I Confess...

... I know all the words to the Spiderman Theme from the 60s (which I think is super cool!). It's the most frequently requested song by Mini, especially on trips to Canadian Tire. I don't know why.

... I've watched Mr. Baseball more than 50 times. I don't know why.

... I used to collect romance novels. I now collect erotica novels, which is marginally less embarrassing and significantly more fun.

... I'm a sucker for celebrity gossip. I watch eTalk, accesshollywood, and TMZ, and read People.com.

... I miss teaching hula classes and having my own hula school, but I love having Sundays (formerly hula class day) to spend with my family all day at home... in our pajamas.

... I really love Jessica Simpson's song "Public Affair" and Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away".

... I love driving standard, and have done it for so long that I'm not sure if I can drive automatic anymore without crashing.

... I had a stupid crush on Joe from Blue's Clues. It was short. I got over it.

... I've spent $70 total in a month on coffee/sushi/etc. without batting a eyelash, but felt guilty for days after I bought myself a $70 jacket to replace a ratty, old, falling-apart one that should've been trashed ages ago.

... I would eat sashimi and pavlova everyday if possible.

... I have an addictive personality. From past experience, I know not to learn how to play my kids' video games, drink Slurpees, or eat french fries. I get hooked too easily.

... I love logic puzzles.

... I often wear my 2-week contact lenses for 4 weeks.

... I cannot leave home without a jacket or sweater, even in the summer, on the hottest day.

... I enjoy watching Hannah Montana.

Pick It Up! Pick It Up! Pick It Up!

Yo Gabba Gabba, a new Nick Jr. kids' tv show, is now on Canada's TreehouseTV, and has quickly become one of my favourites.

According to Wikipedia, "The absurd style of humor used in the show is intended, like The Aquabats, to appeal to adults through its manic, frenzied approach to wholesome messages...", and appeal to me it does. With DJ Lance, Super Martian Robot Girl, and guests such as Tony Hawk and Elijah Wood, the show's had me laughing or singing along. I think I tune into it more than Lam or Mini!

Anyway, here's my favourite animated clip - it's a fun way to encourage your kids to clean up. The song is by ska band GOGO13 featuring Alex Desert of Hepcat. Enjoy!

Love, Romance, Bronze & Pottery

Hey, look at those smoochy people... they're Roomie and me, only 8 years younger! Yup, it's our 8th Wedding Anniversary!

What do we have planned to celebrate the occasion?... other than clear our shelves for all the bronze and pottery we're supposed to be getting, of course?... Well, not much at this point.

We'll definitely go for dinner sometime this week. Cafe Carlo has become our favourite anniversary restaurant, so we may take a stroll over there again this year.

And over creme brule, we'll chat about how lucky we are to have found each other, how fun and fabulous married life has been, and how beautiful our kids are.

Yup, it's been a great 8 years...

I Heart My Frontyard Garden!

Is "frontyard" even a word? Oh, who cares! I'm in love with mine. It's organic, green, and beautiful. But of course, it wasn't always this way. Check out the evolution in pictures... click on the thumbnails for a bigger shot...

When we bought this house in 2002, it had the huge lawn, trees, and a modest little flowerbed under the large picture window. It was nice, well-kept, and fit in with the neighbourhood, but things about it started to bother me:

1: The lawn was too huge. I can think of a thousand better things to do than mow all that grass. Roomie didn't mind mowing it (he was already mowing his backyard domain anyway), but he'd have to his filter mask on (due to allergies) even longer.
And when our city goes through the typical summer dry spells, the grass goes dormant and develops these ugly brown patches. And to me, watering grass is such a waste!

2: The flower bed was too small. Our house is north-facing, and with the flower bed tucked away under the window, it wasn't getting enough light for the kind of flowers I wanted to have.

So, in 2006, with a truckload of wood mulch and newspapers, I smothered the grass. No more grass to mow, water, or maintain! Yippee!
The kids prefer to play in the backyard with their swing set and playhouse anyway, so they didn't complain.

Each year, over the past couple of years, I've spent only $20 in new perennials and soil, expanding the flower beds, improving the old soil with the new, and watering selectively.

I have ornamental grass, yarrow, bergenia, lamb's ears, hosta, snow-in-summer, chrysanthemum, allium, jacob's ladder, ferns, peonia, lily, sweet woodruff, and meadowsweet... oh, and I did get a few annuals for instant colour!

This last shot I took on Saturday after planting the new stuff. It's from a different angle from the shots above. Right now, the flowers in the new garden bed are still too small to see well in pictures, but I'll put up a new updated shot later on in the season. :)

It's Aloha Friday v.III

I can finally throw away all my other lipsticks! I've truly found the lip product of my dreams!... Okay, not exactly of my dreams because the lip product of my dreams would also give me the power of flight and invisibility...

Anyway, yesterday, I went to Organza, one of my favourite organic grocery stores, and picked up an EcoTint by EcoLips.
So, I got the Mocha Velvet shade, and it was PERFECT! Because it's a sheer tint, it gave me a bit of brown yet allowed the pink of my lips come through for a beautiful shade of burgundy-brown.
This luscious stuff is 90% organic and made with all-natural plant oils, beeswax and earth minerals. Cruelty-free. And I'm not afraid of eating this stuff! It made my lips so soft and supple. No dryness or cracking at all. A definite keeper.

If you want one too, it's just $4-6 at your favourite health food store or online.

I'm just not a blingy-bling-bling kinda gal, but Hawaii has such a distinct style of gold jewelry that I was hoping to get something small just to remind me of my stay on the Islands.

Unfortunately, the authentic stuff, although beautiful, tends to be much bigger and chunkier for my tastes, so I didn't think I'd find something I'd actually want to wear.

Well, I was quite pleasantly surprised to find this dainty little thing.
Isn't it cute?! It's the Bamboo Heart Initial Ring from Hawaii City.

At $80, it's something I have to save up for. Maybe I'll get a paper route...

A new night-time tradition...

Me: *reading bedtime story* "... The End."

Mini: "Mommy, I can't sleep." *yawning*

Me: "Yes, you can. Just close your eyes."

Mini: *squeezing eyes shut then opening them* "I can't!"

Me: "Just close your eyes, and think of wonderful things... like your mother... so close your eyes and think of me."

Mini: *giggling* "Oh, Mommy, you're so funny!"

"Why'd This Make Me Think Of You?"

My buddy harmzie, a faithful reader of xkcd and, of course, lifecandy, emailed this to me under the subject "why'd this make me think of you??"

Is it because I have a disappointing lover? heavens, no... *I'm* a disappointing lover? surely you jest... My lover doesn't have enough scratches, black eyes, or isn't limping after a night in the sack with me - and he should?! hmmm...

Nah, I think it's because I'm often the instigator of the weird and wonderful girlie things we do on our girls' night out - like asking for everyone's freebie list, finding out the strangest places where each one's had sex, and getting everyone to say "in bed" after reading their fortune...

And yes, I believe it is better with "except in bed". My friends know me so well. :)

Poll: Which Summer 08 Movie Are You Looking Forward To Watching?

Image: "Are You Ready?" by tim eschaton

This month's poll was inspired by Jami over at Bionic-Beauty. I was at her blog yesterday taking her Are You Gonna See Sex and the City? poll, and her post had me thinking about all the cool movies coming out this summer that I'd love to see.

I LOVE movies, and before kids, Roomie and I always watched the big summer blockbusters in the theatres. After Lam was born, I became the first host of our city's chapter of Cinebabies, a company that provided baby-friendly movie-watching for new parents, so I still got to see the latest flicks with my new little guy.
Now that the kids are older, the movie-watching experience is a bigger deal, requiring the involvement of babysitters, restaurant reservations, and jinkies, me actually putting on eye shadow.
I've been disappointed by the offerings of the past few years, but the summer '08 movie season looks promising, so I think all that prep-work may actually be worth it.

Which of this summer's blockbusters are you looking forward to watching? Indiana Jones? Prince Caspian? Sex and the City? Iron Man? Head over to the sidebar, and chose all the flicks that will have you lining up at the box office.

Victoria Day in the Great (Rainy) Outdoors

Image: "Queen Victoria" by rpongsaj

Happy Victoria Day to all!

The Victoria Day long weekend is a special time because it signals the start of spring activities for most people in my neck of the Canadian woods.

The risk of frost is passed - or it should be, at least - so, it's safe enough to do our gardening.

This weekend, Roomie and Mini seeded our organic garden, and I moved the mulch (used to smother the lawn without pesticides) around in our frontyard garden in anticipation of the soil and finished compost soon to be added. I'll be dividing the existing plants to move them into the new beds.
And today, we'll be moving our pots of citrus trees back outside to enjoy the many days of summer sun.

It's raining right now, which always seems to happen every Victoria Day Long Weekend, but the newly planted seeds and citrus trees will love it. And tomorrow, the clay soil (aka Manitoba gumbo) out front will be wet enough for me to till.

Looks like the makings of a great 2008 organic growing season... :)

NB: In case you've been wondering, yes, I've been gradually moving away from the My Earth Monday moniker. Mondays will still be the official Green Task Day, but I would like to write more green, earthy posts on other days as well.

8 Skills Every Woman Should Master

Apparently, Esquire's come up with this list of 75 Skills Every Man Should Master. I didn't know about this list; I learned about it from Maggie at Mighty Girl (I know, I know, yet another blog for you to get sucked into, but you'll love Maggie - she seriously rocks!). Anyway, she made her list of 7 Skills Every Woman Should Master. Here's my list of 8, because I like the number 8:

1: Jump-start a car. Change oil.
It's not really difficult.  And doing it yourself saves you some $$ that you can put to better use, like on dinner out or a sweet new pair of kick ass boots.

See?  My car works!  

2: Play poker.
Handy for a game of strip poker or if you want to win some $$ for a new pair of kick ass boots (I'm sensing a theme...).

3: Identify poisonous relationships, and end them.
I had a family member who expected blind-obedience. Didn't matter what it was. S/he would use all sorts of manipulation and emotional blackmail. I felt trapped, and my self-esteem plummeted. But I still didn't have the strength to break away.
It wasn't until I was an adult with my own family when I realized I was better off without this person in my life. I haven't looked back since.

4: Deliver a good punch.
Make a fist, thumb on the outside and curled along the knuckles. Aim with the middle-finger joint closest to the back of the hand, making a line with the wrist, elbow and shoulder. Deliver the punch from the shoulder blade and back. (I used to take Sikaran, a filipino martial art.)

5: Choose fruit and veggies at the peak or near-peak of ripeness.
Know when you want to eat your veggies or fruit, and know if it'll be ready when you are.

6: Help your partner give you an orgasm.
They won't be offended, and it turns them on too... or so I've been told. ;)

7: Take a good shower in under 5 minutes.
Multi-task and hit all the important parts first. If you still have a minute or two, maybe you can shave. Maybe.

8: Ask a really hot guy/gal out on a date.
Or maybe a game of strip poker.

My Mother's Day 2008

Okay, I think I've finally come down from my Mother's Day high. It really was a wonderful day, one that I just didn't want to end.

My little family spoiled me rotten with two Zero dark chocolate bars, and a beautiful blue chaise lounger for enjoying the summer sunshine like a queen while Roomie tends the veggie garden and the kids play in their playhouse.
We spent a lazy morning together, and later that afternoon, my family dropped me off on the Corydon cafe strip on their way to see Gramma so I could have some much appreciated alone-time. I had sushi at Sushi-Ya and enjoyed my new favourite roll, their Flower Roll. So good!
(Since that was my first trip to Sushi-Ya, I'll be writing a full post review very soon. Stay tuned for that!)
After sushi, I had a cappucino at my favourite Starbucks, and then strolled home in the beautiful sunshine - with the sounds of Hawai'i on my mp3 player! - for a relaxing rest on my new lounger.

My family returned home from their visit to Roomie's mom just in time for dinner delivery from Charisma of India, my absolute favourite East Indian restaurant in town. We then relaxed the evening away until bedtime. Oh, yes, it was a great day!

How about you? How did you celebrate Mother's Day?

MEM: Eco-Shopping for the Girlie-Girl

This week's My Earth Monday installment is a bit of a departure from the usual. I guess I haven't yet shaken off the after-effects of yesterday's Mother's Day, and still feel the desire to spoil and indulge myself. :)

So, this week, I'm shopping! Ok, not really buying anything, just doing a little online window shopping. I found some really sweet stuff from Ecoist I just had to share with you today.

I just love Ecoist! They take things destined for the landfill, and through Grupedsac (Group for the Promotion of Education and Sustainable Development), a non-profit organization in Mexico that helps underprivileged citizens earn a fair living on projects that preserve the environment, they hire skilled artisans to create things from jewelry to laptop cases to tote bags.
And for every item Ecoist sells, they plant a tree.

Right now, I'm lusting after their $15 card wallet made from billboards for the movie '300'. :)

Here are some other cool things...

Bracelets by Ecoist - The official "Stop Global Warming" Ecoist bracelets. Adjustable for kids and adults. We plant a tree for every bracelet sold. Help spread the word. Handmade from recycled candy wrappers, soda labels, and food packages.

Rice Bags - These one-of-a-kind bags are made from recycled feed and rice bags from Southeast Asian fishing villages. Each bag is manually woven and lined with cotton. Convenient compartments and zippers add great functionality to these unique bags.
The purchase of these bags provides employment to disabled and disadvantaged artisans and ensures they are paid fair wages and have safe working environments.
Brought to you by Gecko Traders.

Movie Billboard Laptop Cases & Bags - Ecoist collects outdoor movie billboards that were headed for a landfill and produces unique pieces, such as laptop cases, tote bags, messenger bags, and wallets. Colourful and abstract, as well as, sturdy, durable, and waterproof.

We're Ready. Are You?

May 4-10, 2008 is Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada.

If disaster struck, would you and your family be able to survive the first 72 hours before help arrived?

According to GetPrepared.ca:
"The 72 hour preparedness message is a common standard used across North America by first responders (fire, police, paramedics), all levels of government and non-government relief organizations. They have first-hand knowledge that 72 hours is the length of time it takes to mobilize a relief effort in a significant way."
Last fall, Roomie and I decided that we really had to get off our bums and get to making our own emergency kit. Now, I'm pleased to say that we're almost done; just need to commit plans of action to paper.

Okay, so spring thaw-flood may be pretty much over, and if your furnace crashed and burned today, you probably won't freeze, but depending on your area, you still have tornado and hurricane seasons and the occasional earthquake or two. You don't want to get caught with your pants down!

We're ready. Now, you!

Get Ready:
  • GetPrepared.ca
  • Ready (US)

  • And for our neighbours all over the world, this message is for you too. Get prepared and stay safe!

    Blog Morphing... More Changes...

    I always have an eye open for new ways to improve my blog. I realize that I have an advantage over many other bloggers in that I have years of software design and programming experience to draw from to help me change, improve and morph my blog into one that's functionally and aesthetically pleasing... to me at least. :)

    In case you haven't had a look around lately, I've done the following:
  • Changed from a Category Cloud back to a Category List.
  • Added a 3-column footer for administrative and less-blogcentric items.
  • Added a clustr map (May 2, 2008).
  • Added a Related Posts listing at the end of each post, listed according to category.
  • A By-Post listing of Archives.
  • A Poll of the Week - a new one every Friday!

  • For comparison, here's another look at the original template Erudite at Gecko & Fly I used and ultimately changed to get the template you see now.

    My next project is to tackle advertising. It's going to be the subject of a whole new post. I have some definite ideas about how I would like to earn money via my blogs... what I personally would like to see and what will make me click to buy. What are your thoughts on blog advertising or ads in general?

    MEM: Going Organic... Again

    Welcome to another My Earth Monday!
    This week's installment is not about starting something new but reintroducing a good green habit that I dropped, idiot that I can be sometimes. I will be going organic again.

    Now, my real life friends (and maybe some of my online friends as well) might be surprised that I fell off the organic wagon in the first place.
    But I did, around January after my short detox, when we all got sick and making the trip to my favourite organic store became difficult. Besides, we're on a rather strict budget, and I thought that a break from the more expensive organics would ease our finances a little.

    Well, you truly cannot put a price on health. Over a period of 4 months, I've steadily felt more lethargic, developed worsening monthly cycles, had increasing insomnia, gained stubborn weight, and increased my bodyfat primarily in my middle.

    The only thing I've changed is the origin of my food.
    My average calorie intake has stayed the same, and I've even exercised more. Unless any of you have any other ideas, I'm willing to bet it's the organic thing.

    And I'm not surprised. It's all over the news that North America has the most genetically-modified, hormone-injected, and pesticide-poisoned products in the world... and we also have the highest percentage of obesity.

    And, of course, as we're poisoning ourselves, we're poisoning our planet.
    By going organic, we're saying no to harmful pesticides and giving our thumbs up to healthier farming practices and local producers.

    Two years ago when I started going organic, I lost a lot of weight, gained a lot of energy, and felt really good, and I maintained that until recently. So, I'm hoping I can replicate those results by going back.

    If you think your health could use a kick in the right direction, I suggest you try going organic. And let me know how it goes!

    10 Reasons Why I Blog

    The Domestic Diva challenged her readers to post why they blog. Who am I to turn down this challenge? :)
    Besides, many of you, my readers, may be curious - especially my Real Life friends who might be wondering why their usually private friend has opened her doors, bared her bum, and is airing out her laundry - albeit clean and sweet smelling! :)

    In turn, I challenge all of my readers with blogs to post their reasons too.
    If you do, be sure to let me know in the comments here so we can come and find out why you blog.

    Okay, in no particular order, here we go...

    1: I blog to express myself creatively.
    I design my blog's layout, pick the pictures from outside sources, showcase photos I take, and be as funny (or unfunny) as I want to be. I create something out of nothing from the crap in my head.

    2: I blog for the money.
    Okay, not a heck of a lot happening in that department right now, but I am experimenting with blog monetization, trying not to turn off my readers or be an ad-whore. I would truly love to make this my fulltime work especially when the kids start all-day school.

    3: I blog to be with the most important people in my life.
    Blogging helps me connect with the outside world (whenever I want to), while I am physically at home with my kids watching them grow up.

    4: I blog to meet people from all over the world.
    I've met the most interesting people online through lifecandy and via twitter. I'm happy to call some of them friends.
    Also, I firmly believe that learning about others in other countries helps you appreciate other cultures including your own.

    5: I blog to be my own movie star.
    I've always wanted to have my own IMDB page. Unless I find myself with a successful showbiz career, this is the closest I'll ever get to that dream. :)

    6: I blog to document my life.
    I used to journal in real life, and I've documented my kids' development too. I like looking back at old entries and revisiting memories. Since I type faster than I write, this is considerably easier and just makes sense.

    7: I blog to satisfy my nerd side.
    As my friend harmzie likes to say to me, "once a nerd, always a nerd". She's right. I still love to program. I think I always will. And with my blog, I can flex my coding chops. I just have to figure out when to stop!

    8: I blog to practice my writing skills.
    I used to write short story erotica. Now, you won't find that kind of material on this blog, but I want to practice and improve the skill of translating my thoughts to words, so when I get back to that kind of writing, it should be easier.

    9: I blog to share with others the stuff I like.
    This is to give people more insight into what goes on in my head and heart, as well as how I like to live my life. And hopefully, this will also help with #2 above.

    10: I blog to prove mainly to myself that, including "Mommy", I am many other things.
    This is one of the reasons why I don't just write about parenting. I have other aspects of me, and by living more-than-a-mommy life, I can remind myself of those other sides... and generate writing material at the same time!

    Okay, now you! :)

    Ode to My Roomie

    Roomie is revving up for the spring college semester, but he can do all his prep work here at home. It's always so nice for all of us to be together as a family. He has such a calming effect on the kids and me, and when he's home, we all seem to laugh more.
    I shamelessly stole this meme from Much More Than A Mom just for him.

    Do you have a fabulous hubby (or wife)? If so, tell us about him (or her)! Have a go at this quiz in the comments here or on your blog... Consider yourself tagged. :)

    How long did you date?
    8 years, and that's after I avoided him for 4 months, became friends for 4 years, and best friends for 1 year.

    How old is he? 40, exactly 2 years and 3 days older than me.

    Who eats more? Him. Hands down. But on "Treat Day", it's a tough call.

    Who said “I love you” first? He did, about 2 weeks after we started dating.

    Who is taller? Him. Tall, funny, and handsome. But compared to me, almost everyone is taller.

    Who sings better? I do, but I don't have the vocal power he does. And I'm a little on the shy side, where he shamelessly belts out the wrong lyrics and goes off key, all with a smile.

    Who is smarter? We each have our strengths, but on the whole, his brain is quicker... crappy memory though, but I'll admit he is slightly smarter. :)

    Whose temper is worse? Me. He has much more control over his temper, a tranquil river often punctuated by a shout of laughter or two.

    Who does the laundry? We both do, but where I sort-wash-dry-fold-store, he just washes-dries.

    Who does the dishes? I do it about 19 times out of 20, but I'm okay with it because he runs interference with the kids and I get some semblance of "alone time".

    Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? He does... it's closer to the alarm.

    Who pays the bills? Me.

    Who cooks dinner? I do 99% of the time.

    Who drives when you are together? The chump who doesn't get in the passenger's seat fast enough!

    Who is more stubborn? Depends on what it is. We're both stubborn when it comes to our individual causes. :)

    Who kissed who first? I kissed him first. In fact, I jumped him in his car... then he kicked me out.

    Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? It depends on the topic, but for the most part, it's me. I'll reserve judgment until I get further evidence. He'll swear up and down that he's right, until I prove him wrong... then the mocking begins!

    Whose parents do you see the most? His.

    Who proposed? I did. Naked proposal at 6am, complete with ring. Seriously. Had to make sure he said yes!

    Who is more sensitive? Me. Especially after Lam was born. Tears at a drop of a hat.

    Who has more friends? Tough call. I'll have to compare our Facebook friends lists.

    Who has more siblings? Him. He has 4 siblings, and I have 1.

    Who wears the pants in the family? We each have our jurisdiction, but it's pretty much equal. :)

    Okay, now you!