platforms on the bottom right with my jeans or a denim skirt.

Photo 3: Boots. The brown ones on the bottom left were bought at a shoe party(I know! They have shoe parties!! Somebody hide my credit card!!). They are SO sexy and look amazing with jeans. I can walk about a block in them before my sexy hip sway turns into a sexy limp. The tall ones on the other end of the step are emu boots and lined with sheep fleece. They are so amazing for walking E to school since they keep my legs and feet warm. Do I need to explain the argyle wellies???

Photograph 3: Dress shoes. All black, except for the wonderful pink ones on top. Yes, I do have nail polish that matches them.

Photograph 4: Golf cleats worn twice before we had kids--I don't have time to use them now!!!!

Photograph 5: Charlotte took this of her shoes while I was composing this post. She is a blogger-in-training!

These are the shoes that survived the big purge before we moved. I got rid of at least four other pairs while packing.

Ok, I flashed my stash....are you brave enough to flash yours???

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Making Stuff

Thank you for all of your kind responses to my previous post. Carolyn, your post about friends being like clothes really resonated with me.

Today's topic is much lighter. It involves me making stuff. I made the finger paints the kids are using to create their art. A friend shared her easy recipe with me and the kids had fun one snowy afternoon making paintings with it.

What else am I making? Two days ago I gave ricotta cheese a try. It turns out all you need is a slow cooker, milk and an acid of some sort. I love ricotta. I hate how much it costs. I am so glad my experiment worked out!

Yesterday Richard made us churros. There is no photographic evidence of this. They were too tasty to stay on the plate long enough to snap a picture! Can anyone tell me the difference between a churro and a cruller? They seem very similar in taste and texture.

Have you made anything lately?? (Beds don't count!)

PS Here is my finger paint recipe:


This is a washable finger paint. I have had luck cleaning it out of just about everything. That doesn't mean it won't stain some objects or clothing, though. If your kids are small enough you can make an "art shirt" for them out of a plastic grocery bag (or even a thick department store bag). Just cut holes for their head and arms, then have them wear it like a shirt. It doesn't cover their arms but it will keep them from wiping paint on the front of their shirt.
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup of cornstarch
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1/4 Cup dish washing soap
  • food coloring

Put the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan and then slowly mix in cold water. Then cook the mixture over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until you have a smooth gel. Let cool and then add dish washing soap. Divide into as many containers as you would like colors and then mix in food coloring drops until you have you desired color. If you have colored dish washing soap that can influence all the colors you try to create, which isn't always a bad thing.

Tip: Use baby food jars to divide and store the paint! They are a perfect size for kids to dip their fingers or brushes into and they can be sealed easily if you have leftover paint.

Jen's tips: I used Wilton gel food colouring to get the bright colours you see in the pictures.

Be sure to cook the cornstarch mixture down to a thick pudding consistency. Adding the soap later thins out the paint a surprising amount. Make sure you like the smell of the soap you are using. Your art will smell like it even after the paint has dried.