Friday, June 30, 2006

things I love about summer

is there anything nicer than the sound of the swaying leaves of a majestic 100 year old willow tree?
even better is lying on a blanket under that willow tree, staring up at it's beauty.
even better than that, is lying beside your two favourite people and experiencing it together,
as though you had all the time in the world...
So lying under a willow tree on a warm June day with my little family is # 1 on my list of my absolute favourite things to do on a summer day...
what's yours?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

parsley from the past

after recovering from the meat-fest-out west last week,
we have been on a veggie/seafood kick since returning home.
my colon is lovin' it.
It feels good not to eat so much red meat.
we usually only eat meat on the weekends, it's kind of a treat.
that and steak goes sooo well with a good bottle of Rodney Strong 2002 sonoma county merlot.
(looking forward to cracking that on Friday) and I usually only drink wine on the weekend.
with the exception of the "teething times"
which I guess you could say has been for the past 5 months.
which would make me an...alcoholic...kidding.
but seriously, I do try to "abstain" from vino during the week,
not very Euro. I know.
but in the never ending quest to slim down I'm trying to avoid the extra calories.
but back to the chow.
I absolutely love Mediterranean food.
loads of flavour, and really healthy.
I once worked in a Lebanese restaurant when I was in high-school,
my nickname during that summer was shwarma.
the wife of the owner used to come in covered from head to toe, and I remember being in awe.
(I was 16 and from a small town, so this wasn't something you saw everyday.)
she didn't say much, mostly because she didn't speak English and she was pretty busy watching out for three small boys.
But I remember catching her sneaking a cigarette one time.
It was strange to see her lift her veil to have a drag of a duMaurier.
For some reason that image has always stuck with me.
that and the scars on the chefs arms that I saw once.
(he and his family fled Lebanon to come to Canada for a better life.)
I never asked how he got those scars.
but they were realllly bad. so I can only imagine. I still get shivers.
I remember teaching him how to write and speak in English,
and he taught me how to write my name in Arabic.
My name (with a different spelling was actually Arabic) who knew?
surely not my third generation/canadian/irish/english parents. Kewl...
I worked at that place for a summer.
It turned out to be a pretty good learning experience.
besides being exposed to an entirely different culture other than my own for the first time,
I learned how to make a mean tabouli salad, fattoush, kebabs, shwarmas and shish tawook.
extra sumac please. such a tasty spice.
I'd rather go out for falafel, no deep fryer in my kitchen.
not too big on grease smells.
I think I could eat Tabouli every day.
actually I did for an entire summer and shish tawook my personal fav.
so delish.
I think I was a whopping 100 lbs. back then (if that)
maybe I should go on the tabouli only diet...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

party of one

big daddy and I had the talk over the weekend.
only child or siblings?
we are both leaning heavily in the only child direction.
who knows?
maybe we'll change our mind, but when we look at the advantages to just having one child,
they seem to outweigh the disadvantages.
I'm always amazed when I hear other women say that they loved being pregnant.
I'm thinking "am I crazy? but there really wasn't anything I LIKED about being pregnant."
chronic heart burn, excruciating back pain.
I had "round ligament pain" from about 4 months on.
For those of you who don't know what that is, consider yourselves blessed.
I got fat(ter).
32 lbs total. on a 5'1 frame...I felt like a cow.
sex. let's not even go there.
the first 14 weeks were like a never ending hangover-without the night before of reckless fun.
no wine, brie & goat cheese, sashimi or carpaccio for almost a year!
all of my favourites.
the moving and kicking inside my ribs-and god knows where else.
okay that part I didn't mind so much, but it was kinda freaky and sort of felt alien-like.
but reassuring nonetheless.
then there's the piece du birth.
I don't know who ever coined the phrase "you forget the pain" but they must have been heavily into the sauce,
because I WILL NEVER forget that pain.
was it worth it?
would I willingly do it again?
I can't imagine.
nor do I really want to.
so at risk of sounding like a selfish and wimpy person,
the prospect of being pregnant ever again, is more than a little daunting.
there are lots of other reasons that either of us isn't too crazy about the concept of more than one child,
aside from the physicallities of actually popping one out.
we have a small house and don't really want to have to move.
much easier to travel. which is something we love to do.
One is so much more manageable and affordable.
I'm no spring chicken, already 35 and IF we ever had a second, I would like to have at least 3-4 year gap between kids. making me almost 40.
Not sure if I'll be up for a newborn when I'm 40.
(though two very goods friends just had babies in their respective fourties, so it is possible but for me, who knows??)
Things are finally starting to feel somewhat "normal" again.
well maybe not normal, but a tad less frantic and insane.
I don't know if our marriage could handle another child.
It's hard work, and a marriage is really put through the test when you have a baby around.
Thankfully we were on really solid ground pre-baby with 6 years together under our belt,
because really, it's no walk in the park.
no siree.
people don't really talk about that though..everyone just pretends to be all blissful and happy.
well sometimes you actually are,
but other times you are like " you don't know how hard this is!!!!" said between sobs.
"YOU stay home for just ONE day and see how YOU like it!!!!"
"I DON"T KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE!! at least YOU have time away from the puke and the POOP everyday!!!"
I digress.
the bottom line is that we are finally coming up for air.
hopefully one day soon we will find each other again and remember why we are soul mates in the first place.
throw another baby into the equation, and we may never find it again.
to me nothing is worth that risk.
good thing we are both on the same page with this one.
THE only thing that concerns me is that lulu will grow up lonely.
will she be sad that she is an only child, or worse, become a spoiled brat, used to getting everything that she wants?
I hope not. But then again, that's up to us not to let that happen.
I have a few friends who are only children and there totally have their shit together.
They have no issue with it whatsoever.
they have no memories of their dad turning around in the front seat of the station-wagon and threating to
"pull over if you kids DON"T STOP FIGHTING right this minute!!"
or chasing each other around the kitchen with the broom, wooden spoons or anyother form of weapon within hands reach.
okay it wasn't all bad, in-fact I can remember way more fun times with my brother than bad,
but hey there are no guarantees that you will have two kids who will get along and stay close as they get older.
then again, there are never any guarantees in life.
well just that lulu will (at least for the moment) remain an only child.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I really like Mondays.
I used to hate them. (especially when I worked for the employer from hell years ago...but that's another story)
but now that I am home with lulu, I have grown to enjoy the beginning of the week.
The weekends are fun filled and packed full of new and exciting stuff,
especially because big daddy is home.
lulu loves having her pops all to herself and mommy loves the extra set of hands.
we try to go out for dinner every Friday and usually lunch/brunch on Saturday or Sunday (this weekend both)
we tend to have friends over or go out exploring different neighbourhoods.
I try to whip up some sort of culinary magic on the weekends as well.
I usually hit the gym once and sometimes twice.
we walk everywhere and there is rarely a dull moment.
the weekends are usually fun.
But they can also be pretty exhausting.
that's why I like Mondays.
It's just me and lulu and our little routine.
I'm calling them mellow Mondays.
I don't plan any social stuff.
we just relax at home.
well kind of relax...
that is if you consider finishing 5 loads of laundry, gardening, groceries, changing the bed/crib, washing the floors, dusting and windexing, and cleaning the kitchen top to bottom relaxing...
but oddly enough I am relaxed.
everything is caught up, and we have a new fresh week ahead of us.
I like that.
I like Mondays.
what ever happened to the boomtown rats anyhow?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

new and improved

It's amazing how a few childless hours to yourself can improve your mood.
Don't get me wrong, I love the kid, but man I reallllly needed a breather.
big daddy let me sleep in until 9:30 am. (much needed as lulu was up most of the night)
then I got to go to the gym....ahhhh....I feel so much better.
It's great to blow off some steam while working out.
then I went to the "salon" for a much needed cut/colour.
I had THE best scalp massage of all time.
It's like my stylist sensed my desperation for a sliver of R&R time...
she's the best.
so it's the new and improved me.
back in proper working order.

Friday, June 23, 2006

out of order

I've really been trying to think positive these days.
not an easy task when you are feeling totally burned out.
emotionally void,
physically sapped,
what mother doesn't feel like this at the best of times?
I only have one child so who am I to complain?
add guilt to the list.
I always vowed that when I had a child I would remain true to myself.
stay connected with girlfriends and still go out and sip mojitos and talk about anything other than baby stuff.
keep the romance in my relationship and treat my man like he is and will always be my #1 priority.
be good to myself, take quiet time for reflection, care for my body and stay healthy and active.
take in lots of cultural events other than just dinner out, like movies, festivals, theatre, live music, art exhibits and openings....
balance working part-time with being a parent.
But somehow I have fallen short in every vow that I made.
I thought I could do it all.
after-all that is how it appears that everyone else is handling motherhood.
add feeling inadequate to the list.
might as well throw in self pity too.
I know that with everything in life there are good days and bad days, and despite my previous posts sounding all glowy and happy I do have some bad days.
who doesn't?
fortunately the good ones out number the bad ones.
Funny enough, while writing this I already feel sooo much better.
Just getting it out feels good.
that, and tomorrow is Saturday and I am taking a few hours for some long over due "me time" while big daddy mans the fort.
even if it's just to go to the gym and get a haircut I can hardly wait.
I can't believe I get super excited to get sweaty and receive a maintenance trim...sad but true.
whoopee in two weeks I might finally be able to go to the dentist! how exciting!!!
god how my life has changed.
I still wouldn't trade it for anything.
well maybe just for a day......

Thursday, June 22, 2006

the glass is half full

it's a good thing I waited a day to decide to write about our trip to visit "the family."
if I had written yesterday, I think it would have been pretty negative.
I've had a bit of time to process the trip and "come down" from it.
It's much better to be positive than negative. But sometimes it just happens.
we did have a....nice...time while visiting my in-laws.
they were really excited to see lulu, as they hadn't seen her since she was 2 weeks old.
they bought a new crib for her, towels and some bath toys.
They found a high chair and old toys that were a hit.
They also picked up some fantastic baby gourmet food for her that I was really impressed with.
unfortunately not available in Toronto.
but if you are out west
really great stuff.
they really went to alot of effort to make sure we were comfortable and happy.
my mother-in-law smoked outside, which was much appreciated.
(though it ended up coming in the window most of the time, but at least she was considerate)
lulu loved grandpa and couldn't get enough of grandma's kitty cat.
I, on the other hand was armed with a lint roller at all times.
why did I even bother packing black clothes?
nothin' like waking up to a big pile of cat puke on the carpet next to you....
I'm gagging just thinking about it.
she adored her cousins and it was sweet to see her interact with them.
we had lots of BBQ.
I can't remember ever consuming so much red meat in a 4 day span.
very old school, but again, lots of special effort just for us.
we are going veggie all week just to detox.
It was pretty nutty at times with a bit of drama here and there, which unfortunately we got sucked into.
If I still went to church I would really need to unload in confession.
I really hate talking behind peoples backs. But it just kinda happened.
I feel really bad about it.
everyone was bitching about everyone else.
I tried to just sit there and nod and smile, but a few times I agreed or chimed in.
Big daddy has some interesting siblings let me tell you.
I love them all. they are really sweet and really funny (except the oldest, who thinks he is funny but really isn't)
well, that is if you think pedophile jokes are funny.
okay but seriously, I have these amazing brother-in-laws.
who really make me feel like a part of the family, so much so, that like I said I got sucked into the drama.
I just think it's ironic that big daddy is the baby of the family and he appears to be the only one who has his shit together.
Sometimes genetics scare the crap out of me.
how can four people who all had the same upbringing be so completely different?
I'm just grateful that I got the good one.
so for now lulu will remain an only child.
and after this past weekend, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

home sweet home

well another family trip under our belt.
so far lulu has been on a plane three times in her first year and I can honestly say that she is an excellent traveller.
we keep increasing the amount of time we spend in the air on each trip.
but now that she is more mobile, it's much more challenging to keep her occupied.
insert portable dvd player here.
what an awesome invention!
she sat quietly watching "her shows" for the majority of the flight.
Next time we will bring more toys and less books though.
a friend suggested we go to the dollar store to load up, so that every half hour or so (or until she gets bored) we pull out another toy.
If they get lost or forgotten on the plane, oh well, no big deal.
kinda goes against my issue with our "throw-away-society-problem" but it sure beats the hell out of a restless and bored toddler 36,000 feet in the air.
we flew business class which was great, as lulu wanted to move around so she had lots of extra room to do so.
but I have to say, Air Canada is pretty lame.
bad service and bad food.
"would you like curried chicken or curried salmon?"
what if I don't like curry?
not that I don't, I actually love it. But still. A tad pungent for a domestic flight.
It's not like we were flying to Mumbai.
we had priority tags on the baggage but had to wait 30 minutes for the damn stroller.
what's up with that?
actually it was big daddy who was super annoyed by that, I was just happy to be back on the ground.
I'm not a great flyer..lots of anxiety attacks, but that could also have had something to do with the fact that we were visiting the in-laws.
but more on that in the next blog.
anyhow we are home safe and sound.
I can't remember ever being so happy to see our street and pull into the driveway.
the best part of visiting family is coming home.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

little princess

still no new teeth, but the week from hell seems to have subsided.
for now.
after a full nights sleep, I think we are all feeling a bit more human.
I really haven't felt that "fragile" since lulu was a newborn
at one point this week I was out walking her in the stroller and she was screaming, endlessly.
I would stop and pick her up, put her back in the stroller she would scream, I would stop and pick her up.....repeat...
eventually I just let her scream all the way home.
I'm a pretty tough cookie, but I honestly started welling up while walking down yonge st.
people were staring at this crying baby, and I felt like a complete failure.
then I started thinking, I can not imagine having another baby. EVER.
everything seemed to be going so smooth and relatively easy, then bam!
baby turns toddler.
two entirely different species.
but now things seemed to have improved.
I was getting snuggles and kisses all morning.
she ate her breakfast with no hassle!
I think nap time might even be manageable (fingers crossed)
It's like she can read my mind,
"okay I think I have pushed mommy to her breaking point,
and if I don't let up on her today then I am going to end up on a church door step somewhere...."
so thankfully my little princess has returned.
for now.

Monday, June 12, 2006

captain of the ship

when did lulu go from first mate to captain of the ship around here?
I suppose the second we brought her home from the hospital.
But it has become quite apparent during the past week or so.
chalk it up to a week of serious teething, so she gets the sympathy treatment, therefor is pretty much getting away with everything.
A week of sleeplessness can drive any parent to want to jump overboard and abandon ship.
I myself, felt like I was walking the plank all weekend.
Okay, I'll stop with the cheesy nautical terminology.
but we spent the day at the lake, trying to distract the captain and her frustratingly toothless half grin.
she went from a sweet and gentle baby to a whining, "pinching" toddler all within a five day span.
she is currently trying pull my pant leg and pinch me while I try to type this.
If I am not holding her every second of the day she will try everything to get her way.
"hmmm, there's a light socket, let's pull that plastic thing out of it and try to stick my fingers in it...."
or "I think I'll just bang my head against my highchair until mommy holds me while feeding me, but then I'll just refuse eat anyways"
I know she's just frustrated, and doesn't know how else to vent her frustration,
but jeez she really has knocked the wind out of my sails....

Friday, June 09, 2006

imitation is the best form of flattery

okay so lulu has moved on from "eeeowwwing" like a cat, to panting like a dog.
Is there anything cuter?
She is not the least bit intimidated by dogs (big or small).
I know that eventually we will end up getting a dog for her.
I grew up always having a dog, and I do miss having a pooch around.
Big daddy grew up with cats.
But neither of us has any desire to deal with kitty litter duties.
Actually neither one of us feels like dealing with picking up warm poop with a plastic bag either.
we are still trying to deal with the pampers vs. huggies issue.
so for now we will continue to visit all our friends with pets, and go to the pet store and riverdale farm.
much easier for mommy and daddy.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

over shoulder.....

ever been fitted for a bra?
not me.
well that is until last week.
I finally found a sales associate to help me.
I have a number of different sizes at home., during babys first few months, baby switches to bottle, and post b.feeding (a.k.a. the two empty socks stage)
okay, it's not really that bad, but things change.
and a girls gotta adapt.
so back to the fitting.
I had to be totally topless in front of this girl, she measured me here and there, left and came back with an assortment of bras.
when I looked at the tags and the sizes I was kind of shocked.
I really have been wearing the wrong size.
who knew?
she also demonstrated the correct way to put on a bra.
I didn't know there was an incorrect way.
You are supposed to lean over and...drop the girls to speak.
the entire experience was a tad mortifying, to say the least.
I did end up buying a few, only because I felt slightly obligated.
I mean this girl saw my girls!
I've been wearing them ever since.
that is until I get home at the end of the day and change into my gap tank-top....much more comfortable.
I wish it was the seventies.
burn 'em I say!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

you're hired a la fromage

thank-god all the stupid shows are finally finished for the season.
I can not believe I got sucked into watching such crap on the telly.
but we had a new baby, we live in chilly Canada (winters are long) and we were a bit house bound.
so what else is there to do but tune into the idiot box?
thankfully we have Rogers On Demand so we can fast forward through all commercials, and lots of the boring stuff (which is mostly everything on some of the shows we watched...holy re-caps batman...Boring...yawn...)
so no more Apprentice, Survivor (I can't believe we actually watched it again for another season) amazing race (ta-tao), American Idol, oh and a bunch of other crap I'm sure we watched in a foggy daze.
there were however a few great shows which I can openly admit (without being mortified) that we enjoy.
Huff. so great, love it.
Sleeper Cell. some very hot boys on that show let me tell you, plus it's super suspenseful.
Prison break. umm could Wentwoth Miller be any yummier?
gotta still watch Sopranos, only because I can't wait to FINALLY see how they end the damn show. I do love Christopher though.
Carnival...cancelled...awe shucks...just when it was getting even creepier than it already was.
sadly Queer As Folk is no longer...sniff sniff..I miss watching Gale Harold and all the boyz.
and you gotta love the food network...well maybe not. Emeril has got to be one of the most annoying guys on T.V.
but The Iron Chef rocks (anyone catch the Susur episode?)
restaurant makeover...boy do I have a few places I would LOVE to recommend for that show.
Ramsey's kitchen nightmares. the most swearing on t.v. I've ever heard.and that includes the sopranos.
and maybe a bit of Jamie Oliver...even though I think I'm a bit over him, you really have to admire some of the great causes he's been involved with (ie.Jamies school dinners) and the guy's only just turned 30! a real bundle of energy.
I do respect that. plus he looks so much like my brother it's bizarre.
of course there's a bit of Tree-house on from time to time. Blue's clues, little bear, the wiggles, 4 square, the bearenstein bears, etc. etc.
But as mentioned in the previous post,
must read more books.
plus it's nice to be out in the summer.
Be more social, have bbq's, go up north.
because before ya know it it will be dark at 5 p.m and be cold and dreary out side,
and I'll most likely be parked in front of the boob tube for another season of bad reality crap.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I finally finished the book I have been reading for months!
"prep" by Curtis sittenfeld.
despite that fact that it took me forever to read it I really enjoyed it.
It was light hearted, yet very thought provoking.
It's basically a coming-of-age story set in an elite prep school in Massachusetts.
It's told from the perspective of a teenaged girl (Lee Fiora) who is there on a scholarship.
her struggles with class differences, and status quo, and of course boys..
It takes you back to all the uncertainty, fear, insecurities and hopefulness that goes hand in hand with being in highschool.
As I was reading it, I remembered some of my own (often painful) experiences during those years.
But really, I started thinking that one day my daughter will have to go through all that awkward stuff.
I so wish I could shield her from the cattiness, or bad crushes, or just insecurities in general.
I know that's all part of growing up, but I really cringe when I picture her going through anything other than happiness.
but that's life.
I'm hoping that it won't take me so long to finish my next book.
I have a stack waiting for me.
It's just that by the time I read the paper, read blogs, check email and my flip through my numerous magazine subscriptions,
watch too much mind numbing t.v and put the wee one to bed,
I usually read whatever book I have beside the bed for about ten minutes and then I can't keep my eyes open.
This is why it takes me forever to read an actual book.
I go on these total book binges every few months and load up all at once, so I have a nice pile waiting to be read.
so this is my half year resolution:
read more books.
There's nothing like the smell of a new book.
but the best part is the sense of satisfaction you get when you read the last page.
at least for me.

Friday, June 02, 2006


I've come down from my NYC buzz.
but I do feel re-energized and inspired.
unfortunately, poor lulu still has a bad heat rash from the weekend, it was damn hot.
So now we have to endure A.C.
that's the big drag about summer. It's often too hot to bring small kids outside to play.
I like the heat, but she's definitely her father's daughter and doesn't like being overly warm.
But this works out well because I'm working on a freelance project this week which entails being inside.
last week when I was at the gym I overheard a woman complaining to her trainer about how she just doesn't like her career anymore. She had a very successful corporate position, but was feeling unfulfilled.
She described the type of job she would love to do.
Something creative & flexible.
a job where she can be in different environments and meet lots of different people.
possibly lucrative but that wasn't essential as her husband does well enough.
something that would allow her to spend more time with her kids.
something that she was truly passionate about.
I felt really bad for her.
But she basically described my career.
I know alot of people really don't like or love their jobs.
I'm not one of them.
I feel really really lucky.
sometimes I feel guilty because of it.
How did I get so fortunate?
A great husband, a beautiful daughter, loving family (well pretty quirky, but loveable nonetheless)
I live in a great neighbourhood, I'm healthy, I have a cool job...
I'm not overly religious, but I feel like lately, someone has really been looking out for me up there.
Not everything in my life is perfect, but it's the closest it's ever been.
I'm grateful, but it also scares the crap out of me.
I've paid my dues.
I've lived in crappy neighbourhoods (that are now considered cool)
I dated some real losers.
I've had some serious issues with my mother over the years (therapy is an amazing thing)
I've had to put up with lots of long days at work, dealing with lots of well...strong put it kindly.
so I guess it's okay to rejoice a little.
It just feels so foreign.
It's much easier to bitch and complain about stuff than to sit down and take a deep breath and say,