Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Week 25: Don't Just Think About it

Last week's challenge from Laura was to pick a spot that you were avoiding and just do it. She suggested we'd probably be surprised at how little time it took...


Our bathroom drives me nuts. J's bathroom is tidy all the time. Not ours. Our washer and dryer and hot water heater are in a closet in the bathroom. Which means our bathroom often doubles as a laundry room. You'd think that would motivate me to get the laundry put away, but it doesn't. Go figure. Because it's our laundry room as well, our drying rack is in here and stuff gets pulled off of it or out of the dryer and dumped on the counter. And then I get distracted and it stays there. Until it falls over or drives me nuts.

master bathroom with laundry before

So on Sunday while J napped, I decided that I'd tackle the laundry. It took 15 minutes to move it to the bedroom, fold and sort it and put it away. And then something happened. I was inspired....

master bathroom before

I'm not sure how I managed to get myself ready in the morning - all my face stuff and other things were underneath that massive pile of laundry.

master bathroom before

This end of the counter isn't much better....

my drawer before

Some of that stuff should probably go in this drawer, but I can't even see what's in the drawer, let alone add to it!

my cupboard before

And while I was at it, this cupboard could use some help...

under the sink before

And so could this one...

left cupboard before and after

But not this one...this one is my husband's domain, so it's spotless! He is in charge of switching and washing towels and he does a great job...they never sit on the counter for longer than a few minutes! I didn't include my husband's drawer because the only things in there are a brush, a tube of toothpaste, the q-tips and one or two small things. It's already very well organized!

Less than two hours later, my bathroom looked like someone else's bathroom. While I make sure the bathroom gets cleaned at least once a week, I did give it a special deep cleaning - and it took less than two hours. With two not so helpful helpers helping me!

master bathroom after

Look at that's so shiny and clutter free and yes there is still laundry on the rack but that's because it was still wet. When it dried and I took it off, I had a beautiful, flat, clutter-free counter to fold it on!

master bathroom after

Still lots of stuff, but not as much (one day I hope we'll have an over-the-toilet cabinet to put a bunch of this stuff in)

my drawer after

And that drawer that you couldn't even see into? Well, when the toiletry bag was moved to a more appropriate home, there was lots of space in there. I repurposed a gift box (now empty of) of soap and hand cream to hold some of the smaller things.

my cupboard after

I had a Groupon from the Body Shop a while ago and got about a year's worth of products all at once at a great price - they're in the clear box on the left (I will use them, they're all products I normally use). The wooden box is repurposed from some other bath products and now my face stuff is all in one place and I can get at it all once, but also put it all away together.

 under the sink after

Under the sink is  much prettier - it didn't need a lot of help, just a few things needed to be moved or thrown away.

In the course of cleaning out the bathroom I found one bottle of expired Tylenol 3, two bottles containing a total of about 20 percocet, two bottles with some old antibiotics, a bottle of face toner that I know I bought when I lived in London TEN years ago, two empty Shout bottles and a bunch of junk. I discovered I need to take a lot of  baths and probably never have to buy shower gel again (okay, maybe in 2013). Alex took the expired drugs to the pharmacy. They were very happy he took them the narcotics. Apparently we could have sold them on the street for a couple of dollars each....

I applied the same idea to the dishes later on that night when all I really wanted to do was lie in bed and read. You know what, 11 minutes later I was draining the sink and heading to bed!

I do have a question though...because the laundry is in this room, everything gets covered by a thick layer of dust in no time at all. Other than dusting daily, is there anything I can do to minimize the dust?

If you need a gentle push to get your organizing project started or you need some inspiration or new ideas, visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the 52 week challenge.

Tuscan Tuna & Bean Salad

36.33 Try 50 new recipes

So this is me, ignoring the stuff that's in the queue and just getting on with it...Queued recipes will make it up here...eventually...

Last night's dinner was Tuscan Tuna & Bean Salad from Dinner in Minutes. When my mom went back to work when my sisters were in high school, someone gave this book to my mom because it was a great cookbook for working moms. My mom never used it. Partly because she only went back to work for a few months and partly because the after school routine was a bit nutso at our house - both my sisters were on the swim team and had other extra curricular activities as well - my mom had nusto dinner routines down pat before she went back to work.

dinner in minutes

I inherited the cookbook not long after (or possibly shortly before) J was born. The subtitle of the book is "Memorable Meals for Busy Cooks." Was my mom trying to tell me something? I ignored the cookbook thinking it was one of those cookbooks that is all about good food but it's really just a bunch of pre-prepared food dumped together to make one dish. For a whole bunch of reasons, we don't eat much that comes in a package.

I was pleasantly surprised when I actually opened it and read the recipes over the weekend looking for meals for this week...there's good stuff made from scratch in there!

tuscan tuna and bean salad

The book pairs this with a zucchini and tomato salad that looks yummy except that raw tomatoes are not my friend. Since it was just J and I and I wasn't convinced Alex would eat the zucchini, I just made the bean salad. And served it the way the book suggested. Except I didn't heat the bread up...the description says it's perfect for warm evenings but then it wants you to turn the oven on? UGH. Our bakery fresh bread was fine not heated up! I made two little tweaks to the recipe too...I had parsley on my list, but somehow it never made it into the grocery cart. I had some basil that was on its last legs in the fridge, so I substituted that (I LOVE basil) and swapped the red wine vinegar for balsamic. I used white kidney beans because the store I was at last night had the most pathetic selection of beans. I think I'd use navy or Great Northern the next time - I prefer their slightly firmer texture. Or if I think of it far enough in advance I'd do my own...And I'd make it with lots more basil. Or I'll try the parsley.

This meal is supposed to serve four, but I think it made a lot more. We all had it for dinner last night and J and I both have some in our lunches today and there's enough for dinner tonight if I add some other veggies on the side..

This is yummy. This is summer-perfect food. I will be making this again.  Often I think. Oh, and I think the leftovers would be yummy stuffed into a pita or a wrap too...mmmm....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And it was silent...

So, dear readers, you may or may not know (because I've moaned about it here, on various forms of social media, by text message or maybe by phone) that my kid has not been going to sleep. She's been going to bed and for the last three or four weeks we have a decent system of bedtime routine and then stay in your bed in place, but she would not go to sleep.

We're big believers in the you-can-lead-a-horse-to-water-but-you-can't-make-him-drink child rearing philosophy. We can make our child sit at the table during meal time, but we can't make her eat. We can make our child sit on the toilet before we go out, but we can't make her pee.

Apparently it applies to sleep too. We can make her go to bed, but we can't make her sleep. Once she figured out that she had to stay in her bed and be quiet, it was much more manageable, but mornings were horrendous. To the point where I got the daycare to shorten her nap in hopes that thirty minutes less nap would equal thirty minutes earlier to sleep. Yeah, right. Then we starting skipping breakfast. I'd roll her out of bed and into her clothes. We'd sleepily get her hair and teeth brushed and we'd stumble out the door to daycare. By the time we got to daycare she was awake enough to eat her breakfast.

I do blame a percentage of this no-sleep thing on the NHL...almost all of the Canucks games ended around 8:00...bed time...and our building is on a busy street near the Granville bridge. It got noisy outside our house. Especially when the Canucks won. J would get up and watch all the cars and celebrating folks. So, now that the playoffs are over, two months of disturbances pretty much every other night are over too.

Back to the no sleep. The other part of this is that Alex has been home in the evenings for a while and the last two nights he was on bedtime duty. Sunday night didn't go badly, but there was resistance from a toddler. Last night, I had to go out and you would have thought the world was ending. The same kid who runs sobbing down the hallway after Alex when he leaves for work at night crying "Daddy, don't go to work. Stay home. Daddy, don't go." was adamant that she wasn't staying with Daddy and only Mommy knew how to put her to bed.

A very tearful little girl walked me to the elevator and wailed all the way back to our apartment with Alex. What J didn't know was that I was just going to a strata meeting in our building, so I asked our next door neighbour when she arrived if she could hear J...nope. Thirty seconds after I left and all was well.

But I was convinced she'd still be awake when I got home just a few minutes after nine. Because it's been ten o'clock or later every night for the last two weeks. I opened the door very, very quietly and there was no noise. I tiptoed in and Alex appeared from our room, talking in his NORMAL voice. J had been asleep for over half an hour. Needless to say, this morning was very smooth, we had time for breakfast at home and J was in a great mood...

I don't know how he did it, but Alex is amazing. I'm now trying to convince him to figure out how he can be home EVERY night for bedtime...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Friend Makin’ Mondays: What’s in Your Fridge?

Yay to AndreaClaire for introducing me to Friend Makin' Mondays. Want to participate? Answer the questions below and then head over to Kenlie's blog and leave your link in the comments.

  1. List a few common items that can always be found in your fridge. Milk, yogurt, carrots, apples (except maybe in the summer), berries (when there are no apples), butter
  2. What kind of milk do you drink? I don't "drink" milk, I just use it for cereal and coffee and baking, but we buy 1%
  3. Do you prefer fresh or frozen vegetables? FRESH
  4. What do you currently have to drink in the fridge? Milk, white wine, grapefruit juice
  5. How often do you clean out your refrigerator? I wipe it out whenever something spills and then do the whole thing once a month. We try to buy in small enough quantities that things don't get hidden or go bad very often...
  6. What’s the healthiest thing in it right now? Some watermelon, blueberries, veggies for coleslaw
  7. What’s the most unhealthy thing in it right now? There isn't really anything "unhealthy" in the treats either. But there are some popsicles and ice cream in the freezer
  8. What do you wish you had in it that you don’t have now? Nothing. We're pretty well stocked. I could make dinner tonight without going to the store.
  9. How often do you shop for groceries? Usually one "big" shop on Sunday or Monday and then we pick up fresh meat, fishes and produce as needed throughout the week.
  10. What’s the weirdest thing in your fridge right now? A lavender eye pillow and some teething rings. No one at our house is teething.

Monday again?!

I'm not sure how the weekend went by so quickly...last week dragged and I was kind of hoping for a slower weekend too...oh well, four day week this week, so the weekend will be here soon enough!

I dusted off the cookbooks and we spent some time yesterday going through them picking things we'd like to try. We ended up with two weeks worth of planning! Yay! Now we just need to see what we do and don't eat this week and move things around next week. If we have lots of leftovers this week, it could mean we have the next week almost planned too...YAY!

Monday: Homemade chicken fingers

Tuesday: Tuscan Tuna & Bean Salad (from Dinner in Minutes)

Wednesday: Papaya Chicken with Rice & Peas (from Dinner in Minutes pg 83)

Thursday: Fettucine with Tomato, Basil & Sausage (Dad's Own Cookbook - guess who is making dinner!)

Friday: CANADA DAY - which means we'll come home and eat leftovers or eat out depending on what we end up doing...

Saturday: Salmon Cakes with veggies (from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution)

Sunday: Burgers - beef (probably premade) and black bean burgers (probably Emily's recipe)

Looking for more ideas? There are already over 100 over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Channa Masala awesomeness

36.32 Try 50 new recipes

I've been meaning to try this recipe that Jenna posted on Eat, Live, Run for AGES. [Go check it out because the picture tutorial is really good!]

It was sooooooo good. It was so quick. Both Alex and J ate it and J asked for seconds. Now, J wasn't going to eat it because "those are yucky beans" but when I told her they are actually called chick peas, she decided they were good. Because, you know, they're like chicken but they're peas but they're not green. Whatever, I'm not entirely sure how an almost 3 year old brain works, but please don't tell her they're also called garbanzo beans.

channa masala

I served it with brown rice, green beans and asparagus. J has developed an aversion to the tops of asparagus (which is okay with me, I like them) so she had just parts of the stem. She figured she had two kinds of asparagus which means she ate the green beans (see above: yucky beans).

I made three tiny modifications - I only put in about 1/8 of tsp of cayenne because I knew if there was more I would be the only one eating it. I used a 28oz can of tomatoes, by accident, but because our beans usually come in 19oz cans, not 15 oz cans, it needed the extra tomato. And there was no jalape├▒o in it because I didn't have one. I went shopping and forgot to get one so J and I stopped at the veggie store on the way home to pick up blueberries, but they don't carry them. I would definitely add it the next time.

I found that it made more than 4 servings (probably something to do with the extra 13 oz of tomatoes and the extra 8 oz of  beans) so J and I got to take it in our lunch and there is some left for dinner tonight too.

It was good. If J asks for seconds AND asks for it in her lunch, well, then a recipe is a keeper.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mega cross off

So, I get to cross items 5-17 off my organizing list for the 52 weeks of Organizing Challenge. Over a week and a bit I tackled the 13 shelves in our bedroom. We have a double closet and the Billy system from Ikea fit perfectly there. You can see them before we filled them here.


As a whole they looked pretty bad, but individually they turned out to be not as bad as I first thought….here they are in the order they appear on my list.

bookcase l1-5
Okay, not too bad….

bookcase l2-6
This one looks like it just needs straightening

bookcase l3-7
This one isn’t bad except what’s with the take out box? Turns out a gift came in it and the gift has since been relocated to its proper home.

bookcase r1-8
This shelf felt strangely empty…
bookcase r2-9
Books, candles, blue boxes, a piggy bank…

bookcase r3-10
More candles, random heart pillow
bookcase c1-11
So many books!!!

bookcase c2-12
J’s Christmas candy cane and her old shoes?!! The candy cane is on its way to the dump and the shoes have been stored with the rest of the baby gear.
bookcase c3-13
This shelf wasn’t too bad for random stuff – just that squirt bottle of hand sanitizer and a photo envelope. Hand sanitizer is back in my purse where it belongs and the photos in the envelope went to my sister who sent the back framed.

bookcase c4-14
This is where it started to get bad…this shelf is at arm level and apparently it attracts all kinds of orphaned stuff…batteries, exercise resistance bands, bags, receipts…

bookcase c5-15
And it continues….more bags…

bookcase c6-16
This shelf wasn’t too bad…mostly reference materials of some sort.

bookcase c7-17
And my magazines with some books form Alex’s dad. You can read about my magazines here and we donated the books, maybe to BC Cancer…

I tossed a total of about 20 books. Guys, that’s so many books for me. I was pretty proud of myself. I found lots of things that didn’t belong on the shelves…and many things that did. I also discovered a few missing things that I think my be in either J’s closet or the basement…like my Dictionaries and thesaurus. I’ve gone on a dictionary hunt a few times since we moved and always given up and looked whatever it was up online.

The shelves aren’t quite organized the way I would like – but they’re getting there. It does bug me that two of the top shelves have books piled two deep. I ended up with one shelf of family books – references like the What to Expect series, the Health books from our government, a baby name book, a what to do now that you’re a mom book, some toddler activity books, parenting books…that kind of thing. There is an entire shelf of journals. Most of them have never been written in. I have two and a half shelves of books that I haven’t read and one and a half shelves of books I want to reread and then decide if I want to keep them or not…I have a lot of reading to do!

Here’s the after shots. I wish I’d done some panoramics of the before shots…

after horizontal bookcase
after vertical bookcase
[clicking on the images, especially the horizontal one should give you a larger picture]

It looks so lovely that I lay in bed and stared at my books for a good 30 minutes last night!

On giving up…for now

I’ve been looking for the perfect coffee table for our place since we moved in – three years ago! I recently decided that what I had in mind was just not going to work for our little family right now and instead I’d go to one of the many thrift shops and find something solid and that would do for now. Interestingly the coffee table isn’t on my list of 101 things in 1001 days but most of the rest of the projects for our condo are…oh well…

This weekend was Father’s Day and my father-in-law’s birthday and we had Alex’s family over for cake and coffee. Probably when the cake came out and there was nowhere for anyone to put their plates, I mentioned that I had given up my search and would be headed to the thrift shop this weekend in search of something functional.

We got home last night to find a message from my father-in-law on our answering machine…he had been out at his favourite second-hand store (VV) and he found a solid oak coffee table for us. And two end tables. And they were cheap. And on top of that it was Seniors’ Day.

Tonight he arrived at our house with three tables. That he got for about $40. And now we have a coffee table. But I need some help with the end tables. One had a natural home. The other we thought might work as a bedside table but it’s too big. I’m a bit wary of putting it down in our storage room because, well, it’s damp. And wood and damp don’t go well together.

Here’s the before:

before coffee table1
before coffee table2
And here’s the after:

after coffee table1
after coffee table2

We’re getting rid of the sewing table between the chair and the rocking chair – it’s just too big. Does anyone see a spot I may have missed where the second end table can go? It’s the same size as the one between the two chairs….

There is actually a bit more open space in the living room now because I had to move everything a bit closer together and the living room doesn’t feel cramped…that’s a good thing, right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Week 24: Finish what you started

Like maybe this post?

I started this on Friday and here it is Tuesday and I'm just finishing it...the story of my life!

So, this week Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie said she’d be hard on us. She shared a story of The Bearded Iris who is having trouble finishing her projects and asked “Can you relate?” That's the question.


The tips? Finish what you started. Break things down into manageable chunks. Reevaluate and, if necessary, rewrite the list of 52 projects.

Can I relate?

Oh yes, I certainly can and I do.

And then I took out my list. Which I’ve now revised because, really, some of the things on the list were just too big and I’d start doing them and not feel like I'd finished everything. Some of those things I've started many times, almost finished many times and then never got around to actually finishing and had to start all over again.

I realized as I redid the list, some of the things were getting done but the reason they weren't being crossed of was because the project was too big. You'll see the shelves in our bedroom are all listed one by one. That's because it takes 5-10 minutes to do a shelf and I have a toddler. Sometimes I can do three or four shelves at a time and sometimes I'm lucky to get through one. But part of the reward (for me) is crossing something off, so I gave each shelf its own line. (There will be a post on those shelves soon because I'm almost done!) There are more than 52 things on my list right now, but that's okay. Because I still think they're entirely doable!

I also really need to take note of Laura's tip to have a box for things that belong elsewhere and to put them back at the end. I did that this weekend and it really made a difference in how much time I took to do stuff! YAY! With summer here (I hope) I don't want to spend too much time organizing my house...I want to go outside and play with J!

So my little goal for myself is to try to finish one thing on my list during the week and one on the weekend. I know it's summer and that might not always work, but I'll try...and if by some amazing chance I complete more than one, then I'll do my happy dance!

Oh, and if I need any motivation, all I have to do is look at my house. It fell to ruins during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I was really, really busy with the very important task of cheering on the Canucks. Last week when the time came to restore some order to our abode, the spots that I've already organized (like this one) took mere minutes to tidy. I want my whole house to be like that!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting back on track

The last couple of weeks have been a bit nutty where food in concerned - lots of hockey and lots of birthday parties. This week we're heading back to simple in hopes that we can start eating properly again. I actually got J to eat some very ugly green soup last night and vegetables have been hard to get in her recently. She inhaled her bowl and then downed a second helping. Tonight we had luck with the turkey sloppy joes. So it's not just me who is craving a return to good food.

Monday: Turkey Sloppy Joes

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Salmon Cakes with asparagus and green beans

Thursday: Channa Masala

Friday: Homemade pizza with Bop's pizza dough

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Slowcooker chicken (maybe this) if it's raining, grilled chicken if it's not

There's lots more ideas over at Org Junkie!

Friend Makin’ Mondays?

So, AndreaClaire introduced me to TWO new blogs today…because you know, my Google Reader was feeling empty…okay, fine, it wasn’t. But anyway, one of those blogs, All The Weigh, hosts Friend Makin’ Mondays.

So instead of posting one of the eighty-seven other things I thought I’d post today, I’m going to participate in my first Friend Makin’ Monday. I’ll probably post again later tonight (at least I’ll try to)…but you never know, this might be it!


FMM: Yes or No?

  1. Do you use coupons? Sometimes…but I’m realizing that coupons in the USA and coupons in Canada are two VERY different beasts
  2. Do you like football? Yes, but I didn’t like it until I went to an American high school 
  3. Are you in a relationship? Yes
  4. Is your phone always within arm’s reach? No, but it’s usually close
  5. Do you like thunderstorms? Yes, love them
  6. Can you cook? Yes
  7. Are you – or have you – lost weight? Yes
  8. Do you know how to read a map? Yes. Thank you Girl Guides!
  9. Do you wear makeup? Yes, sometimes
  10. Do you read regularly? Yes.
  11. Are you publicly affectionate? Depends
  12. Do you like picnics? Yes…if summer would come!
  13. Do you have a/c? Yes, by accident. But our west facing wall of windows needs it!
  14. Have you ever been out of the country? Yes, lived in three others and visited a bunch
  15. Do you know how to ride a bicycle? Yes

Well, that was fun. And easy. So I’ll likely be back next week! Yay!

Friday, June 17, 2011


Yesterday I woke up feeling sick. There was a dead, hard ball in the pit of my stomach and it wouldn't go away. There was a lump in my throat. I felt like I'd been sobbing all night, but I hadn't been. I felt like I'd consumed ten times too much alcohol, but I hadn't. I wanted yesterday to go away.

But my little girl made me smile when we were getting ready to go to work and daycare. She told me that the police were outside last night and it was okay because they look after people. Oh, and as an after thought she said so do firemen and ambulances. We hadn't talked at all about what happened on Wednesday night - she only saw one image on TV and we can't see downtown from our place.

But you see, they closed the Granville Street bridge heading into downtown and her window faces one of the on ramps. Through the cracks in the blinds she could see flashes of red and blue lights and she knew what they were. I heard the pitter patter of little feet running to the window, the clank of the blind as she peeked out, the pitter patter back to bed, and the groans of the springs and the toddler as she jumped back in, not wanted to get caught, multiple times on Wednesday night.

Instead of listening to the radio like we usually do in the mornings, we listened to Raffi and sang along at the top of our lungs. By the time we got to daycare, I was feeling better. By the time I got to my office, I had tears in my eyes. As I pulled away from the daycare, I turned on the radio to hear a live interview from downtown. They were interviewing one of the many marvellous people who decided to go down and help restore our city.

I wished I could have gone down to help clean up with J, but alas, downtown isn't close to my office. But in that moment, all of the embarrassment, disappointment, anger, and sadness that had overwhelmed me from the night before started to melt away.

Because we really are a city of good people. Because we have class. Lots of it. Because the rioters really were just a bunch of hooligans bent destroying anything they could and not really representative of Vancouver, BC or Canada. Because the newest generation at my house believes that those charged with protecting us will and on Wednesday night they showed that, without a doubt, they most certainly will.

As the day progressed the stories of the good samaritans, the heroes, started to emerge. The news reported that police had started making arrests and that people - friends, family, employers, acquaintances - were turning in the hooligans from the night before because, despite their relationship, they felt the hooligans' behaviour was wrong and deserved punishment.

And maybe the world wasn't really as horrible and I thought it was when I woke up.

And so, as a Vancouverite, I need to say thanks.

Thank you to the Vancouver Police Department and all the reinforcements from around the region, the Vancouver Fire Department, the BC Ambulance Service for bravely doing your jobs under stressful and dangerous circumstances.

Thank you to the volunteers who went out yesterday morning and reclaimed our city.

Thank you to the people who left the safety of their homes to defend their neighbourhoods.

Thank you to the good samaritans who risked their own safety to protect public and private property and generally protect our city.

A speedy recovery to our injured emergency workers and good samaritans.

Lessons? Our community is stronger than a few thousand thugs. Our community will band together when needed. Our emergency workers are amazing. Social media doesn't allow for much anonymity.

Tonight I'm going to bed with a much lighter heart.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What a nightmare

When I left my office yesterday, I was excited about the Stanley Cup Final. I knew Vancouver had a chance to win and I knew that Boston also had a chance to win. The cup wasn't coming to stay in Vancouver without a fight. And the Canucks just didn't have as much fight as the Bruins. And yeah, that was disappointing. It's been an incredible year with an incredible run in the playoffs and the Stanley Cup would have been the cherry on top. But it wasn't to be last night. So there's always next year.

We sat around the living room looking dejected and a small voice in the bath tub kept saying why aren't the cars making GoCanucksGo honks? Just to rub it in a little. J is disappointed that she has to wait until after she starts at her new daycare before we get to watch hockey again, but she'll get over when she figures out all the fun stuff that happens in the summer.

Then we heard reports of rioting starting. Already. The fans in the arena had barely stopped booing Gary Bettman. The Bruins were just starting their victory skate. The interviews hadn't really happened.

Not winning the Stanley Cup was disappointing and there may have been a few tears shed over that, but what happened next sickened me. I thought I'd put J to bed and then get on with life. But instead we put J to bed multiple times and stayed up way too late staring at the tv screen in disbelief. At midnight I packed it in. I was exhausted from the entire day. That was when we realized we hadn't seen any interview with any players from either team, except one from Henrik Sedin. And guess what, he certainly wasn't talking about the hockey game.

I hoped that the nightmare I watched unfold was just a bad dream and when I woke it would be over. Or it had never happened. Or maybe it was Wednesday morning again.

This morning there were idiots like this guy bragging about the horrible things they did last night.

stupid brock anton

Which at least was tempered by all the volunteers who went down to help clean up. Look, thousands!

facebook vancouver clean up

If I didn't have to be at work today, I'd be down there with them. This is my city and I don't want to see it destroyed or abused the way it was last night. I feel sick today. And sad. And I get upset and angry when I look at the pictures and videos...I've stopped. It's ridiculous. And yes, I wished we had won the Stanley Cup, but there's always next year.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


At J's daycare they teach the kids to say things like "I'm disappointed" when they're upset that it's someone else's turn to have a toy or a book or a turn on the bike instead of yelling or hitting or pinching.

Tonight, I'm disappointed. I hoped, hoped, hoped that the Canucks would win the cup tonight. But they didn't.

I'm more disappointed by the behaviour of the Canucks fans in downtown Vancouver. It only took minutes for fans to light cars on fire, break things and start fighting. AndreaClaire was here and we cried in our beer together. Now there are sirens racing past our house.

So instead of rioting, I'm going to read some bedtime stories with my baby and then organize my house and clean my kitchen and get some food ready for the rest of the week...

And it all comes down to one game...

...and maybe one goal.

A season that started on October 7, 2010 is ending, finally on June 15, 2011...that's a long time for hockey. It's pretty much summer now, even in Canada. But we're still playing (and cheering wildly for) a winter sport.

Regardless of the outcome of tonight's game, I am glad to see this craziness come to an end. It's been two months of elevated heart rates and blood pressure, gnawed off finger nails, ground down teeth, queasy tummies, late-night horns honking, lack of concentration and focus craziness.

Don't get me wrong, it's been spectacular! But I'm ready for normal (and hoping that normal now includes a Stanley Cup for the Vancouver Canucks). My daughter is ready for regular bedtimes - they have been few and far between since the playoffs started because we live on a major street and jubilant fans walk by cheering and drive by honking their horns. I learned early on not to fight this and now J hangs out at her window or sometimes on the deck and yells GoCanucksGo to them.

I am certain employers will be glad to have productive employees back...the early game times haven't affected me much because I start early and leave early to pick J up at daycare, but I know lots of people who have been leaving work half an hour to two hours early, pretty much every other day since April. That's a lot of missed time to make up...

And days like today, well, I know my mind keeps flitting back to questions of what will happen tonight...what if...what if not...

Seventeen years ago I was seventeen. I had been away at boarding school for the first part of the playoffs in a state where hockey isn't really followed. But my dorm mother graciously allowed me and the other lone hockey fan (who was cheering for Chicago...we made a deal, as long as our teams weren't playing each other, we'd cheer together) to watch our beloved teams in her apartment on her tv during study hall. I came home in time for the last two series. Our house was full of yelling, cheering, screaming people. I was at my friend Michelle's the night of game 7. It was heart wrenching, then heartbreaking, then devastating [I know, I know, first world problems] but we recovered. And the Canucks recovered. And seventeen years later, here we are again. It's not the same team, but it is the same team.

And so, I am leaving my desk now. Yes. Early. Yes, I'm blogging from work. Yes, my boss told me to leave over half an hour ago. [I didn't...I have to wait for J to wake up from her nap at daycare] I'm going home to cheer loudly for the Canucks with J and with AndreaClaire who is here to cheer all the way from Victoria. And we might venture into the party zone. And hopefully we'll have lots to be excited about. And tonight, tonight I hope the noise and honking and cheering lasts well into the wee hours of tomorrow. And I hope there is a parade for us to go to later this week.

So, boys in blue and green, please:
Play hard
Play safe
Play clean
Win it for the ones you've lost through these series and the late season - Samuelsson, Hamhuis, Rome, Raymond. Win it for the seventh man on the ice - Bourdon. Win it for the fans who have cheered for you since before they really understood the game. Win it for the fans who jumped on the bandwagon, drawn by the excitement and insanity of the playoffs. Win it for the guys of 1982 and the guys of 1994. Win it for yourselves. And your families. And your friends. Heck, just go out there and win it! I believe!

And fans, please:
Cheer hard
Cheer loud
Cheer long and late (or is it early)
Cheer respectfully
Ignore the Boston trolls and welcome the more respectful Boston fans [but let them know we're going to win]
Have fun
And please, please, please, no matter the outcome of the game, don't ruin our city or all the good feelings that have piled up and grown through this playoff run.

Mixed Up Menu Week

I planned my menu on Monday. Really. And I went grocery shopping. But the Stanley Cup Finals are happening and, who knew, that means life has been wholly unpredictable and strange.

This was the plan on Monday, updated today.

Monday: Nachos with taco meat, beans, salsa and homemade guacamole, coleslaw, chicken strips, homemade hummus with pita chips and veggies. Extras: beer, quesadillas, pb&j for toddlers who didn't understand why we weren't all yelling GoCanucksGo. By the time it was time to eat, we didn't want to but knew we should. Somehow it was the meat and the veggies that got knocked off the list first

Tuesday: Leftovers - sort of...I cooked the taco meat and we had slapped together quesadillas before going to the pool. Toddler wanted to know why there was no hockey tonight.

Wednesday: Perogies. Hockey play off food. Likely more nachos, maybe that coleslaw from the other night, more hummus and hopefully some veggies. Oh and probably beer. But it won't be salty from sad tears. I hope.

Thursday: Salmon Perogies with veggies and coleslaw (regardless of the outcome of tonight's game, I'm done with grocery stores for a few days...somehow I've been to the store every day this week)

*Friday: Homemade pizzas

*Saturday: Something quick for J and her sitter, out for me and Alex

*Sunday: Probably burgers for Father's Day but it depends on whether or not Alex's family is over...

*Subject to being totally tossed out the window for a Stanley Cup Parade

Next week, back to normal. For more (less wishy-washy, hockey dependent) menu ideas, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dear NHL and Boston Bruins fans - you suck

So, normally I wouldn't wade into the mud on something like this but I'm annoyed. I'm beyond annoyed. I'm disgusted.

DISCLOSURE: In case you didn't know, I'm a Canucks fan, as is my two and a half year old.

My Vancouver Canucks are in the Stanley Cup Final. But I'm ready to stop watching. There has been so much nonsense in this series, it's unbelievable. I'm not going to defend the Canucks or the Canucks fans - diving, biting and beer and peanut throwing are hardly positive attributes. Aaron Rome's hit on Nathan Horton was horrible. I felt so sick after that happened. While I find it hard to believe there was malice in the hit, I do think it deserved a suspension.

Boston hasn't been much better - hacking, sucker punching, blatant (unpenalized) cross-checks by the goalie, racial slurs to fans, a Boston restaurant telling Canucks players there's no food for them.

The officials, well, I think they have been downright horrible. The inconsistency is unbelievable. The non-penalty calls (anyone remember a puck being DEFLECTED over the glass that was called a delay of game?), the non-calls, the "this cross-check doesn't count, but the next one might" calls. And it's not like they're necessarily favouring one team over the other - I've seen things go both ways.

But what really got me was the hit last night on Mason Raymond. I'm not even talking about the hit, I'm more disgusted by what happened immediately after the hit.

First of all, hockey is about rivalry as much as it is about the game. But, in my experience, no matter where two teams are playing, when someone gets hurt, typically, the arena goes silent. Then when the injured player gets up and shakes it off, gets up and is helped off the ice or in the most chilling cases, is wheeled off on a stretcher, the fans applaud politely and players on both teams bang their sticks on the boards or the ice. They do not chant "flopper." Not only that, you can still hear them chanting after he's been on the ice for over a minute. Instead of clapping, they start chanting "Let's Go Bruins" and booing.

Secondly, where was the spinal board? WHERE WAS IT? When a player hits the boards like that a spinal board should be MANDATORY. One of the first lessons you learn in first aid is to NEVER EVER EVER move someone suspected of having a head, neck or back injury. Unless of course they are potentially in more danger if you don't - electrocution, falling trees, you know, things that weren't an issue in the hockey arena. My back has been aching in sympathy all day. I don't care who it was on the ice - Bruin, Canuck, who cares - injuries need to be treated with care. I sure hope that moving Raymond didn't injure him more or prolong his recovery time.

Third, back to those Boston fans. They are trolling the message boards and commenting on new articles and telling the Canucks to suck it. The Vancouver Canucks got what was coming to them and they deserved it. No. That's wrong. No one deserves to be injured like that. Horton didn't deserve to be injured on the play with Rome. While some Canucks fans didn't agree with the suspension (either the length of or the suspension in general), I didn't see any of them saying, good, Horton and the Bruins deserved that.

Fourth, Mike Murphy, you are so inconsistent and make the NHL look like a goon show. When you commented on the Horton-Rome incident this is what you said (from the Globe and Mail):

This has nothing to do with Rule 48. This is just an interference penalty, an interference hit. If it was immediate after he released the puck, it would be a legal hit. We have them all the time.


So the key components are: the late hit, which I had it close to a second late. We have our own formula at NHL Hockey Operations for determining late hits, and it was late. We saw the seriousness of the injury with Nathan on the ice last night.

That's basically what we deliberated on. We tried to compare it with some of the other ones in the past. But it stands alone. It's why we made the ruling.

So according to NHL rules it wasn't head shot and the suspension was determined by (1) a late hit and (2) the severity of the injury.

I'm not disputing the severity of the injury. A concussion is bad news all around. And the hit was late. Fine. Now you've set a precedence.

Let's now apply those same two rules to the Raymond-Boychuk incident. Which was (1) a late hit and (2) caused serious injury. I don't know when Horton will be back but four to six months is a long time and that sounds severe to me. Also, having experienced a fractured vertebra myself, I know it's a painful and difficult road to recovery.

But Mr. Murphy, instead this is what you had to say about that hit (also from the Globe and Mail): [It was an] awkward collision between two players battling for space/room. Come on Mr. Murphy, you suspended Rome for what you called a legal hit because it was late and there was serious injury. In the same vein then the Boychuk hit should warrant a suspension. I don't care how long, but suspend him.

I hate to jump on the conspiracy train, but some consistency would be nice. I won't even get into the Marchand pummeling of Sedin which resulted in a misconduct for Sedin and the resulting comment of "I felt like it" from Marchand (around 2:15). Or any of the other inconsistent circus side shows that have gone on (for both sides) in this series. There's all this talk about how the NHL wants to eliminate blindside hits and goonery, but it's just talk. This hit and non suspension prove that.

So NHL maybe over the summer break you can figure out a way to officiate the game in a fair manner. Because at this point, it looks like it might be more fair to let the teams police the ice themselves. And while you're at it, get a good, solid policy for using spinal board. Please.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Week 23: Command Centre Necessity

Okay, I’m not caught up, I think I’m at week 19, but I’m jumping ahead here…Maybe I’ll have time tomorrow to sort the rest out…


This week the 52 week challenge at I'm an Organizing Junkie was all about a command centre. I read about other people’s command centres ALL THE TIME and lament the fact that our house isn’t big enough to have one. Except. Um. Yeah. Here we go with the questions…I actually do have one!

Week twenty-three questions:

1. Do you currently have an area in your home for a command center?
YES! It surprised me! We do. It’s called the kitchen counter.
I cleaned it up back in February…before that it looked like this:

kitchen before
On good days it looks like this:

kitchen after
And it’s really our command centre. Over on the left are two binders (there are three now) – our kitchen book (which is really a manual for everything and anything to do with our home and our lives) and the recipe binder (now there are two recipe binders – one with everything we use and one of ideas to try). The basket holds phone and camera chargers, the letter opener, tape, scissors. The porcupine holds the pens and pencils. I have an idea of how I would really like this to look, but it involves using a piece of furniture we don’t yet own for the binders…so it will just have to wait a bit longer. I’m hoping by the end of the summer I will have done enough contract work that we can buy our wall unit...

2. Have you had any luck implementing any of the tips from my book, Clutter Rehab?

Maybe…I read it a long time ago and I’ve implemented a few things in it, so I think so…but I had to give it back to the library.

3. Have you been able to maintain the spaces you have already organized?

Yes. I just need to think about it and the maintenance doesn’t end up taking long. It’s so nice to get up to a more clutter-free home these days!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Boooo Boston...Go Canucks Go

Our apartment looks out over a main street. When the Canucks won tonight a few things happened.

1. We could hear a dull roar from the fans on the street across False Creek

2. Horns started honking and people started yelling.

3. J got very excited and decided this was the time to tell the world who her NHL hockey team is.

She stood at her window and yelled anytime horns honked or jersey clad people went past.

Somewhere along the line, she learned thumbs up and thumbs down and (mostly) used them correctly.

Tonight was unreal...I can't imagine what it will be like if the Vancouver Canucks win the Stanley Cup!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

It's Wednesday

Which means we're a lot closer to the weekend than we were on Monday.

I wrote a very lengthy post to the universe about the gong show that has been my day - you know, barometric pressure migraine, bed sheet laundering, toddler bathing, milk curdling, disappearing bike, and toddler-daycare-meltdowning all before 9:00 am (most of it before 6:45 am) - and then deleted it.

Because, whoa, way too much whining.

Tylenol and a latte with an extra shot calmed the migraine and fixed the caffeine deprivation brought on by the lack of uncurdled milk. The washer and dryer and Alex will ensure the sheets are ready to be put back on the bed before bedtime, the toddler is clean and has, by now, I hope, forgotten her bike was left at home and that I am horrible for leaving her at daycare.

The sun is shining. We've been whining about our extended winter for so long, it's good to have some vitamin D streaming down on us. It means the sun is out when I get up in the morning and J and I can play at the park for hours after dinner. It means summer is coming (I'll try not to whine too much about how hot our place gets) and summer is good.

And it's Hockey Night...I am hoping for a better outcome (on a few levels) than Monday night's GO CANUCKS GO...let's go into Friday's game up 3-1....

Monday, June 06, 2011


I'm supposed to be watching the Canucks game, but I can't watch...I've felt somewhat sick to my stomach since the first five minutes when Horton hit the ice. I don't care about the "was it late or wasn't it", the "was it a legal hit or wasn't it", I just hate seeing players not moving on the ice. I felt a little better when the CBC announcers announced that the Bruins said he was in hospital and moving all his limbs, but it was still scary.

And now I can barely watch the game. Which is probably a good thing since they're trailing 4-0. I'm hoping we'll tighten the score before the game is over and maybe win games 4 and 5...Stanley Cup win at home? YES PLEASE. [I can hear the's on in the other room and I keep dashing in to see what's happening]

I also haven't done a menu plan yet today because ugh. It's summer here finally. And our place faces due west. It's hot.

And I hate making food in the summer. So if you have any suggestions for toddler friendly, warm weather food, I'd love to hear them....please. Or we'll be eating granola and yogurt all summer.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Netherlands - The Garden Swing


Postcard from Nancepost from the Netherlands

Description: The Garden Swing. By courtesy of the David Shackleton Gallery, Edinburgh
PERCY TARRANT (d. 1934) painted figurative and genre subjects as well as contributing to several periodicals such as The Illustrated London News, The Quiver, Cassell's Family Magazine and The Graphic. He exhibited at several London galleries, including the Royal Academy, and lived in South London for many years before moving to Leatherhead and then to Gomshall in Surrey. His daughter, Margaret Winifred Tarrant was born in 1888 and due in part to his encouragement she followed in his footsteps by becoming an artist and a very successful illustrator.

United Kingdom - Kate Middleton and Prince William


Postcard from Firefly1971 from the United Kingdom.

Description: The marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Friday April 29th, 2011