Easter weekend 2014 (and checking in)

I feel like I’ve been neglecting my space here. And I miss it. I miss it very much.

Time is difficult to find these days – or I should say, making time is difficult these days. I’m up at 5:15am to workout, off to work long and sometimes very intensely busy days (more days than not), back home for the after work/after school daily grind and then, hoping, to be in bed by 10pm. Though most nights, I could easily fall asleep at 9pm.

But how am I, one might wonder?

I’m doing fine. I wouldn’t say I’m filled with constant happiness. But I do check in with myself once in awhile. I’m actually not use to be going on for this long without suicidal thoughts and sometimes wonder if all those dark days of are of the past.

Are they? Or are they just lying dormant? It’s difficult to say. I suppose, I’m being cautiously optimistic. I’m partly being hopeful that the worst is all behind me. But realistic that I’m not cured, by any sense – just that I’m able to, perhaps, manage all this.

A part of me wishes that I could steer onwards with a heart full of hope and charity. Another part of me realizes this is not completely realistic. Not to say that I am without hope or faith – I do continue to strive for a full heart. But sometimes, a certain level of being guarded is part of survival of this world we live in.

It’s knowing who to trust and who needs more time to be trusted (rather than jumping to the conclusion of who not to trust). The latter usually requires much more space and distance – at least at the beginning of whatever relationship I may or may not have with that person.

Anyway, we had a beautiful but busy long Easter weekend, full of egg colouring, food prepping and dinner hosting, seeing Captain America – The Winter Soldier, an egg hunt, a bike ride and walk under the sun, pub wings and some organizing/cleaning in between everything.

leg of lamb with prosciutto

image courtesy of taste.com.au

Our traditional Easter dinner menu for my family:

  1. Spinach, Egg and Bacon Salad
  2. Smoked Trout
  3. Roasted Lamb with Sage and Prosciutto
  4. Spaghetti Squash Casserole
  5. Roasted Asparagus
  6. Applesauce Cake*
    • Modified ingredients:
      • 1/2 cup coconut flour
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        1/2 teaspoon baking soda
        3 teaspoons cinnamon
        1/2 teaspoon ginger
        1/2 cup reduced-calorie margarine
        2 whole eggs
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        1/3 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
        1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

* The dessert was modified (and I’m still working on perfecting the modifications) to make it diabetic friendly. The original recipe asked for 1/4 molasses (pure sugar) and 1 cup Splenda. I normally reduce the sugar by 1/2 or 2/3rds anyway. As I’m not big on the artifical sweet taste, I’m working on reducing the Splenda but will also look into natural agave to substitute the sweetness. The unsweetened applesauce already has enough natural sweetness to it, though. And coconut flour, which has a higher absorbancy over regular flour, is much lower on the carb count and glycemic index. It’s nutritional value is higher as well.The above recipe is gluten-free – just make sure the baking powder and soda have no additives that would be problematic for those who have certain food intolerance.

Vampires 1: Zombies 0 (wherein this is actually about parenting)

twilight breaking dawn

oh those pesky teenage vampires again…

Awhile back, I mentioned Chaeli’s interest in both the Twilight movies and Twilight books.

Since then, it’s all she asks to watch. Fortunately, as a family, we don’t have that much time for movie nights anymore. We’ve been privileged to spend time outdoors together – all seasons – doing various physical activities. And when we’re stuck at home, there’s just so much to do – including game night and hobbies night. Movie nights are becoming a rarer treat. So when it comes time for crashing in front of the TV, it’s a nice change of pace (plus an excuse to have popcorn).

I also mentioned my plan to withhold the last book, Breaking Dawn, from her until we had more conversations about sex.

Well, just some series of events which lead to my failure as a parent here – these are not excuses, mind you, but they do explain how it all just sort of unraveled on me:

  1. My workplace has gone through tremendous changes, including new ownership; I am still employed but the overtime has been pretty steady.
  2. We went to donate some of our old belongings to Variety Village where Chaeli spotted Breaking Dawn, the hardcover, for only $5.
  3. When we got home, due to being drained from event no. 1, and many other crazy things that have happened to us which I won’t bore you with here, I completely forgot to take the book from her room.

I suppose my greatest fault is no. 3 above. A part of my brain did remember it was there from time to time, but then another part of my brain, the one that’s famous for procrastinating, kept on saying that she was still in the beginning of reading Eclipse, the book before. It will be awhile before she gets to Breaking Dawn.

This reasoning seemed to satisfy the part of my brain that usually is pretty good at taking charge. Until one day, I see my 10 year old walking around carrying the Breaking Dawn book.

With her bookmark sticking out from the middle pages.

This past Saturday was one of the rare moments we had time for a movie. Of course, she asked to watch Twilight. And of course, she asked to watch Breaking Dawn, Part 2, her favourite.

When it got to the scene where Edward and Bella were implied to have a 2nd honeymoon (nothing graphic but it was suggestive that they were making love even though nothing is shown), my kid turns to me and says, “You know in the book? They do this for like a whole day.”

I was stunned. And silent. At least at first. Then I started to laugh as I worked out a semi-audible, “Oh yeah – I forgot about that part of the book” to cover up my real reason for laughing.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking, Oh great. Not only did I fail to discuss with her about sex, I’m now laughing like an immature dweeb.

“Yeah, and the only reason why they stop is because they wanted to check up on their baby. If they didn’t have a kid, they would be doing this for days. Maybe weeks!”

Well, not all is at a loss. Chaeli is not completely ignorant about where babies come from. And she has been introduced to sex but I’m not sure if she understood that what they were doing, was sex. Or if she thinks they just spent an entire day kissing and holding each other. (<- my wishful thinking)

It’s a discussion I’ll be having with her soon. *Sigh*

Why can’t she just like zombies? You don’t have to worry about zombies getting down and dirty. They’re too busy being disgusting as they tear into live, human victims.

pee-dialogue from big bang theory – it’s her favourite

Sheldon: Waterfalls!

Raj: What?!

Sheldon: Waterfalls, Crashing Waves, Babbling Brooks!

Howard: What are you doing?

Sheldon: Subliminal messaging, I’m going to make you want to pee, Dripping faucets, leaky gutter….peeing.

Raj: Listen, it’s not working dude.

Sheldon: Ha Oh, It’s working alright. I have to pee.

Raj: Then let go of the ring and go.

Howard: Well actually, I wouldn’t mind going too.

Raj: Fine, um, on the count to three. One, Two…

Sheldon: Eh, wait just to clarify. When you get to three, do we stand up…or do we pee?

Howard: We stand up!

Sheldon: Excellent choice.

the above dialogue was taken from The Big Bang Theory episode, The Precious Fragmentation.

chaeli loves this dialogue. when they get to the part where sheldon questions what happens when they get to three, she explodes with a belly-aching laugh like i’ve never heard her do before.

it’s nice to know her sense of humour is going towards the right direction.

pee and poo jokes – classic!

educating her on 80′s music

a couple of friday nights ago, doug, chaeli and i were heading home after having dinner out (for a change). we were listening to BOOM 97.3 – a new-ish toronto station which plays music from the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s. but the deal is they have no specific genre. they can be playing duran duran one minute, alannah myles another, than right into AC/DC. there’s no rhyme nor reason to their playlist, really.

it’s pretty awesome. while i’m more a devoted fan to 88.1, toronto’s indie station, i’ve been having a lot of fun with BOOM 97.3. especially 80′s fridays.

anyway, they were playing a few metal and hard rock from the 80′s on the way home. doug was trying to educate chaeli the difference between the two.

the problem? our memories weren’t too swift with those 80′s bands and who played what. i was getting glam rock bands like poison and motley crue completely confused.

doug was worse… apparently to him, every song was sung by aerosmith!

then, all of the sudden, i blanked out over who sang ‘stairway to heaven’. doug, of course, didn’t know – guessing aerosmith again. i thought and i thought and the only name i could come up with was metallica. knowing i was totally wrong, i text-ed hoa and asked him. about 10 seconds later, i got the answer…

led zepplin.

led zepplin – i course! *smacks hand to forehead*

meanwhile, ada, apparently, was guessing after 17 guesses – repeating def leopard 3 times.

anyway, to make a very long story short, later that night, after chaeli got ready for bed, she stayed up half an hour later (and it was already very much past her bedtime), while i went through a series of david bowie videos on youtube. including this one which he performed live with queen:

i emailed ada and hoa, “we should be on chaeli to get to bed but we’re doing this instead. we’re such responsible parents…”


work and play weekend

i rather not work on my weekends but sometimes, it’s inevitable. especially now that i’m starting to do some small, side-contract jobs. as i explain myself to any new client, i have a full time job so whatever time i have in the evenings and on weekends (though i try to finish up during the week), is what i can offer them. my fair price does reflect this but should they require some one who’s able to give them their hours during business time, i’m unfortunately not their fit.

this weekend was one of those weekends i had to set some time to work. but i felt it was well balanced. i would say 20% of it was work and the rest of the 80% was play.

well, that’s not entirely true. more like 20% work, 50% house choirs and 30% play.

basque chicken recipe

Photography by Jodi Pudge

friday night, a night i really try not to work since it’s my first break into the weekend, we made our go-to, oven roasted, basque chicken recipe. from canadian living, this recipe never fails us and other guests we’ve made it for have asked for the recipe to be passed on to them. doug and i usually make two batches – one with spicy sausage and some mixture of chili, cayenne and/or spicy paprika. the other dish is on the mild side for chaeli and other people who are not as adventurous with spicy food.

this time, we made it for my parents – it was, again, a success. and as usual, we made enough for leftovers. i’m having it for lunch today, actually.

saturday, i spent as much time as i could working on my contract job (logo design for a client in the real estate industry) but made sure to stop working about an hour after lunch.

why? because it was possibly, our final chance for some skiing/boarding of the season. we only went for two hours of night-skiing but it was sweet. the hill was not very busy so many times, i found myself carving down the hill pretty much alone. i worked on my technique, coupled with speed, and felt great! there’s nothing like getting into a rhythm of going back and forth from heel to toe and toe to heel when snowboarding. it almost felt, at some points, effortless as i let my feet just carry me through those two motions.

we were baked not too long before bedtime. chaeli wanted to watch a bit of our bbc blue planet dvd. i assure you i fell asleep only within the first 15 minutes. if that.

sunday, i woke up feeling sore across my back, shoulders and chest. i have no idea why. i have not felt sore much after boarding this whole season so i am inclined to think it had something to do with my yoga class earlier that morning of our ski/board trip (it was a tough class).

i decided to tip-toe down to the basement to do a gentle vinyasa flow yoga session. just enough to limber up my body and stretch it out.

we eventually found our way to milestones for brunch and then shopping at the mall across from it. remember how i said i was in the mood for jewellery shopping? well, that’s basically what i did. doug took chaeli to do some of their own shopping which gave me just over an hour to take advantage of the jewellery sales at both forever 21 and bittersweets.

we didn’t forget hobbes, though. after resting for about 30 minutes at home, we went back up north, just 30 minutes or so, for a nice 2.8km hike through the woods. it was a beautiful, sunny type of winter day. the fresh air was good and hobbes certainly got his exercise. we all did.

one thing i must admit about a weekend like this – it can be tiring. i’m feeling it today, especially after my 5:45am workout in my basement this morning. we packed a lot in – i didn’t even mention all the time we spent making lunch, dinner and prepping my healthy, high-fiber, high-protein, low-glycemic, low-carb breakfast salad (which will be for most of my mornings at work this week). nor the laundry or dishes or whatever else needed our attention.

at the same time, i felt like we really accomplished a lot this weekend. it’s what makes monday morning feel just a wee tad better. and while we had no real ‘lazy time’ we had moments of down time between all the running around. just enough down time to recharge but not so long and drawn out to make us feel really lazy.