It's a Wrap!

Did 2008 blow past you like it did me? This past year went by really fast, and if I didn't have this blog, I'd be completely convinced that I spent the entire time passed out on the couch, eating bon-bons on the couch, surfing with my laptop on the couch, getting lucky on the couch...

Teehee -- just kidding :) Anyway, here's a quick recap of what I did/read/watched in 2008...

Books I Read
Movies I Watched
  • Iron Man - Starring Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Wall-E - Starring Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin

1) "My Kids are AWESOME" Moment:
When my kids asked to have another Earth Hour.

2) Biggest Disappointment:
Allowing myself to gain 20lbs, hitting 136lbs
Tackling this is going to be my Big Project of 2009.

3) Thing that Amazed Me Most About Myself:
My patience and ability to deal with time-consuming inconveniences
Like washing dishes by hand (when dishwasher died), packing bags of clothes to wash at distant laundromat (when washer died), opening/closing the heavy garage door by hand (when the garage door opener died) -- and I'm still doing all of these things to this day.

4) Most Favourite Item Acquired:
My ASUS eeePC laptop

5) Favourite Beauty Product Purchased:

Aveda Liptint in Coco Plum
Looks good and softens my lips in this dryness that is the Canadian Prairie.
A close second: Avalon Organics Vitamin C Vitality Serum

6) Act(s) I Wish I'd Seen Live in Concert:

7) Movies I Wish I'd Seen at the Theatre:
Mamma Mia, Narnia: Prince Caspian, Indiana Jones & the Crystal Skull
There are some movies you just have to see on the big screen... IMAX, if possible.

8) Something I Wish I'd Done More of:
Gone out on dates with Roomie more
...although we did have some status meetings that were pretty awesome :)

9) Most Notable Food Discoveries:
raw foods, green smoothies, Tom Yum soup

10) Favourite Song of the Year:
I Kissed a Girl - Katy Perry
This song is just so much fun and light-hearted. And I LOVE the power behind Katy Perry's voice. Roomie thinks it's just "meh", and I can see how he can think that, but I still like it.
A close second: Squeeze Me - Kraak & Smaak

Okay, that's it for 2008! Hope your 2008 was good too. See you in 2009!

Happy New Year!

how to catch a soft, cute, cuddle, and very clever bunny.

It would appear that I haven't been fast enough in coming through on my promise to get Mini a soft, cute and cuddly pet.

On November 16, she decided to take matters into her own hands and bag herself a bunny. From out in the backyard. With a box and string.
Oh, and some signs -- 'cause, you know, bunnies are clever enough to read signs.
That tell them to get into boxes.

Like every good inventor, Mini tested her prototype inside the house, and it was Mama's job to document the experiment -- important when trouble-shooting and reproducing the set-up.

Step 1: The Lure - a drawing of a carrot tied to a nice bright pink string. The drawing sits in the mudroom and looks very tasty.

Step 2: The string from the lure leads to the box situated in the kitchen. Our soon-to-be caught bunny will follow the string, knowing full well it will only be caught for cuddling purposes, because, you know, it's clever.

Step 3: Here is a closer look at the box. It has been coloured and scribbled on for camouflage purposes from other animals yet easy for our clever bunny to realize it is a fun and safe place that will lead to cuddling.

Step 4: I present a very important component of the apparatus: the arrow to alert our clever bunny that they should go *that way* and into the box.

Step 5: Finally, if the bunny is, in fact, clever, it will end up in the box, like so:

Mini's bunny catcher has not been used in the field yet. So, we are currently bunny-free.
And that's okay. We plan to get a kitten from the Humane Society before the spring.

Mini's holding on to her bunny catcher... just in case.

Christmas Through the Digital Cyclops.

Happy Holidays, dear LifeCandy friends :)

I hope it's been a good one for you. Mine has been just peachy. And busy. In between the pockets of sick, we managed to find energy bursts that allowed us to make merry with friends and family.

In lieu of talking about our celebrations, I present them to you in photos. Yes, they are few. Please excuse. I didn't get a lot of usable pictures because I either ...
(1) didn't bring the camera to all events,
(2) didn't go to every event we were invited to,
(3) ended up with too many pictures of drunken friends and plan to save the shots for blackmail purposes,
(4) didn't take enough good photos to choose from because I was too drunk,
(5) have -- as you all know by now -- always tried to preserve the privacy of my family and friends, and ended up with too many face-on shots that I wouldn't post.

There is an exception to (5) who insisted on posing specifically for a blog photo -- well, you'll see. :)

1: Harmzie's Annual Christmas 'Do.
No pictures unfortunately. But I did tell you about the hangover the day after.

2: Sly's Annual Christmas 'Do.
Here's our hostess. Yes, that's how Sly welcomed all of her guests: toy gun in hand lounging in an awesome chair she fished out of the trash. Truth. Well, at least the chair part.
Sly posed for different versions of this shot. This one she approved for blog posting. The others I will use to prevent her from having a political career... I love you, Sly. ;)

Check out Sly's spread! Now, THAT'S one girl who knows how to please her friends. You know I'm talking food, right? I really go to her parties for the cheese cake. This girl makes a killer cheese cake.

Okay, we all know where the party really is. In the kitchen with the hot babes. Oh, look, there's me on the far right! Hmmm, me thinks I had a good hair day.

3: Christmas Day Family Dinner.
We all gather at Roomie's brother's house for this annual family event. We share cards, gifts, and time with the people who we love, know we're crazy, and love us back anyway despite or maybe because of it. :)
Here's the bobble bird that Gramma gave Mini. It has a special place of honour on the shelf in front of her favourite books.

This is Mini's present from my sister Ning. A Baby Alive doll my daughter calls Flower. She sips from a cup when you squeeze her tummy and wets her diaper.
: doesn't require batteries. Not love: replacement diapers (sold by the doll company) are expensive. I plan on sewing my own reusable cloth diapers instead -- Mini approves.

The 2nd glass of wine I had that evening. Yup, I drank booze again. It was bottled by my SIL's mom and sister, so how could I refuse?! It was smooth and tasty. Very fruity. Even after eating more than I should've of the tasty turkey dinner, I was feeling not ill -- which was unusual after I drink any alcohol -- and buzzed. No surprise. And no regrets. :)

4: Home for Christmas.
Here's the loot I found under the tree JUST FOR ME. I didn't ask for much, just a few favourites:
Hugo Naturals Energizing Grapefruit Body Lotion, Avalon Organics Vitamin C Serum, a week-at-a-glance datebook, Much Dance 2009, Special Edition Monty Python & the Holy Grail DVD, and The Phantom of the Opera DVD -- starring, of course, my secret boyfriend Gerard Butler.

And here's the picture of my newly-redecorated living room with Tree I promised y'all. Cozy, eh? I love it, and coming down on Christmas Morning to this beautiful vignette with my family was wonderful. Too bad our video camera -- the impulse buy for our 2000 wedding -- crapped out on us.

Anyway, we were happy, the kids were happy, and I really couldn't have asked for a better Christmas. Hope yours was just as swell. :)

Stay warm, stay cool, and rest up... it'll be New Years' Eve before you know it!

Twas the Week Before Christmas.

This quick post is a compilation of all the posts I wanted to send before Christmas. I tried to be short. But at 5'4", I'm pretty much there. This post is much shorter.

It could've been a really bad week -- a REALLY bad week. After all, it started with me running out of green tea bags. I know! How did I survive, right?!

And I was still sick, and now Roomie was sick too.

Oh, and thanks to the cold dump courtesy of the Winter Warlock before Kris gave him the toy train, I actually had to suffer through temperatures way out of my 22C to 27C comfort zone. Stop laughing.

No, I didn't want to leave the house, but with Roomie feeling worse than me, I had to continue my daily duties as chauffeur, lunch lady, and laundress.

You'd think the cold, the illness, and the catastrophic lack of green tea -- and the forced labour in such harrowing conditions -- would get me down.

Noooooooooooo way, man! Really, it could've been worse.

Instead, I focused my remaining healthy cells on enjoying my kids' last week of school before the Holiday Break.

Thursday was Mini's Christmas Sharing Performance, so I wrapped up the banana muffins I volunteered to bake for the event and headed over to the school. Of course, I had in tow a very sniffly Roomie, who wouldn't let fire, the Black Plague, or even the Spanish Inquisition, let alone a bad flu, keep him from watching his little girl sing and dance wearing a candy cane hat.

We got Lam from his classroom so he could join us in watching Mini's Nursery/Kindergarten class perform classics like "Chicken Soup with Rice" and "A - You're Adorable". However, my favourite was "Tony Chestnut" -- a racy song about a love quadrangle between Eileen, Neil, Pat, and Bob -- complete with actions. Don't you just love songs with a touch of controversy?

Needless to say, the kids were adorable beyond words. You can almost hear the ovaries exploding all over the room. Seriously, even for me, it was a close call.

At the end of the show, all the kids were allowed to bring home the life-sized effigies they painted of themselves. Mini's is tacked up on the wall in our foyer. It's a little shocking sometimes, but still cute.

By far, though, my most challenging task of the week was bringing the coins that Mini and her classmates collected for Pennies from Heaven to our local paper. I volunteered to drive the "armoured car".
The almost $700 donated by the kids was up from the regular $400 average they usually do every year, which was a wonderful feat. The coins filled 4 mandarin orange boxes, and they were HEAVY. The boxes in my trunk really helped with traction, but boy, driving across town was certainly nerve-wracking! Luckily, I had my hired goon/bodyguard -- Roomie -- with me, and all went well. Good deed accomplished.

Now, Christmas -- that was another fun week...

Happy Winter Solstice, Ya Hosers! ;)

Happy Winter Solstice!

At exactly 7:04am EST today, we - Northern Hemisphere-ites (yes, it's a word in LifeCandyLand) -- were leaning the furthest away from our Sun, resulting in the shortest day or longest night of our year.

It's too bad really. It's sunny out as I type, and it's beautiful. That sun will be setting by the time I get this post published. I better hurry up.

Oh, this Winter Solstice also marks the beginning of the United Nations International Year of Astronomy.

Okay, did you know that many of the Christmas-y things we do were most likely performed by Pagans on Winter Solstice? Yup, they were adopted by the Christians as a way to overshadow Pagan traditions and convert the "heathens".

Wreaths, evergreens, holly -- all originating from Pagan solstice celebrations called Yule. Sound familiar? And the celebration of the birth of Christ was moved to December to correspond with solstice -- science and scripture points to a Spring birth.

This year, I think we should all consider celebrating the solstice as our ancestors did. (Well, maybe your ancestors -- mine were dancing around naked in the jungle.) Cut mistletoe. Put up wreaths. Decorate an evergreen tree. Light some candles and lanterns.

Oh, you've already done that?... Okay, then! Happy Solstice! ;)

Sorry, this post is a little "all over the place". I'm a touch hungover from drinking 1/2 cup of Max Power's famous tasty yet evil nog at his and Harmzie's Christmas party last night. I don't drink -- except for this annual eggnog. And I pay for it the next day -- every year.
I'm going to crawl under a rock now...

Image by SqueakyMarmot

Is Christmas Still Christmas without the Brain-Melting Stress?

This year, after many years of busting my little Filipino butt for Christmas, I decided to just STOP. Stop and smell the Poinsettias -- and apparently eat them too (thanks, harmzie!) -- and just enjoy the Holidays with my family.

No more taking photos, designing, redesigning, printing, and finally sending out special family greeting cards.
No more writing year-end update letters -- that's what my blog's for, dammit! -- plus I get to save some trees.
No more sending cards to friends who never call/email/send-me-cards or family who only get in touch just to bitch about other family members.
No more putting off setting up the Tree until the other "important" stuff gets done.
No more waiting until last minute sales to finish off Christmas shopping.

Well, so far, so good.

I must admit that, at first, it felt a little weird to be so low-stress about all of this. Where's the insanity? Where's the tension? Where's the drama? It was like I was looking around for the abusive ex-boyfriend. Weird.

Honestly, I'm still freaking out a little because I'm not freaking out! And when I DO freak out, I stop myself and wonder why.

Like when I got sick, I complained "OMG, I can't get sick! Look at all the shopping I still have to do!" Then I remembered that I finished 90% of it before the end of November.

When I check the mailbox and find all the awesome cards from friends and family, I scream "OMG, I still have to get mine out!" Then I remember that, this year, I plan to only send them to those who send us one.

Then "OMG, what about the TREE?!!!" I then remember my promise to Mini to get the living room cleaned up in time for her to set up the tree! See? Here she is putting up the star.

So, yeah, starting to love the low stress, and you know what? It does feel like Christmas -- a different, calmer, less-insane Christmas. A Christmas with the cute, loving, giving hottie instead of the jerk of an abusive ex. Good riddence to him.

I can definitely get used to this.

Clawing My Way Back to the Land of the Living.

Thanks to all my Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and LifeCandy readers for all the "Get Well Soon", "Hope you feel better", and "Stay away from me until you kick this but get better, eh" wishes.

I believe the gods heard you, because this morning, I woke up feeling almost normal.


I still have the nose-river (though less "raging" and more "flowing"), the occasional sneeze, and low energy, but I'm no longer coughing up extra lungs, ripping the skin off my nose, and feeling like I've been kicked all over by the Rockettes.

I wouldn't be surprised if I continue to feel this way into Christmas. There's a 3-/6-week thing making the rounds, and I'm sure that's what I have -- my kids got sick 2 weeks ago, and they're still sniffling.

So, yeah, I think the worst is over... just in time to get out and do all the things I need to do in -- OH CRAP! -- just over a week before Christmas.

In -43C windchill.

No, I'm not exaggerating. Welcome to the Canadian Prairie!

Oh, did I mention that Roomie's sick too? He caught this bug over the weekend.
See, here he is in his pajamas colouring in a colouring book with Mini. Aren't they cute?

Sick and Flicks - Part 2: And the Movies are...

Thanks to everyone for commenting and emailing their responses to my Movie Quote Quiz!

The answers are:

1: Monty Python & the Holy Grail - Tim the Enchanter
2: The Matrix - Morpheus
3: The Simpsons Movie - Ned Flanders
4: Star Wars: A New Hope - Han Solo
5: Bridget Jones' Diary - Mark Darcy
6: The Usual Suspects - Roger 'Verbal' Kint
7: Back to the Future - George McFly
8: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Gandalf
9: The Princess Bride - Miracle Max
10: Raiders of the Lost Ark - Sallah

Congratulations to myrtle for getting 7 out of 10 correct! Wyliekat came in a close second with 6, and Albert got 4 correct!

To receive your prizes, I ask the winners to please email me their addresses... except Albert, whose address I already know as I've been sending him skinned sheep's heads for ages. (No, the prizes are not skinned sheep's heads.)

Sick and Flicks.

If you've been following my tweets or my Facebook status, you know that I've been sick. Stuffy nose, coughing, sneezing, congestion. Yuck.

And through all this yuck, I'm still a mom. I still bundle the kids up, feed them, bring them to school, pick them up again, etc., etc.
Yesterday, I was lucky -- Roomie rushed home in time to pick up the kids from school so I could stay home. He also made dinner, fed the kids, washed dishes, and basically took care of everything. Yes, he's awesome, and he's mine.

Before kids, a sick day for me would be considerably simpler, involving a couch, blankets, hot tea in one hand, remote control in the other, and a movie on tv -- preferably one with Gerard Butler in it, of course.

With movies on the brain -- and because my brain's too mushy for a more insightful post, I've decided to give you a Movie Quote Quiz.

I'll give you 10 movie quotes, and you tell me which movie each quote's from. Just post your responses in the comments, listing the movie title with the number.
For example...
1: Ishtar
3: The Wedding Planner
8: American Beauty

The one who gets the most right just might get a prize. (nb: it won't be a book -- I'm tired of sending books -- it'll be a surprise.)

Easy, eh? Okay. Oh, and NO CHEATING!

Answers will be revealed on Friday, December 12, 8amCDT.

Alright, let's begin:

1: "Follow. But. Follow only if ye be men of valour, for the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair. So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth."

2: "Do you believe that my being stronger or faster has anything to do with my muscles in this place? Do you think that's air you're breathing now?"

3: "Ok, boys, when you meet Jesus, be sure to call Him Mr. Christ."

4: "Look, Your Worshipfulness, let's get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person: me."

5: "I realize that when I met you at the turkey curry buffet, I was unforgivably rude, and wearing a reindeer jumper."

6: "You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, poof. He's gone."

7: "Last night, Darth Vader came down from planet Vulcan and told me that if I didn't take Lorraine out that he'd melt my brain."

8: "They have taken the bridge and the second hall. We have barred the gates but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes, drums... drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow lurks in the dark. We can not get out... they are coming."

9: "The King's stinking son fired me, and thank you so much for bringing up such a painful subject. While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it? We're closed."

10: "Asps. Very dangerous. You go first."

Okay, go!

My Sister Likes 'Em Big.


My sister Ning likes big letters. What'd ya think I meant?

When I asked if she had a chance to read my blog, she said that the letters were too small for her to read. I told her to get glasses. But she's my sister, and I can say that to her -- she'll just tell me to shut up... even though she knows I'm right. ;)
(Her optometrist told her she didn't need glasses for far vision, but her near vision is slowly crappin' out on her.)

But what about my other readers who also like 'em big?

I can't tell you to get glasses -- you'll email me and call me a bitch -- which I would totally deserve... for many other reasons too... but still, we want to avoid that, right? :)

So, I've increased the font size of the blog.

Please let me know what you think...
Was it okay before? Is it okay now? Do you prefer the smaller font or the larger font?

Lemme know. Thanks!

Update: December 11, 2008
Thanks for all of your comments and emails! Based on your suggestions, I've decided to just increase the size of the font on the posts, navigation bar, and upper sidebar. The rest I'll keep at the small size.
I won't be changing the font itself -- I like Trebuchet. Lots.

The Holiday Season is Insane, as I will soon be.

As you may have noticed, I haven't been a-bloggin' much. Sorry. I've been trying. If I could show you my list of half finished posts on Blogger, I would, but that would totally spoil the surprise. Suffice it to say that you will be inundated with posts as soon as I get time to hammer them out.

You have been warned.

Meanwhile, yes, very busy. The many Christmas festivities at Lam and Mini's school started this week and will continue until the 19th. I admit it's been fun, but with that, Roomie's work party, 2 kids' birthday parties, and the numerous soirees held by friends this time of year, it's hard keeping the schedule straight.
As soon as I hear about an event, I have to write it down on the calendar IMMEDIATELY or risk forgetting about it all together. My calendar from Costco -- the best $8 investment EVER!

One consolation (and major thing off my to-do list) is that I'm almost done Christmas shopping. Just the 2 big gifts for the kids left. (But I won't tell you what they are yet, because the older one reads my blog from time to time -- I know, scary -- and the younger one will bug the older one until he tells her.)

Anyway, back to busy. After moving around heavy pieces of furniture on Tuesday, I had to haul my ass-kicked ass (more on that in a later post) and the smaller, fitter asses of my family to the school's Gingerbread House night.

For one hour, we assembled and decorated the houses in a manner that would make a very-much-alive Mike Holmes roll around in his grave -- yes, the horror will resonate that far into the future.

But the kids had lots of fun, Roomie had a chance to chat with his buddy Max Power, and I hooked up with Harmzie and the other moms.
As much as I complained about being dragged outside of my hermit-like existence on such a chilly night, I loved connecting with the folks in my community. I went to private school, and my parents avoided associating much with non-filipinos, so I never had this "belonging to a community" feeling as a kid. And I wish I had. So, yeah, I'm doing this for my kids -- and me.

Anyway, here are their masterpieces:

Thursday was the Santa Breakfast. Pancakes and sausages. Mini loved the "sap" (her name for maple syrup), and of course, she snarfed down the sausages. She's such a carnivore. Lam's class choir sang. He was awesome -- of course!

The kids didn't seem up to chatting with Santa. Don't know why. See? Look. They stood a safe distance away. No lap-sitting for these two. No, sir. Santa's a shady dude. No swanky red suit and promises of toys will sway my kids. No way. They're suspicious folk.

Gettin' Busy in the Livingroom.

Okay, this past summer, I had some grand plans to makeover my livingroom. I shifted a bunch of stuff around, and it ended up like this:

Then, I lost my decorating mojo.

Actually, I became delusional. I'd convinced myself that I'd done so much work, that I truly deserved a break. Pfft. Look at the Before Shot -- I was really basking in the glow of Minor-Crap-Shufflage (it's a word).

Nothing changed until about a week later, when that pile of crap on the left suddenly doubled in size. Then the kids needed new booster seats, so the old ones were brought in -- yeah, brought in (and yeah, we're idiots) -- and dumped on top of that junk. Then add about 8 boxes of stuff from Roomie's mom's house.

We started to really hate that room. It became the place no one wanted to be in. Where you'd send yourself to be punished. The place where evil things from the '70s lived.

Until yesterday.

Once again armed with grand plans to put up the Christmas Tree in front of the window -- promising Mini that we'd do it this weekend... yes, I like to live on the edge -- I did some MAJOR shuffling. By the evening, I had it down to this:

Today, I secured the shelves to the wall -- our kids are stealthy climbing ninja monkeys -- and put back the books. Now, it looks like this:

As you can see, the area under the window is cleared for the Tree. The room feels wider. And now you can really see our eclectic bohemian way of decorating, which is our way of saying "no real decorating style".

Yes, you may now applaud.