Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Little Han Solo

I was looking at the ultrasound picture we have hanging on our fridge (the clinic here only gives you one tiny picture) and I've been staring at it and staring at it trying to think what it reminds me of. Han Solo. Yes, my baby is a charming space pirate frozen in carbonite. Well, not quite, but its really funny because it is a profile shot, and baby was head butting the camera (we could see it head butting and I could feel it) while she was trying to take the picture, and she just happened to get baby when his/her head was thrown back in mid-bump with its mouth wide open, and one hand raised in protest, in the same position that Harrison Ford is basically in before they unfreeze him in Return of the Jedi. Maybe this babe will be like me -- I have my mouth open in mid-sentence or joke in about half the pictures we have of me. We both learn to just shut up and smile already!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Finally finished!

I finished binding the edges of my quilt yesterday, so I thought I would show off my finished product. It is kind of ugly, I know, but I'm proud that I perservered through all the different steps and finished it. There are all kinds of little snags and errors (can you find the block placed upside down?), but for my first quilt, I think its pretty good. I don't know if you can see, but I tried to compensate for the vortex of terror effect (ie, the big empty black squares) by quilting spirals into them. I don't know if that lessened the vortex effect or emphasized it. I do like the black and white checkerboards, and its quite comfy. I tried it out this morning while I lay on the floor, semi-concious, watching my 2 year old play with his tractor at 5:30 this morning. Ah, the joys of parenting.

Do Not Immerse in Water

There should really be an label like this on apples. About a week ago, I carefully picked the apples off of the crab apple tree in the back yard. They are great baking / saucing apples, and I was excited about making some pies and some more apple butter out of them. But we had a lot of rain. Like, 5 days of straight rain. The apples were, unfortunately left out in a large, 22 gal tub, where they were immersed in water. Today, I was cleaning up the deck and tidying up the apples and I discovered, to my dismay, that apples do not do well when left to soak in water for a week. In fact, due to osmosis, any apple that is not just perfectly firm absorbs water until there is an equal amount of water inside the apple as there is outside the apple. Since this is usually more than the skin can contain, the apples burst, then quickly go mush and rot. All of my biggest, most beautiful apples that I was excited about making a pie out of are now gone. I had to throw away at least a third of my apple crop. And the ones left on the tree have been eaten by all the migrating flocks of birds. Apparently birds feel no need to eat the whole apple. They simply gouge large trenches in them and then move on. Once more, my attempts at being an earth mother - type gardener person are thwarted by mother nature.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Its a Conspiracy, I tell you!

Since I got back from vacation, my computer has been PLAGUED with pop-ups. I have been spy/adware scanning my computer every day, I have upgraded to a new yahoo tool bar, I have added the Norton Anti-spy-wear icon to my stupid new yahoo toolbar and STILL, I can't go online without getting the same 4 pop-ups slowing down my attempts to use the internet. It is so annoying.

I went to the yahoo pop-up blocker question thing where it says "Why am I still getting so many pop-ups" and the #1 reason, apparently, is because people who design pop-ups are always trying to outsmart people who design spyware and vice versa. Which leads me to the question: how do we know they are not one and the same person?

I'll bet its just a conspiracy. Think about it, you make pop-ups so annoying and insistent that none of the free spyware and pop-up blockers will work anymore, so you have to BUY something more heavy duty -- that is probably designed by the people who also made the pop-ups. So, since they know what can and can't be blocked by that program, they make new pop-ups that get around that program, so you have to buy ANOTHER program . . . and on and on it goes.

I really wish it would stop, because I don't want to play online poker, nor am I excited that I was person # 4576893749674 and that I have WON (every time I access the internet I have apparently struck it rich) nor do I want to rate Steven Harper. I just want to be left alone. Its worse than telemarketers. At least I can just stop answering my phone. By the way, always leave a message -- I don't answer my phone anymore.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

You Can Never Cross the Same River Twice

Although Munstrum Ridcully disputes this assertion, I must say that I have found it to be true in the last few months. ("Well, Archancellor, you can never cross the same river twice" "Don't be ridiculous, Mr. Stibbons. This is a bridge.")

There is nothing quite so strange as going back to places where you used to live. There is this sense of everything being familliar, almost as if no one even noticed you were gone. And then there is this contrasting sense that you don't quite recognize things -- they are not as real as they used to be. It is like when you are dreaming (okay, when I am dreaming) and you go to "your house", only its not really your house. But for the span of the dream it is familliar and you know it like you know your own house. Your feelings say "of course this is my house", but your head says "this is not what my house looks like at all". That is the kind of disconcerting feeling I got when I was driving through Thunder Bay.

The strangest thing about Thunder Bay is that, other than my parents, and a few of my nieces and nefews, no one who I knew as a teenager still lives there. All my friends from highschool have moved to Toronto or New York or Sudbury or Somewhere Else. My old highschool has been turned into a satelite campus for the local university, one of my elementary schools is now a care home and another has been torn down. My parents don't live in the same house, or even in the same part of town that I grew up in. All the things that drew me to Thunder Bay, and made it an important place are gone.

And yet, I felt the urge to drive down Court street and see my old house and neigbourhood. I went to the Hoito for breakfast and had the same Finnish pancakes I used to have. I even got a parking ticket there (a typical Jill happening). I wandered around Hillcrest park and looked and the Sleeping Giant, right above the old house where I spent my childhood. I bought Persians to share with my friend Lisa. I longed to go to Merla Mae for their home made soft ice cream (the first soft ice cream in all of Northwestern Ontario) and wander through the Comic store below my friend Lisa's last appartment before she moved out of town. I wished I had been able to bring a loaf of bread down to the marina to feed the seagulls with my son. The feel and taste of the place were comforting to me, recently relocated as I am.

I felt young again and I remembered who I was when I left at 18, full of the beauty of the universe and confident in my own ability to do anything I chose. A young woman who had never second guessed herself or, for that matter, thought before she acted on most of her impulses. The authour of a hundred ridiculous adventures that I shared with my friends, mostly involving 7-11, hamsters, pay phones, hats, a small red Toyota Corolla and a crowbar named Allouicious.

I smiled, and remembered all my antics. And my friends. And that 18 year old who was so full of adventure and fun. And I was a little bit sad.

I am glad that I think before I act and (usually -- really Nonie, I do) before I speak. And that I have learned to control my impulses a tiny bit. And that I moved beyond Thunder Bay. I can never go back, never cross that same river. But I can still taste and hear and smell the things that bring me back to that river. And once in a while, for a short time, its a good thing to do.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Finally Home For Real!

I have returned from my mad dash to Thunder Bay and Sudbury this week. All I will say right now is that it is not a good idea to travel alone with a 2 year old while pregnant. Especially if you ride a total of 8 planes, have 4 stop-overs (three of which are over 2 hrs long) and only have one to 4 days in between these jaunts. Especially just after security has become so tight your bags get constantly searched for "dangerous" items such as diaper cream -- I seriously had a security guard confiscate a 2oz tube of Burt's Bees diaper cream (98.3% natural; 1.7% explosive?) -- and your stroller must be swabbed for "substances that could be harmful to the safety of the flight" (that's a direct quote) at EVERY security depot. Especially if your toddler is fighting any form of restraint and screams every time you must hold him for a plane to take off or land. Especially if . . . well, lets just leave it there, shall we? I really do try to make this an interesting and amusing blog, not just a place for me to whine.

More reflections on airports and going "home" to follow on better days.