Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Shake Hands with the Devil

I'm currently reading this book, and it's just so powerful that it deserved its own post instead of being lumped in with my trivia about my family.

For anyone who's not familiar with it, it's the story of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, written by the Canadian Lt-general who was commander of the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda. Obviously you're not going to have actual pictures in a book of this type, but believe me, Romeo Dallaire creates incredibly vivid images with just words. There was one line I read today in a description of the aftermath of an attack that just disturbed me to no end, to the point where I was scooping up my little baby and kissing her and telling her how much I love her. I won't even repeat the line here, because I think it might be that upsetting to some people (but if you have a strong constitution and you're curious, ask me about it in the comments or in an email)

Reading today about how Dallaire desperately needed troops and supplies and got neither because no one was interested in Rwanda made me stop and think. However unpopular the decision to send Canadian troop to Afghanistan (or anywhere else) may be, once that decision has been made and Canadians have been deployed, we have a responsibility to them. It just boggles my mind that the UN decided it was worth sending peacekeepers to Rwanda but then was unwilling to provide them with the support to carry out their mission. That member countries refused to send troops when the genocide started and the Belgian troops were ordered to withdraw. It's a little late now to get upset and say that governments and organizations could/should have done more, but maybe there's a lesson that can be learned from that terrible, terrible situation.

I'm also left wondering why I didn't know more about this when it happened. I know I was in first year university, and was quite submerged in my own little world, but is that the only reason? Or were we just not being given the whole story?

My thoughts on this book and this story are a little incoherent. Maybe I'll post again when they're a little clearer.

What a man, what a man, what a man

I am lucky enough to be married to a great cook. I'm not too proud to admit he's a better cook than I am. For one thing, he's not afraid to try new things, and to play around with a recipe. Me, I won't even make a pasta sauce if I don't have the type of pasta recommended by the cookbook. Ryan has a very high tolerance for spicy food, so he's gotten into Thai and Indian cooking, with incredibly tasty results. However, he outdid himself this past weekend. First was Ginger Chicken, which he's made before. It never ceases to amaze me that I actually like this because I don't much like ginger, and this dish is FULL of it. Then it was Red Curry Chicken with Pineapple. That may be the first time a food has moved me to profanity. It was that good.

So, illness is sweeping my family. First it was Sammie, who woke us up a week ago Sun by throwing up in the bathtub. This past Saturday it was Hailey's turn - we thought we heard one of the kids cough, then we heard footsteps. It was Sammie, trying to find us to tell us Hailey threw up. Change the sheets, change the kid, back to bed, everything's okay. Until we hear crying through the night on Sunday. Ryan goes to the big girls' room to investigate and I hear him call my name, at the same time Hailey is telling him, "I fwowed up!" Funny note here - Sammie was still sleeping, so Ryan carried her to our bed to sleep there while we cleaned up. Once all was well, he moved her back. She woke up just as Ryan was asking Hailey if she'd had her teeth brushed yet. Hailey said no, and Sammie piped up with, "Yes we did!" Anyway, Monday was Rylee's turn. She threw up at least three times during the day. I finally called Telehealth Ontario, who recommended an oral rehydration solution. I figured she'd be alright and didn't bother. At 1 am she woke up crying, I fed her, and she threw up all over us both again. So at 2 am I took off for a 24 hour drugstore to buy pediatric electrolyte solution, and was up until about 3:30. Thank goodness The Hour is on at 3 am - I have a small crush on George Stromboloupoulous so he made it worth being awake at that time.

Friday, February 23, 2007

My girl

Tonight Sammie went to the Rangers game with her daddy, who just got home from Montreal. They came home a little bit early because poor little Samster was falling asleep in her seat! Ryan is playing hockey tonight, so he brought Sammie in, got his stuff and left again, leaving me with some one on one time with Sam. I don't get a lot of that these days, with two more demanding little ones to take care of. I feel bad about that sometimes. She's only four, she still needs cuddles and hugs with Mommy. But because she's the oldest, she's the "big kid" and doesn't get as much of that affection. Of course, she got way more as a baby than the other two have because she had my undivided attention. Anyway, she curled up on the couch while I chatted with Ryan for a couple of minutes, then I went to her and put her on my lap. We cuddled like that for a little while, then got her pyjamas on and said prayers, and I carried her up to bed. That hasn't happened in a VERY long time, because I'm usually carrying Rylee. It was just so nice to have that time with her tonight. She never complains about not getting my attention, or about not getting cuddle time, but I know she loved getting it tonight. And so did I.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Notes on a Scandal

Okay, let's say Jane and John Doe divorce after two years of marriage and two small children. Now let's say rumour starts circulating that Jane, who is fighting John for custody of the two small children, has been partying it up and flashing her womanly bits, and has checked in and out of rehab three times. In less than a week. Tell me Family and Children's Services would not be knocking on her door to investigate. And if the rumours were true? John would SO have custody.

Now, let's call Jane, oh, I don't know, Britney. And we'll call John Kevin. And instead of rumours, it's documented fact that she is out partying, letting everyone know she's going commando, checking in and out of rehab and shaving her head on an impulse that she almost immediately regrets. How is it that those boys are still living with her? Now, a friend has pointed out to me that while she may be the custodial parent, she is almost certainly not the primary caregiver, and in that case, as long as the nannies aren't indulging in the behaviour described above, she's okay.

I'm just saying.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wow, my posts look weird without titles

Another quick post - there are chores to be done, a kid to be picked up from the bus and Ash Wednesday services to attend (so maybe I should change out of my track pants and t-shirt) but I had to share.

I was grocery shopping yesterday (which is SO much better with only the child who can't run off - thank you sweetheart for taking over the other two, not that he reads my blog) and found a bread called Finland Rye. Now, Finland is where I discovered rye bread, and though it's not my favourite, I couldn't resist. It really seems like all kinds of things are bringing up Finland lately, so I decided it's a sign. Today I had some. I couldn't have it with my favourite toppings (summer sausage and dill pickles) so I made do with my second favourite - butter and Havarti cheese. I wasn't even sure that was the same kind of cheese, but once I bit into, I knew - oh, it so was the right cheese. There is NO way eating that on a regular basis is going to help me lose weight, but holy crap it was good. I bought summer sausage yesterday too, so I'll have that tomorrow (no meat today).

Still trying to figure out what to give up for Lent. I thought about giving up procrastinating, but maybe I'll do that next year :)Since it starts today, I should probably figure it out soon.

My grandmother is doing okay - she had chemo on Sat and still isn't sick from it. She may be released from hospital soon, but my mom and her siblings don't think she's okay to take care of herself, so they're looking into options. And our friend Chris (he of the head trauma) has been sent home! Yay Chris!

My kitchen is about the only room in my house that doesn't stress me out right now. It's the only one that doesn't feel cluttered or messy, which is something considering the girls and I made banana cake and banana muffins this week. Yes, there's a theme there - R and I both bought a bunch of bananas a day apart and they had to get used up before they went bad. There's a limit to how many bananas a family can eat just as bananas, and we were about at that limit. The cake and muffins all turned out very well.

Tonight is Lost and American Idol, as well as Little Mosque on the Prairie. I'm not in love with that last one, but Colin Mochrie is guest starring tonight, so I may have to check it out. I was SO mad that House was a re-run last night! Last week's Lost was really good, in my opinion, so I'm looking forward to tonight. Something to keep me company with R in Montreal. Again.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Quick notes from a non-functioning brain

Too tired for a real post - Sammie was sick on the weekend, Rylee slept through the night on Saturday night (like from about 8 pm Sat to 7 am Sun), Hailey has decided she wants to be a doctor when she grows up (maybe I should tell her she can't be a doctor if she doesn't PEE ON A TOILET, the kid still does not want to use a toilet, no matter what approach I use)

Took the girls to visit my grandma again on Fri - she's not doing so well. There was some discussion about when (and, I think, if) Mim's chemo should start up again. Apparently round 2 started on Sat and she's doing okay. I haven't talked to my mom since she got home so I don't have any details yet.

Okay, I'm too tired to type. When you have to retype every word, and some words more than once, you should just go to bed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hyvaa Ystavanpaiva!

That's Finn for Happy Friends Day, which is what they call Valentine's Day. I thought it was fabulous when I was there. I don't know how the holiday evolved differently in Finland than it did here, but the focus is really on friendship, and people make an effort to spend time with friends and show appreciation for them, rather than romantic partners.

So, in honour of Friends Day, I am publicly showing appreciation for my friends, most of whom probably won't even read this, but I'll feel good knowing I told anyone who stops by here what great friends I have.

Daph - my best American friend and the one who shared that bizarro year in Finland with me. After all this time, we are still close and there are still parts of me that don't get shared with anyone but you. Although our lives have gone in different directions, although we live in different time zones and different countries, you are still one of my best friends. The best thing to come out of my year away was my friendship with you. You got me through that year (well, we got each other through it, I think), and you've never stopped being there for me. "You're my best friend!"

Ismail, Darren, Monica, Shelley and Mel - the rest of the exchange student crew. You were also instrumental in helping me smile when Finland got to be too much. I'm so glad we're finally all in touch again, and would love to see you again sometime.

Sean, Kirby, Andrew, Jodi, Jess - my UW, V2 buddies. I felt so adrift when I came back from Finland. I had been part of such a close-knit group of friends, then came home and felt like I didn't fit in anywhere. Then I moved into North Quad and met all of you. We had an absolute blast over the next five years. I wish we were all still in the same city sharing the next chapter of our lives. Although we've drifted apart, you are still very important to me. You supported me through a lot of student years stupidity and shared many many good times. Hopefully some are still ahead.

Carrie, Marn, Kath - my fellow hockey widows. My mom told me that when she and my dad moved far from their families, their friends became their families. In the last six or seven years we have shared milestones like weddings, funerals, christenings and first homes, and ordinary fun stuff like camping trips, Oktoberfest, Rangers and Leafs games and ski trips. You have become my sisters. I don't know what I'd do without you.

Sarah, Christine and Jessica - my Highland buddies. I don't miss the drive to Cambridge, but I do miss working with you. I'm so glad we've kept in touch and still hang out.

Deb and Tanya - some of the best parts of the last school year were hanging out in the basement with you two, talking books and classroom management and coping strategies. I think both of you are fabulous teachers and your students are lucky to have dedicated, caring, giving professionals like you working with them. I love working with both of you (which is good, considering how closely Tanya and I have had to work!) and hope you stick around for a good long time.

Hey, maybe I should tell these people how much they mean, instead of just telling whoever happens by my blog. I think I'll go do that now.

Newsy post...sort of

Not much is new around here. Hailey's cast is off, but she still holds her arm like it's on sometimes, and she's still using her left hand to eat (she was using the right pretty consistently before she broke that arm) Rylee's sleep patterns were pretty messed up for a week or so, but she's getting back on track now. She had her four month immunizations yesterday, and was pretty darn cranky about it, but is better now. Sammie's bus was cancelled today due to weather but she still wanted to go to school, so I dropped her off and picked her up.

We went to see my Mim in Windsor last weekend. She didn't look as bad as I was expecting, which is good news. She was just being moved from orthopedics back to oncology when we arrived. I can't figure out if that's good or not. I'm choosing to believe she was moved because the doctors think she's strong enough for the second round of chemo, in which case it's good that she was moved. While we were there, my aunt told us there was a birthday party that afternoon for my cousin's son, so we stopped by there too. Most of my aunts and uncles were there, including my uncle who lives in Florida, and a couple of my cousins were there too, so it was a great visit. None of them had seen Rylee yet, so they were thrilled that we stopped by. My cousin Ami would have kicked my butt from here to next week if she'd found out I was in Windsor and didn't call her, so it's good she was at the birthday party.

I'm keeping busy just trying to take care of the little ones and keep the house from being a complete and utter disaster. It took pretty much until yesterday to finally recover from having been away for a week and alone for a couple of weeks before that - there was so much laundry, and so much mess. I finally have most of it put away, and the rooms are tidied up, so I'm ready for round 2, or 5 or whatever we're at now. Ryan will be away for a couple of days again in the next week or so, which means I'm likely to get behind again.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

She's a trooper!

That's how the surgeon described my grandmother after her very successful surgery on her hip tonight. She was apparently awake and talking and generally doing well, and all the medical professionals are quite happy with how everything went and how she's doing now. I feel so relieved. Thanks to anyone who said prayers to whatever higher power you believe in. It worked.

On est de retour!

Our vacation in Quebec was fabulous. Colder than cold needs to be, stupid-cold, but tonnes of fun. It turns out my terrified-of-skating daughter is a natural if you strap a pair of skiis on her feet! Who knew? The kid FREAKS out when we try to get her to skate, but skiing was a whole nother story.

Before we even went Ryan mentioned something to Sam about teaching her to ski, to which she loftily replied, "I already know how to ski. I saw some people do it on TV." (so then why can't you skate, was my thought, but never mind!) So we arrive in Beaupre on Sat too early to check into our chalet, so we drive the few minutes to Mont Ste Anne to check it out. We show Sammie the bunny hill and ask if she'd like to try skiing while we're there. She ended up throwing a fit because she couldn't go skiing THAT MINUTE. She was pretty ticked that she had to wait.

On Sun we went to Quebec City for Carnaval, and there was this little wee hill set up where kids could borrow ski equipment and try skiing, even have a short lesson, all for free. We asked Sam if she wanted to try it and she said yes, so Ryan signed her up. I thought for sure she'd throw a fit when she got those bulky boots on, and then the skiis, but she took to it like the proverbial duck to water. She did a run or two with Ryan, then climbed all over a snow drift in her ski boots, then took off for her lesson. I kept waiting for her to break down, but I don't think she ever stopped smiling.

We signed her up for a group lesson at Mont Ste Anne for Thurs morning. She ended up being the only kid signed up, so she had a one-on-one lesson for two and a half hours, during which she had a blast. The instructor kept telling us she was a natural, and was amazed at how much energy she had. Two and a half hours is a long time for a four year old to be out skiing in sub-zero temperatures, but she never slowed down and never stopped smiling. The only trouble was that the instructor couldn't get her to try turning, because, "I just like going fast!" So I think the 2010 Vancouver Olympics are a little too soon, but watch for her in 2014! (Okay, she'll only be 12, maybe 2022 is more realistic)

Other than the skiing, we did some sightseeing, went to a hockey game and spent lots of time at Carnaval (huge outdoor winter festival, for Daph and any others who may not be familiar with it) The temperature never went above 0 degrees Celsius but we had warm clothes and were fine, even Rylee, who slept through most of Carnaval.

Ryan was in Montreal for work the week before we left, so we decided I should just drive there and meet him, which meant a 7 hour drive by myself with the kids. I broke it up by driving to my parents' house on Thurs. The kids were awesome on the drive, Rylee slept and the other two watched a movie (I think - it's all running together now). On Fri morning I loaded them up and drove for about 3 hours, when I stopped because Sammie and I were getting hungry (Rylee and Hailey were sleeping). After a good long stop, we got back in the van and drove to Montreal, with not a peep from the baby. It was great for me, and I heartily thank whoever created those DVD players that go in your vehicle! On Sat we drove to Quebec, and Rylee only started crying when we were leaving Quebec City, about 4 hours after her last feeding. It was awesome.

The drive home SUCKED!!!!!!! It was probably the worst weather I've ever driven through, not that I was driving, and just when the weather got better, Hailey decided she'd had enough (we'd been on the road about 9 hours at this point) and just started wigging out. She was crying and turning away M&M's and 12 Dancing Princesses, and telling me she loved me and saying she wanted Daddy, who was right in front of her. I got pretty scared, but I think it was just too much driving and not enough sleep. She slept soundly that night and has been fine ever since.

So that was our holiday. The night we got home a watermain broke and we were supposed to be boiling our water as a precaution, only we didn't know, but we're all okay. I found out when I got home from Sammie's gymnastics class on Mon morning and there was a message from someone who works with my neighbour at Rogers Television, asking if he could talk to me on camera about my experience with it. He talked me into it, so I was on local TV last night (with Rylee).

Now for the downer (assuming anyone is still reading at this point)...my grandmother has very advanced non-Hodgkins lymphoma - stage 4 I believe. She has started chemo and didn't get too sick, but she fell and broke her hip in an ill-fated attempt to prove she could get around on her own so she could go home. She also has blood clots in her leg, so she had surgery this afternoon to put in a filter so the clots can't get to her heart. She should be in surgery this minute to put a pin in her hip. My mom is supposed to call as soon as she hears how the surgery went. We don't really have a prognosis at this point, but it doesn't look good. I will likely post again after I hear from my mom.

And how was YOUR week?