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Archive for December, 2007

It’s Been Fun

The kids have been off school for a couple of weeks, and I’m reminded again of how good it feels when we’re all together during the holidays. No schedules, no commitments, no rushing off to diving practice, no feeling the pressure of having to accomplish anything, everyone so relaxed. The kids were so excited about our little family feast project, and it morphed into a 2-day affair, what with the planning and slow, careful meal prep. When do we ordinarily have 2 whole days to commit to an idea like this? Well, the Littles and I do, but it doesn’t happen so often with the big kids anymore. It’s been nice having them home.

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Making ravioli was trickier than I thought it would be. It took us hours. Mostly because of ineptitude with the dough squeezer flattener. The dough kept ripping and getting all bunched up in the machine, and we had to throw out a batch or two until we sorted out the correct ratio of flour/water/oil for maximum flexibility and strength minus the stickiness. We had Tee turning the handle while I fed in the dough, and R cradled it as it came out. Jay and her friend M kept up constant critical commentary from the sides. After we mastered the dough rolling, the actual ravioli stuffing was even trickier, and we ended up with many under-filled pockets. Still, we ended up with actual homemade ravioli, so it was a resounding success.

The trifle was a huge hit too. Looks like New Years Family Feast is a tradition in the making…

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I Hope

When 11-year old L started grade 6 at school in September, she went through a several month period of fussing with her hair and worrying about her clothes.

I remember groaning inwardly, bracing for what I thought was the beginning of years of teen girl-hood, and mourning the loss of my little rough-and-tumble tomboy. Not so much sad to see her grow up as sad to see that she was starting to be self-conscious, and, truth be told, a bit worried that this strong, opinionated girl would have her edges honed off in the crucible of peer culture.

Here we are, though, 4 months into the school year, and she’s still the same kid. Still strong, smart, and funny. Not so into her hair anymore, much less concerned about her oufits, the only girl in her grade playing soccer with the boys at recess, and as loving and expressively affectionate as always. Her teacher says that “she can stand up for herself” and that she’s a vocal protector of the younger, weaker kids in her class.

I thought about this today, because of what I noticed while we were skating. L was wearing black hockey skates, and was actively, vociferously participating in our rough game of hockey when 4 girls exactly her age came onto the ice, wearing white figure skates and fashionable winter outerwear. L knows these girls, but I was pleased to see that their presence didn’t stop her from playing just as vigourously, or screaming just as loudly as she was doing before they got there.

So, a short letter to my girl (and all the other 11-year old girls in the world):

I hope you never have to feel angst over being who you are, or doing what you want. I hope you always feel strong enough to show your love for your family. I hope you’ll always stand up and say what you think, no matter who’s listening.

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Family Feast

Went for a nightime skate today, and it was fun, fun, fun! Played shinny hockey, to the best of our limited and varied abilities, and then came home for hot chocolate.

Next on the agenda is our Gourmet Feast.

Big bro R has the menu planned out. I’ve already done most of the shopping. Tomorrow we begin by making some of the items ahead of time, and then Sunday we finish up, and EAT!

We’re having spanakopita, olive bread with balsamic vinegar/garlic oil dipping bowls, spinach/mandarin orange salad with poppy seed dressing, ravioli stuffed with roasted garlic and three cheeses and smothered in tomato sauce, with a berry trifle for dessert.

We’re making all of the items from scratch, including the pasta, so it’s definitely going to be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, as well as complete chaos, but it’ll be fun. R is walking up to our local Italian specialty deli, to pick out the cheeses and olives, and L says that she’s the head of the Decorations Commitee. Jay wants to be a sous-chef, and Tee wants to be R’s right hand man.

 I don’t know quite what transformed my eldest son from the world’s pickiest eater to a lover of fine food, but when I asked him what he wanted to do over Christmas, this was what he came up with. Works for me!

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Carving Out Time For Me

I’ve made a bold move.

I signed up for a 10 week Ashtanga yoga course that is held 9:30-10:30 Monday mornings. Which means I’ll be bringing Tee and Jay with. They can bring a book to read, or try out some of the poses, but either way, we’re doing it. Up until now, I’ve reserved the mornings exclusively for “school”, so this is a bit of a departure, especially because it’s something for me, not them. I know, not such a big deal, but it feels like one for me…..

I’m officially giving up my martyr status.

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Courage

pink.jpgI’d like to think that I would have done the same when I was in highschool, but I doubt it.

Travis Price and David Shepard, two grade 12 students who live in rural Nova Scotia, organized a school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a grade 9 boy who was being bullied.

The boy being targeted was new to the school, and had worn a pink polo shirt on his first day there, prompting a group of bullies to taunt him, call him “fag”, and threaten to beat him up. So Mr. Sheperd and Mr. Price headed off to a local discount store, bought 50 pink tank tops, and stood in the foyer of their school, handing out the shirts. The bullied boy walked in, and according to Mr. Price, “his face spoke volumes. It looked as if a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders.”

The bullies were never heard from again.

A small gesture, perhaps, but a truly courageous one, and I’m sure it made an enormous difference in the emotional life of the targeted student. Seeing two of their fellow students stand up for a victim, and witnessing the results were probably the most important lessons any of the students at that school learned this year.

Bravo!

(from the Globe and Mail)

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Old News

How did Canadians spend 2 billion dollars last year? On Boxing Day sales. A quarter of the population spent their day off work…….shopping.

(CTV.ca and Visa Canada)

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