Little Shop of Horrors

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As if facing the hated shopping trip for undergarments wasn’t enough to tax the stalwart, in less than a week, I also forged into bathing suit territory with iron determination to come out with my dignity intact.

You may be thinking…didn’t you just buy a bikini last year? Yes, I did! And it’s perfect for swimming in my Mom’s pool. My parents have said they’ll love me no matter what, and I have already scarred my kids for life. I mean, they were doomed from the moment they were conceived. But this year we’re going to a beach where I can only assume will be covered with half-starved babes with perfect hair in brightly coloured, postage stamp-sized lycra. And where there are beach babes, there will be men of all ages lusting after them. Hopefully not also wearing brightly coloured, postage stamp-sized lycra. [shudder]

“I feel attractive in a bathing suit”, thought no woman ever. “Let’s go bathing suit shopping” said no woman ever. Not unless she is suffering the serious side effects of starvation. [If this happens, feed her immediately!] No woman enjoys the experience of stripping nearly naked in a tiny cubicle with unkind lighting and multiple mirrors. Something happens once we cross the dressing room threshold and close the door. Our femininity transform into something troll-like and our confidence puddles around our ankles. A dainty gazelle becomes a floundering hippo. No amount of chocolate can truly soothe the bruising our self-esteem takes when the (unrealistic) image we have in our mind of how this beautiful item will look on us, is crushed like a spider with a shoe. It’s a swift slap that stuns and stings. Long after we’ve left the dressing room.

Monday morning, I ventured into the store minutes after it opened. Fewer witnesses to see me sweating through my dress. The 12 year old, size 0 store clerk was cheerful and not pushy, which I appreciated. I browsed…and left the store. Baby steps.

Bathing suit stores are Little Shops of Horrors.

An hour later.

After some deep breathing exercises, I returned to the store, much to the surprise of the store clerk, and bravely explained my concerns. I need support! Moral and for the girls! Since it’s the beginning of July, most of their stock is gone [winter stock is on its way], but the store clerk earned her pay pulling a few suits that were close to my size, and whisked me to the back. They were all black [except one that made me look like an obese worm].  I guess black is slimming?

I tried her first pick, a tiny black number that required 3 tiny hangars. My inner babe had high hopes. This suit was cut as an “X” and looked amazing. On the hangar. Instead, it was amazingly difficult to figure out. Once the hangars were removed, I was confused. How am I supposed to wear on a slingshot? Which strap went where, and why isn’t that covering there. Suddenly an albino hippo was oozing out around the waist. Other things were oozing out too. It got so ridiculous, I actually laughed out loud. I think I scared the little clerk hovering beyond the blue curtain. I know I scared my sexy inner babe! She may never be seen again!

There was also this:

Gondor

After nearly half an hour of sweating, grunting, moaning and elastic snapping, I did find a simple black suit that will do. That was the good news.

The bad news? I cheated with Henry again. And I enjoyed it.

Happy Weekend!

 

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Limoges

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There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy’s life that he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure. – Mark Twain

Limoge

The soil round Limoges was rich in kaolin and feldspar deposits, two clay minerals essential to producing porcelain. In 1665, a chemist’s wife living in Limoges, experimented with kaolin, hoping to improve her soap products. By 1771, Limoges, one of the oldest towns in the French kingdom, began constructing facilities with wood burning kilns for the production of fine porcelain. Hand painting was done by artists.

Limoges products are recognized as high quality porcelain, and greatly valued by collectors.  True Quality Limoges pieces were produced between the late 1700’s and the 1930’s. Pieces produced post-1940 are less valuable.

I was not able to determine a production date for it, so though the saucer has yellowed slightly, I have don’t know if it’s a result of age or was simply designed to look old. My Dad picked up this Limoges tea cup and saucer at an auction. Perhaps he’s found a hidden treasure.

Happy Monday!

What’s In My Cup: O Canada

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Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, Apparently, from shore to shore, Canadians are drinking more tea, says a 2016 Coffee Association of Canadian survey and a 2013 Nielson study found the average Canadian has 8 different varieties in their pantries. I have over 55. With tea boutiques selling loose leaf in a range of flavour combinations, popping up in cities across the province, and retailers stocking their shelves with more, it’s not hard to do.

So in the spirit of tea and country, I shared a pot of Canadian Breakfast tea with my Mom…in the afternoon…even though it was 33C degrees…in the shade (only 46C with humidity). No heat wave will ever spoil a tea party, especially one for Canada’s 151st birthday!

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Canadian Breakfast tea is just one flavour offered by Nourishtea, a company that believes in providing organic (as much as possible) and supports estates that are sustainable, ethical and abide by fair labour practices. Canadian Breakfast tea is an orange pekoe tea from Sri Lanka, and is Kosher, Organic, and Fair Trade Certified. It had the robustness expected of a “breakfast” tea, with it’s own unique malty flavour that can be intensely satisfying at any time of the day. This particular tin was a gift, and it can be purchased though it’s website or on Amazon.

In my (tiny) bit of research, I discovered a new tea company, Canadian Boreal Wildcraft Tea Co. operating in Manitoba. Apparently it produces a handful of blends using pine needles, sage, sweetgrass, rose hips, fireweed, and barks, grasses and clover all found in Canada’s boreal regions.  It is devoted to respecting the land providing this bounty. That may not be a uniquely Canadian perspective, but it’s certainly one I could support. They only sell wholesale now, but I’ll keep an eye for them!

Whatever the reasons Canadians are setting aside their double-doubles for tea (perhaps it’s our long, cold winters?) – I’m in!

Happy Birthday Canada! Cheers!

School’s Out

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Yesterday, at exactly 11:35 a.m., a unified shout erupted from every school in the district. At least one teacher collapsed in a sobbing, heaving pile of joy. School’s Out For The Summer.

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks! – Alice Cooper

Today, elated teachers are roaming empty halls that smell like gym socks, dazed and confused. And who could blame them? They’ve earned their rest. Parents are roaming around a home that houses those smelly gym socks, wondering how to fill 9 (count them again)…9 weeks of summer. Little Guy is starting his first full day of summer going to work with me. Good times!

I love the end of school. No more lunches to pack (or mouldy lunches to unpack). No more running back to the school because “I forgot my [insert item] in my locker or [insert item] at home. No more trying to decipher project instructions, expectations and deadlines based on the mutterings of my child, who is also clearly dazed and confused…

…like the lunch box project. Design a lunch box with 3 compartments: one for hot, one for cold, one for liquids. It must be able to hold a minimum of 500ml and maximum volume of 12,500 ml, and have an interesting shape. Research the materials used for a bunch of science-related jargon. No Styrofoam. Must transport as one unit.

Little did we realize that a few weeks after completing this, there was another portion of the project. Build a prototype to scale and test it. Most of the materials he used were great resources for what he was doing, but were not things you can simply pick up at Home Depot? He had to redesign it, and fast! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find excessively large pieces of blank cardboard and how many man-hours it takes to build, paint, insulate and line three 3D pentagons?

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It wasn’t rocket science…but it kinda felt like it!

…or like the self-portrait mosaic. Talk about a bomb going off in the living! It was less than half complete and due in the morning. And he needed to cut tiny bits from glossy magazines. I had to dig through piles of crap to find one. It was a fitness magazine I bought when he was 2 and I still believed I would wear my red jeans again. I never read it. The red jeans are only a bittersweet memory. By the time he was done, my living room looked like this…

…and no one had the desire to touch it before bed!

Then there was the time he accidentally deleted 3 weeks worth of research and didn’t realize he was at fault…4 days before the massive project was due….

Or the hours researching earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand. Or the hours practicing music from Annie.

Little Guy rounded out the year by disappearing on the second last day. After nearly an hour and a half of frantically driving between the school and home, leaving messages on the machine, praying fervently, talking to teachers and finally calling the police, he saunters in. He inexplicably went home with some kid to record their dance homework.

What kind of teacher assigns homework on the second last day of school?

While I hate to see the years flying by, yesterday I was cheering from the car. School’s out for the summer! Good riddance, Grade 7. Let the good times roll!

Happy weekend!

 

Lemon-Aid

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It’s true, people. In certain parts of the world, if life hands you lemons, don’t make lemonade. At least not if you intend to sell it without a permit.

Who doesn’t like a lukewarm, yellow glass of “acerbic wine” in a sticky plastic cup on a hot summer’s day, poured by a muppet with a runny nose? Some traditions are iconic and unless you posses a heart of stone, you will buy it and choke it down with a polite smile. Lemonade stands have long been an tradition for young entrepreneurs saving for sports programs, supporting charities, or pocketing it for personal gain.

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Recently, a granddaughter of a friend organized a huge yard sale to raise money for 15by fifteen, and she put her sisters to work running a lemonade stand. Not only did she meet her goal (and has plans to double it), she didn’t get hit with a fine. Some fines are as high as $500.  A 5 & 7 year old in Canada’s Capital, saving for camp, also avoided a fine but were still shut down. That was due in part because of where they lived. According to the National Capital Commission Traffic and Property Regulations, “no person shall sell or offer or expose for sale any drink, goods or wares,” without written permission from the National Capital Commission to do so. Sour pusses!

But Country Time (owned by Heinz Kraft) strongly supports street corner stands and have formed a Legal Ade Team dedicated to help pay fines in 2017-2018, and to obtain permits for kids for 2018.

“Life doesn’t always give you lemons, but when it does, you should be able to make and share lemonade with the neighborhood without legal implications. – Legal-Ade
Summer is here… so if you see a sweet and sweaty pint-sized proprietor at a Lemonade Stand, don’t let them lose their zest. I encourage you to take a supportive stance and enjoy a sip!
Go Squeeze the day – Happy Wednesday!

It’s the Weekend

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I can almost feel myself losing weight. Oh, not the kind that is bunching up around my hips and around my bra straps. Or my chin. Or arms. Or…well, you get the picture! I’m talking about the mental weight of worrying about stupid things, like,

  • Where am I going to live when I get old? After all the Halloween costumes and school projects I’ve helped cobble together for 2 boys (who didn’t attend school concurrently), I can probably cobble together something with cardboard, duct tape and plastic grocery bags. Big Guy has a balcony – if I sleep standing up, I’ll be fine.
  • When am I going to have time to finish this project, renovate that room, or buy lettuce at the grocery store? It doesn’t matter. No one has died because I never finished crocheting that tablecloth. No one is losing sleep because their bedroom is yellow instead of blue. And no one has starved to death on my watch. If I focus on the most important things, they will get done. And some that are left until later, or perhaps never done at all, probably won’t be remembered. The time spent with friends and family will be.
  • Will there be photos of me on display one day at my funeral, where I look like the Marshmallow Stay Puft guy from Ghost Busters? Yes. I just won’t ever purchase a sailor suit. I’m doing my best to keep my weight down (but it keeps bringing new friends to the party)!
  • Who is going to change my diapers when I get old? I’ll probably be in them long before I’m old and research suggests that after only 21 days, you can form a habit. By the time I’m old, I’ll be functioning on muscle memory and it won’t be an issue. Unless I’m on Big Guy’s balcony.
  • What will happen if I lose my job? Since an alternative career option has presented itself twice already, there’s a good chance it will happen again. Or I can work at McDonald’s. Even completely senile I am confident that I could do a better job, with a smile on my face.
  • When will I die? Who cares?!?! Every day is a gift! You’re still breathing right? So grab Henry (O Henry) and get out there! Maybe get dressed first.

It’s the weekend-make it a good one! I’m already way ahead of you!

O Henry Bar Wrapper

What’s In My Cup: Tumeric Gold

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Tumeric is a perennial flowering plant in the ginger family. When dried and ground,  it can be used to dye fabric or season food. This spice is acclaimed for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can be used to help treat toothaches and colic, and may help in the prevention and treatment of depression, heart disease, and some forms of dementia.

What’s In My Cup: Tumeric Gold by Pukka Tea. It contains tumeric root, wild jade green tea, licorice root, cardamom pods, lemon and lemon verbena leaves. This tea had a warm, peppery flavour (with that undertone that comes with green tea) and an aroma of earthy mustard, But best of all, that fabulous golden colour.

All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. – J. R. R. Tolkien

Happy Monday!