Saturday, December 31, 2011

end of the year at last

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Merry antibioticfest - wishing me cleared sinuses, energy and an appetite for 2012. The rest of you? Enjoy.

Friday, December 30, 2011

friday forte: macro moment


macro workshop, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Today, I remembered that it's my turn to cook the festive meal so the Wee Guy and I cornered a roast at Thrifty Foods this morning. Plus eggs, dishwasher powder, and anchovies.

Then we went out for a short walk with mr ebb, and dealt with the Wee Guy's really tedious bad behaviour in which he pushes all of our buttons all of the time until one or other of us explodes. Fun times.

This week we're trying something a little different; we're trying to flood him with attention. It's exhausting. He's a really self reliant little guy who focuses 110% on his own activities and rarely announces boredom ... but he's really appalling when asked to make a transition or asked to do something he didn't think of himself or concede to parental rule ... which can be almost 100% of a child's life. So, we're wondering, with help from a Gordon Neufeld DVD, if there's something we can do to stop having our holidays and leisure time made so miserable by constantly having to walk on eggshells to avoid an outburst. So far, we've had various theories thrown our way, ranging from bad discipline (his doctor) through anxiety to an inability to accept futility. None of them come with any kind of practical advice for how to parent through this, and the more we hear, the more confused it makes the situation and the less we trust our own natural instincts.

He is a lovely kid. He's a feisty and opinionated kid. His reading skills are way ahead but his social skills are somewhat underdeveloped. He is imaginative, creative, and kind to animals. He gets easily overwhelmed and shouts. He has a strong sense of justice as it relates to himself. All of these easily describe his parents, which of course might be the root of the problem in the first place.

Fun times!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

self portrait thursday: oh my - where did the time go?

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How did this happen? Christmas holidays are nearly over, and what have I achieved? All my plans for tucking away some purposeful family and creative time seem to have been scuppered by a relentless cold. Any ideas for getting on with work, relaxation, bonding have bitten the dust because of zero energy, and the poor Wee Guy is vexing us with some truly appalling behavious issues which I suspect stem from being left to his own devices too much. Not so much a family holiday, and more like a family survival/endurance fest.

But while i'm itching to get back to normality so I can think i'm achieving something day-to-day (delusional), i'm also kind of pleased that i'm not coming apart at the seams with the enforced inactivity.

Progress? I think so :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

wordless wednesday: art in the afternoon


art in the afternoon, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

and so this was christmas ...

merry christmas


rose hips frost, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

A very merry christmas day to you, and all best wishes for 2012.

Blog posting will be sporadic (or verbose) until the new year! Thanks for reading and commenting and lurking during 2011 :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

things that are christmas: cake decorating, polar express, soap

This afternoon the Wee Guy finished decorating the cake by doodling over the icing with decorating pens. We've also made some melt-and-pour soaps, and finished the candied pecans. Listening to The Polar Express rounded the afternoon off quite nicely :)
Let Christmas commence!

things that are christmas: christmas eve tea

Eating cake beside the fire, cos I'm too sick with a cold to move!

Things that are christmas: NORAD santa tracker

Friday, December 23, 2011

friday forte: topsy turvy world escape

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I managed to escape this morning, courtesy of mr ebb, my U pass and the aquatic centre. After a brisk 800m swim (freestyle all the way, baby) in under 30 minutes (wow! I'm still fit?) I headed back in to PoMo to collect my unsolds from the Arts Centre (not many left - why thank you:) ). Quick stop at SHARE to snaffle the most adorable red velvet purse, then on to Caffe Divano to refuel and meet the boys.
This might be enough to get me through the next few days.
I'm sure there will be a lot of you who don't get it, but holiday times really aren't vacation for the at-home, work-from-home parent. I'm quite sure that some of you reading this will be wondering why i'm being such a whiney bitch about staying at home. A few of you have even told me your opinion (how enlightening). Whatever. It is still hard to pull the festive vacation relaxation spirit out of the bag when your life is based in, around and hardly ever away from the home. Housework, laundry, and so on never stop. Boys still need to be fed, and, in addition, your previously peaceful workspace is constantly filled with invaders who seem intent on just hanging around without clear plans. It's very difficult to get on with any projects when you have no idea how much time is available and who exactly is in charge of the child. I did let this creep up on me and felt really bah humbug shitty grinch at growling. Setting clear boundaries, especially at this time of year, seems mean-spirited and unfeminine, but it's essential for good mental health in the face of unlimited family access.
So, what are you, dear stay-at-home parent, doing to stop yourself going nuts in the face of 24/7 family festivity this year?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

things that are christmas: pud and ice cream

Making the christmas puddings and using the leftovder yolks from the cake icing in the strawberry ice cream :)

self portrait thursday: not running away to join the circus

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... and neither is he, by the look of him.
We're at River Market this evening, watching mr ebb getting to grips with a unicycle. So far, unicycle = 1, mr ebb = nil. I think he's having fun, and the instructor from Vancouver Circus School is egging him on.
Only three more sleeps till Christmas, four days into the holiday, and I'm feeling under siege with everyone at home. I wonder, as the stay-at-home parent, will it always feel this difficult to actually have a holiday? There is still the housework, the meals, and the laundry to accomplish, plus the provisioning, general/ domestic admin, in addition to The Festive Spirit. I am extremely lucky this year; mr ebb is performing the christmas lunch this year and has been off work since monday. He set the tree up then let the Wee Guy loose on it, suppervising loosely from ipad. I'm also dying to play with my super-duper new whizz fast computer, or at least unravel the mystery of why it keeps pronouncing my backup external hard drive as write protected (any ideas?). I need a few good uninterrupted hours to myself, and they're in short supply.
Right now, I look at my boys in holiday mode and wonder, "when do I get my turn?"
That's what I need to work on now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

wordless wednesday: then and now


Dr Sun Yat Sen Garden, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Dr Sun Yat Sen garden: then and now

From our visit to the Dr Sun Yat Sen garden in Vancouver's Chinatown - yesterday and eight years ago.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

terrific tuesday: Vancouver Christmas Market

Our family holiday treat, apart from having my boys home for two festive weeks (?), was a trip to the Vancouver Christmas Market today. We took transit in (oh, those green miles we've earned!) and walked through the warming winter sunshine to the market in the plaza beside Queen Elizabeth theatre. After getting even more of a discount on the cheap daytime rates (download a Lunch Pass from the website), we set about collecting stamps in our passport and fuelling up on delicious Bavarian yummies. The german noodles were excellent (even with the sauerkraut), and the wurst a big hit with the Wee Guy. For afters, waffles on sticks, a pretzel and some hot apple cider. Mmmm!

... and all for the price of an average sit-down meal for the three of us in our local restaurant! You see, this is where Vancouver falls flat on its arse - it's so bloody expensive here that festivals now cost one heck of a lot to put on, which in turn means vendors end up paying through the nose for booth space, and this of course is handed on to the punters. The reek of desperation to make a profit filled the air, at least that, I think, is why a lot of the vendors looked so grim.

Celebrating is not something that can be done cheaply here. The costs in this beautiful city are just too high and people are working too many hours to enjoy. Earning two incomes results in time-starved families. Vancouver is now so entrenched in the full worker model for families that anything and everything is geared towards those with two incomes these days. It's now virtually impossible to have a stay-at-home parent - the finances and job security just won't allow for it. So, with both parents working, Vancouver needs to lay on more of these quick fix celebratory moments, which of course will need a double income to be able to attend them ...

Not a very eloquent pondering, but I wonder how long this can continue?

Monday, December 19, 2011

midlife monday: chequered

Hmmm. A bit of a black-and-white theme going on here, or maybe it's just the settings on my Android camera app, Vignette?
In no particular order, lunch out at the Bobby Sox diner in Maple Ridge, played (and won) chess, hamster escape from wrap dress.
Also chequered, the Wee guy's moods and behaviours, my energy and confidence levels, my competence with various computer problems, my productivity on various projects.
Not so chequered - the lack of snow this week. Once the christmas bird is installed, let it snow (let it snow, let it snow).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

things that are christmas: marzipanning the cake

If marzipanning is a proper verb, that is.
Every year, my christmas fruit cake is a Simnel cake. In other words, it has a rich and gooey vein of marzipan cooked into the middle of it. Then it's wrapped in yet more marzipan before the final icing layer.
This tradition has survived emigration, but only just. Marzipan in this part of Canada is shit, pardon the expression. A sickly sweet paste of sugar, emulsifier and anything that can be passed off as almond. It leaves a repulsive greasy feel on the hard palate and a chemical after-taste that even a sweet sherry cannot remove. Blech!
Tracking down real edible marzipan took time. Luckily (and at a price) Meinhardt's on Granville supplied the goods one year and then (bless them), Sandra and Edmund opened the Swedish Bakery just round the corner from where we were living. Real, echt marzipan was within my grasp year-round (Princess Cake anyone?).
This year is also a swedish marzipan year, although we're now too far from the bakery to stock up. This time the marzipan is courtesy of Ikea, manufactured in Belgium. It gets my yummy seal of approval and yes, most of the two packs did make it onto the cake (mainly cos I bought three packs as a precaution).
So, one cake, liberally coated with peach jam then blanketed in marzipan, is now drying out for the icing stage in a couple of days when the Wee Guy will let rip with this year's best christmas snow-scene cake topper.
Stay tuned.

Friday, December 16, 2011

friday forte: feeling older round the edges

Not the most brilliant of times to contemplate contemplation, but today I'm feeling on the older side of midlife. My belly sticks out, my wrinkles are more prominent also, I feel frumpy and my waistline has morphed into my ribs. My hair is rebelling by showing my true age and my dress sense seems to have gone on vacation. I should also add that I have bronchitis so I both look and feel shit.
But enough about me!
Wait! This is supposed to be all about me.
Forte!
This would be a truly sublime moment to wallow deep in self pity, but I'm afraid the best I can come up with is regretting not remembering to record myself when my voice was at its squeakiest this afternoon. I'm sick so no wonder I don't have a very favourable opinion of myself right now. I am at a low ebb, tra la la, but it's not the end of the goddam world. Tomorrow I will wake up, a little healthier but still frumpy.
And then I might still be pissed.

Yes, that is the hamster in the pics. She uses me as a jungle gym most evenings and doesn't mind the frump :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

self portrait thursday: happy with my honey

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With mr ebb at Bright Nights in Stanley Park, waiting for our train ride with the Wee Guy. Happy and full of pasta after the works christmas party. This christmas seems a million light years happier than last year's. Not sure why, but maybe I've grown into myself a little more? Maybe he's grown into being with me a bit more? It's hard to say, but anyway - it's a wonderful life, to borrow a cliche.

But it's not all roses.
This year's Bright Nights is waaaaaaaay more commercialised than I remember. Though we haven't been since the petting (!) zoo closed down, the whole thing is busier, more crowded and less innocent than the Vancouver of old.

Sheesh! It's only ten years ago.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

wordless wednesday: that most festive time of ordeals


video

PS: i'm not really that much of a grinch ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

terrific tuesday: string theory revisited

beads and glass
nuclear physics modelled using mixed media :)

So, it looks like I should revisit my original post on string theory and issue an apology to CERN for suggesting an over-consumption of stimulatory baked goods.

This morning, two teams at CERN, ATLAS and CMS, announced that they have caught tantalising glimpses of the Higgs boson particle and now have evidence to work on an absolute proof. This is exciting for physicists everywhere, unless they are firm advocates of the Higgsless Model, but could see demotion from theoretical particle physicist to boring old proven particle physicist. Or is it a demotion to have your theories proven in your lifetime, I wonder?

There are many wonderful explanatory websites out there to explain exactly what the Higgs Boson, or goddam particle as it was originally termed in popular literature, does ... but I'll give it the same mangling as I did with string theory. Read on!

Well, I'm not a particle physicist (nor do I play one on television) so the best I can come up with is that for particles to have mass they need to possess charge, and the "only way"* that this can be explained is through the existence of the Higgs Field. As subatomic particles pass through the theoretical Higgs Field of charge they gather a thin coating of positive or negative rather analagous to swimming through a pool of treacle or taking part in a mud race (with thanks to wikipedia for leading me gently by the hand through all of this). As the particle moves it can gather more mass in the shape of charge, and it's the Higgs boson, an elementary particle, which is the proposed mechanism by which this charge sticks. So by finding the Higgs boson, the Higgs Field theory of mass acquisition and thus the last piece of the puzzle that is the Standard Model of Particle Physics will be in place. deep breath


Yes! As you can read from the above paragraph, I understand it less than I do string theory (which IMO made way more sense), but I do understand the almost childish air of scientific excitement reaching out across the scientific internet today. It is an exciting near-discovery. We all might get a Higgs boson for Christmas :)

*unless you go Higgsless, that is
PS: i apologise


Monday, December 12, 2011

midlife monday: the beautiful game

yes - the scar is the length of my middle finger;
the original lesion was smaller than the
nail on my pinkie!
"Yeh! Brilliant bloody game," I thought as I read my latest Facebook invite a few weeks ago.

Midlife is when, I've decided, that you really don't give a shit about offending people and you do take a stand against bullshit in the world.

My own brush with a similar "game" was almost 25 years ago, when, as a terrified young adult, I had a superficial malignant (yes, malignant) spreading (yes, spreading) melanoma removed from my left shoulder. And then I had it removed again as it was indeed spreading. It was sudden and painful and not what I would call a game. I had no choice about playing, and my appearance on Team Skin Cancer has left me with a 2.5 inch raised scar plus a lifetime position on the bench, wondering if I'll be recalled.
Fucking wonderful game - I hope I never ever get called to play again.

it's all behind me now :)

So, this latest "game" doing the rounds on FB is yet another version of the vacuous breast cancer meme which is meant to encourage us to check our boobs regularly. Friends urge friends to post mysterious status updates in this marvellous smut- and gigglefest, to tantalise and confuse other readers (mainly the men, who, it must be admitted, do get breast cancer and do need to self examine in that region). A couple of years ago it was the-colour-of-your-bra game (yes, the one which caused so much outrage and hurt in the post-mastectomy community); last year, the ubersmutty "I like it on the table/floor/postman" final resting place for your purse dialogue.
This year I've been lucky enough to receive two invites to the game.
The first was to label myself as a fruit according to my relationship status - there was nothing, not even turnip, to describe the amount of relationship stress and confusion I was going through at the time, thank you. I did note that eventually widows got to play along with a fruit for bereavement (how tactful) but still no option for 'do I throw in the towel after 18 years?'.
The second one hit my mailbox last week with an enthusiastic "let's play the latest breast cancer game ..." 
A.game.
What a great email that one must be to get on the evening of major cancer-related surgery.

And the latest humorous little gem is one which turns your status update into a pseudo-pregnancy announcement! Already, breast cancer patients are reporting that one coming on top of their own chemo-induced fertility tragedies. Again, tactful.

So - promoting breast health awareness is now making cancer into a game? or by titillation, sex and innuendo? Why not just ask your girlfriends to check their tits? Why not donate something, or take a meal round, or offer some childcare or, if you must, take part in Pinkwhitewash Marketing Month and buy a rose-coloured kitchen utensil?
Anything but coy, titillating, sexual, innuendo, ladies please!

Beautiful fucking game indeed!
PS: Friends don't let friends take part in such mindless crap - stand up and say something about this crass waste of time and sensitivity. I promise you, it won't make you friends and it won't be popular, but please take a stand (and then go get your boobs fondled).

SPT 25th October 2007
doing something practical about it all - self portrait and blogging about my mammogram
"i like it on the radiography plate" 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

migrainous blur

So, while the boys were skiing I enjoyed my free time with a full-on migraine.
Happy Sunday :[

ebb and flo by pomo mama design click to shop pomo mama design online!