Wednesday, October 29, 2014


We scooted off to the museum this morning to give Geoff space to make phone calls about Employment Insurance and job training. It was a successful outing.
Ready to go, little Vikings?

Nat pretending to be a teenager



I wish I could have gone to see this. So interesting.
There was going to be an awesome lecture about ancient textiles, but the chances of making, and keeping, the kids interested in the lecture were nil, so I didn't go. Sad.

Joan of Arc


Nat trying to use a fire drill

We actually made it into the First Nations section today, which was awesome, because there were volunteers with snowshoes and a fire drill and pieces of beadwork. I'm sorry to say the reason Nat was willing was that horrible song from Peter Pan, What Makes the Red Man Red? which is awful. But on the way home we had a further history lesson about how the Native people actually look like my Dad, and about the Beothuk using grease and ochre as decoration, and how Columbus got lost. And Nat didn't actually start a fire using a fire drill so we're safe.

All in all, a triumph. And when we got home Geoff had already made us lunch so I didn't do my usual fling-goldfish-and-baby-carrots-for-lunch post trip routine. Brilliant.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blood sugar

Days that start with a blood sugar of nineteen are rarely as pleasant as this one has been. So far, at least. I don't want to jinx it. We've listened to some Just So Stories and the odd They Might Be Giants song about Julius Caesar and played with boxes and made beds and put away laundry (well, I've put away laundry).

Also, the classic Disney movie Pete's Dragon is really, really weird. Really. Filled with low life bar brawls and drinking and carny snake oil quacks and really weird things.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Job Loss and Authors Edition

1. As I posted before, Geoff got laid off. His last day is Tuesday, and after that he's free to slave at home with me until he does job training or the severance runs out or something. So we're planning more cheap family trips and time at home and general fun things. Along with looking for a job, of course. So prayers would be nice. We have options and we're making plans, but right now I'm grateful that Geoff will be home for a month or two .

2. Last week we had Nat's diabetes clinic, but I didn't put up any pictures.
The hat is for easy identification

Waiting room and screens

Cafeteria with toy train
3. I haven't been doing the Guilt Free Learning Notes, and I feel (hah!) extremely guilty about it. But things have been pretty overwhelming here, full of appointments and illness and me putting my back out and houseguests and things, and there hasn't been time or energy. I've gotten all the kids hooked on Owl at Home, and I just found two more of the Church Mouse books at my parents' house, so we've been reading them. Nathaniel and I just started Farmer Boy, and I hope we'll make it through all the way. We've read some poetry, and we've talked about the way certain music makes us feel.

 I'm hoping to take the boys to Into the Woods when it comes out at Christmas, and to prepare for that we'll be reading all the fairy tales and watching parts of the musical.We haven't been doing penmanship, but I recently looked up some of the books I've heard Nat reading aloud, and they're grade 3-4 reading level, so I feel fairly smug about that.

Thomas is continuing to play with numbers and ask about letters, so we move slowly but surely onto reading readiness. I'm so glad. This will be fun.

4. Last Sunday my friend Judith's husband, Stephen, who works for the CBC, asked me if I'd like to come down and see Marilynne Robinson interviewed, and maybe come up with some questions to ask her. After they scraped me off the ceiling I said YES I'D LIKE TO COME. I went with my parents' minister's wife (sand longtime friend and another huge Robinson fan) Deborah, and we argued genially about which of us got to be shy and hide behind the other one. I think she won. I think she did more hiding.

It was a small boardroom interview, and fairly brief, but they used a bunch of the questions that Geoff and I came up with together, and her answers were fascinating. In person she's reserved, patient, and warm. She's pretty clearly being dragged around promoting her book and would like to be at home teaching and writing, but she answered all the questions thoughtfully and thoroughly, And she signed our books and I got to ask her questions about Calvinism and about quantum mechanics, and it was completely wonderful. I wanted to drag her out and keep talking but I think she's flying to London or somewhere else, and also I'm too shy to ask wrong and unnerving questions like, "Famous person! CAN I TAKE YOU TO THE PUB SO WE CAN TALK?" even though I would love, LOVE, to do it. I'm going to find out if that interview will be posted online, because I want Geoff to see it. I love her deep understanding of the Incarnation and her belief in the holiness of people. I can't encapsulate it now, but I might write another post on it later.

Me, Marilynne, and Deborah

5. Today is food shopping and at home puttering. I'm hoping the babysitter will come around ten so Geoff and I can go out shopping and return in decent time. I'm still having fits about the tension between food that people are willing to eat and food that is nutritious, but this is a lifelong battle. Right now it's coupled with my general stress and weird desire not to cook because of that stress. What I'd really like is to provide one or fewer than one home cooked meal a day, and two other meals of People Kibble, shoveled out from a large sack.

6. I'm still waiting to hear back from CCAC about whether my mother is eligible for a nursing home. I'm fairly certain she isn't, but I'm waiting. Geoff will check on Mum and Dad today. I had a dream last night that Mum was talking intelligently and lucidly to me- that I had my mother as she was back. I miss her a lot.

7. And... I think I'm out of ideas, so go see Jen!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Laid off

Geoff joins the ranks of the unemployed on Tuesday evening.

On the bright side, he gets severance. On the other bright side, I met my favourite author today and talked to her and asked her to autograph books and generally basked in her brilliance. So now my copies of Lila and The Death of Adam are both addressed To Kyra, Marilynne Robinson. I am very happy about that.

Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm a little stressed

Between my parents and their care, general life with the four kids, and Geoff quite possibly being laid off next week, I'm a little stressed. By 'little' I mean that I think I will lie on the floor drinking for a few weeks.

Ha ha! Not really.

I'll just lie on the floor.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: We survived the week

1.  Nat's appointment went very well. I was completely wiped on Thursday, though, and basically spent the day putting on videos and reading Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven, which put me in a very Tang Dynasty mood. I'm so grateful i don't live in Byzantium or Tang China or during the Viking raids or something. I am grateful to be sitting in my nice house with my nice computer surrounded by my nice house, and immaterially surrounded by twenty-first century Canada, wich means health care and roads and no one slaughtering each other in the streets because someone's concubine was insulted.

2. When I visited my parents yesterday I took along Rosemary Sutcliff's The Lantern Bearers, which I probably haven't read since I read it aloud to Geoff lo these many years ago. More ancient history. I love her writing. I wonder if I can get the kids excited about Ancient Britain, or if I should keep beating them into enthusiasm about Egypt and Sumer?

3. When I visited my parents yesterday I asked Mum about a piece of government mail, and she said it had been there a few days. I asked if I should open it, and she said yes. I told her it was a government check (medication rebate), and suggested we go to the bank and deposit it. She agreed that we should do it, and said, "And maybe... I don't know, there's this other thing..." and pulled three Canada Saving Bonds worth over $12,000 AFTER INTEREST from her pocket! So I hurried her out the door and down to the bank and we deposited all the nice money while I hyperventilated about how long she'd been carrying them around and how easily they could have dropped out of her pocket.

4. I've gotten up early because Hallelujah, Elizabeth slept the whole night for the second time in a row, and I am beating my head against the unending wall of meal planning and grocery lists. The complexity, I'm explaining to myself, comes from everyone in the family liking different things, needing to cook for my parents as well as us, and trying to realistically assess how much energy I'm going to have to cook, plus scouring the flyers for bargains. And trying to rein in my instinctive desire to BUY ALL THE THINGS and then sit in the middle of them and weep softly because I feel crowded and overwhelmed. Clearly this is an area where I need to pray more, for discipline and self-control. And for someone else to take over. It was a glorious two weeks when my aunt and uncle were here visiting, and I should have chained my aunt to something so I could keep her.

5. Cute girls playing in the fall.

6. I collected a decent list of meals that can be customizable. By that I mean- provide disparate pieces that the people eating put together and/or choose on their own. I'm (eternally) hoping to reduce meal time arguments. We do taco salad all the time, but I'm going to include:

Build your own salad
Chicken broth with things to stir in/DIY chicken soup
Stir fry or fried noodles broken into components
Build your own rice bowl, which can be Chinese or Korean-esque
Oven fries or hash browns with toppings
The roast sausage and roast veg thing I do but separated into components in different bowls

Also things like subs, which we actually don't do often because it always seems like a pain to have all the ingredients on hand.

7. I just remembered that I promised a few friends I'd start reading Barbara Pym. Good time, especially since I just finished a novel. Which one should I start with?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mum's appointment

Geriatric psych in a couple of hours, thing for long term care next week. Parents being annoyed at the in house care and Mum freaking out about having too much food even when there's pretty much nothing in their fridge or pantry.

On the bright side, I found my copy of Owl at Home, so I can read it to the kids later today. Maybe for a bedtime story? And I will go to bed at or before nine, because last night Elizabeth decided not to sleep until two, and tomorrow I have to GET ALL THE KIDS TO THE HOSPITAL BEFORE EIGHT for Nathaniel's quarterly visit. On the subway. Pray for me. I think I'll put the girls to bed in their clothes, pack the stroller and bag tonight, wake everyone and throw them into their shoes and then provide a healthy breakfast of doughnuts and granola bars at the hospital, Or maybe brunch afterward. And if I haven't died and the weather is nice, maybe we can walk up to the Philosopher's Walk before going home.