Sunday, December 30, 2007


I love them.
Andrew hates them.
But he is such a good husband that he put his personal views aside and bought me a pair for Christmas.  Tall.  Chocolate brown.  Just what I wanted.  But, oh the drama that has revolved around these boots since Christmas morning.

Andrew knows I wear a size 8, so logically he bought me a size 8.  No one told him that UGG boots should be purchased one size smaller than the usual size of the wearer, as they should be snug, allowing them to properly mold to the wearer's feet.  I knew when I put them on, and began dancing around the house, that I needed a size 7.  I didn't want to admit it, but I knew.  On December 26th I began making phone calls.  It seems every shop in all of Canada is depleted of UGGs...  What to do?  What to do?  Desperate to wear my new boots, but not willing to risk hating them in a week because they are too big, I needed a solution, and waiting until mid-January when new shipments were due to arrive was not an option.  My mom is here for a few days visiting, and we ventured off to the mall today in search of an answer.  Every shop we went to had one, maybe two pairs left... Size 5... Size 9... Then I found them.  Size 7... not chocolate brown, but chestnut.  Lovely, but I just wasn't quite "feeling it", so I left them, and walked around with Mom and the babies for another hour.  We were having some lunch when I was overcome with the realization that I NEEDED those size 7 chestnut UGGs.  I think I reached this epiphany at the same moment Mom said:  "Maybe you just weren't meant to have UGGs.".  I couldn't bear the thought.  I walked, well, ran back to the store, and as I rounded the corner I saw her.  A very pretty girl holding MY BOOT.  I knew they were the only ones left.  My heart began to race. I could feel my face getting hot.  I broke a sweat.  She literally examined every inch of that boot for what felt like an hour, but was probably only 10 seconds.  She slowly put the boot down, and took one step back to examine it from a slight distance.  I  knew what she was doing.  I knew what I had to do.  I didn't even hesitate (not like me at all).  I snatched up the boot, walked directly to the cashier and proclaimed:  "I'll take these.".  I truly believed the pretty girl was going to smack me/tackle me/do something awful to me on my way out of the shop.  I didn't care.  I have lovely tall chestnut UGGs, and they fit like a dream.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Fancy Pants.

I really enjoy cozying up with a nice fashion magazine.  I always have.  When I was a teenage girl my bedroom walls were covered with pages cut out of fashion magazines.  Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Benetton ads were particular favourites.  I love looking at the glossy pages filled with beautiful clothing, accessories and makeup.  I particularly enjoy looking at the prices in high end fashion magazines.  My favourite magazine by far is Harper's Bazaar.  It is big, it is glossy, and it is completely out of my league.  But during the 20 minutes it takes for me to peruse it, I pretend I am in that league.  By the time I close the back cover I have usually convinced myself that I would look great in the $753 Cinzia Rocca trench with the Elie Tahari top for $448 and Blumarine shorts for $625, and that outfit would just NOT be complete without the Bottega Veneta bag for $31,200.

Tonight, as I flipped through the January 2008 issue I was slapped in the face.  Glenda Bailey, Editor in Chief herself may as well have arrived at my front door, pointing at me while laughing and saying:  "YOU are reading MY magazine?  How DARE you!".

All because my eyes were transfixed on a very unique Dolce & Gabbana bag, and when I looked below the bag to see the price, I found the following words:  

price upon request

It is so crazy-insane they can't even put it in print...



Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Beautiful Little Things.

I remember when I was in my twenties, visiting people's homes who had little children, and thinking:  "How can they stand having all of this 'kid's stuff' around?".  I would scowl at the toys, clothing, feeding and (yuck, potty) items strewn about their homes.  I remember thinking:  "Eeew, they must just hate having to live like this.".  It just all seemed so messy, and the bright, primary colours predominately found in children's items certainly weren't showcased in any home decor magazines.  Now when I go to people's homes who don't have young children I miss those little bursts of colour.  The sippy cups on the floor.  The sound of Cheerios crunching under foot.

I love my brightly coloured, child-item-filled home.


Monday, December 24, 2007

They LIKE me!

I do enjoy writing Clinka's Apples.  It is like writing in a diary, but the diary has an audience.  It is also nice, as a theatre graduate, to have an audience.  On my drive home I started to think about my "regular readers" (I assume there are somewhere between 5 and 10 of them out there - it is difficult to be certain as I am sure there are some people who aren't comfortable leaving comments - or, if I only count those who write comments, I have about four regular readers) and I wondered if they were beginning to wonder if I would be posting today.  It was nice to think that people might be out there looking for a new post.  It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.  I then began to imagine that I would come home to a slew of comments... readers BEGGING and PLEADING for a new post.  There are a couple of blogs I read regularly, and I check them every day.  When there is a new post it is like receiving a wonderful gift.  As soon as I see a new title or photo I feel like a little girl on Christmas morning.  I have the same reaction when I see a new comment on my blog.  It is probably the desperate actress in me, but I love the applause.

Thank you for the applause, Merry Christmas to you, and love & happiness for the New Year...


Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's oh so quiet...

On a lazy summer morning Andrew and I woke up feeling very well-rested.  Julian and Nora were sleeping a little later than usual.  We lazed about for a while, when I began to realize that Julian really must be awake by now.  But it was oh, so quiet.  I have learned during my three years of motherhood that "quiet" actually isn't a good thing.  It usually means someone is doing something they really shouldn't be doing.  Suddenly I remembered that the night before Julian's bottom was a bit sore, so I had used some trusty diaper cream on him.  I then remembered that I forgot to take it out of his room.  With this realization I ran to his room as quickly as I could.  Judging by the sight of him, I was about 20 minutes too late.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

They're Everywhere!

I find them in the strangest places.
In my car.
Under my couch.
In my bed.
In my pockets.
A few weeks ago I brought Julian to daycare in the morning, and we were having our final "mommy, one-more-hug-and-kiss" good-bye, when a Cheerio, literally, fell off of him/out of him, who knows...  His teacher said "Julian, did you have Cheerios for breakfast?" 
He hadn't.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Guilt Gifts.

It happens to me every year.  I am warmed by the kindness and generosity of others, and yet I somehow manage to fall into a pit of guilt at the same time.  With every lovely, thoughtful Christmas card I receive I feel more and more awful for not taking the time to send Christmas cards this year.  My original plan for my handmade button wreaths was to give one to each of the little children at Julian and Nora's daycare.  I have since learned that at their new daycare the children don't exchange Christmas gifts.  So, I found myself with twenty-odd button wreaths in search of new homes.  Obviously I would give one to each member of our immediate family (and my favourite wreath has taken up residence on our own Christmas tree).  I have since been having a major internal struggle over who the remaining button wreaths should go to.  Since I am now back at work I should really give some to the lovely people I work with... but certainly not to ALL of them.  And what if one person at work sees that another person received a button wreath, but they did not receive one - surely they would feel slighted.  I must give one to the neighbour who inspired me to make them in the first place... but, does that mean I have to give them to ALL of my neighbours?  Where do I draw the line?  Only those who are ONE house away get wreaths?  If you are TWO houses down I guess you're out of luck.  I should give one to each of Julian and Nora's teachers.  And the secretaries.  But, what about the girl who isn't really one of the teachers, but is always there when I drop off Nora and is always so kind to us?  What about the "surprise gift" person - the person who you would never expect to receive a gift from, who shocks you with a thoughtful and sweet gesture - well certainly they are deserving of a wreath.  I am also finding when you take so much time and effort to create something by hand you become very attached to it.  I hate to think of someone opening the package, and thinking:  "You've GOT to be kidding me.  Surely she doesn't think we are actually going to hang this THING on our tree...".  And then what if they think that they HAVE to hang it on the tree or I'll be upset if I happen to stop by for a visit and notice that my button wreath is nowhere to be seen.

Next year I think I'll just sell them on Etsy.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This is getting messy...

I wish I could say that day two went better than day one.. but it really just got kinda, well... worse.  The actual "day" was okay... no run-ins with wild animals, etc.  After the children were snuggled in their beds for the night we realized we needed some groceries.  Andrew was busy marking, so I volunteered for the task.  I thought I would sneak in a little Christmas shopping while I was out, and went to buy Andrew a treat.  It wasn't expensive, and as I was in the process of paying with my debit card the rude little man behind the counter practically yelled, loud enough for the entire store to hear:  
"Your card has been declined." 
Me:  "What?"
Him:  "It says you are over your limit."
Me:  "But that isn't possible."
Him:  "That is what the machine says."
Silence... Stares... Me very red in the face handing him a different card, paying, leaving.

After phoning Andrew to ensure he hadn't bought me a MAJOR expensive gift on the card without telling me, I immediately phoned the bank to see what was going on.  It seems someone copied, or otherwise compromised my card, and withdrew $400.00 earlier that day from a bank machine in the big city...

For some reason I took this all very personally, and was awake until 3am thinking about it.  

I think I'm over it now.


Monday, December 17, 2007

The first day.

Today was my first day back in the land of work.  It was also the day after a major, major snowstorm.  I woke up exactly when I wanted to, showered, made myself as pretty as possible for 6:30am.  I could hear the sound of spinning tires outside of my home.  When I looked out the window I discovered that cars were stranded everywhere.  Andrew went outside and began helping to push neighbour's cars to the main road which had been plowed.  He was outside for 45 minutes, and helped five cars find their way out.  I drive a very, very tiny car.  Andrew was certain I wouldn't be going back to the land of work today.  It took him, and five other neighbourhood men 10 minutes to get the car out to the main road.  Andrew left for work.  After feeding and dressing Julian and Nora, we were off to make the trek around the block.  I knew this wasn't going to go well.  I was carrying Nora, and five bags of daycare stuff and work stuff.  I always hold Julian's hand when we walk (as he thinks it is hilarious to run away from me) but that was not an option, as my hands were more than full.  He was very good, and walked close behind me.  He must have sensed the impending danger...  We were half way to the car when I saw a big, Husky dog running towards us.  I immediately looked for his owner, who was nowhere to be found.  The dog began circling Julian, the way an animal does just before they attack (at least, from what I've seen in the movies, and when my sista was bit by a dog when we were little).  I kept yelling:  "Julian, don't move!  Don't touch him!", and tried to "shoo" the dog away.  Nora was so frightened by my yelling she dropped her soother in the snow, and then began to cry.  Just when I was about to throw myself at the dog's mercy, and break down in tears in the midde of the sidewalk, a neighbour came to our rescue and chased the dog away from us.  We finally made it around the block, where we encountered yet another obstacle.  We had to get from the sidewalk to our car on the street, but standing in our way was a HUGE snowbank.  By this point I was beginning to loose all sensation in my arms from carrying Nora and the bags.  I heaved myself (which included Nora and the bags) over the snowbank.  I began to BEG Julian to climb up the snowbank.  Julian just stared at me.  Blank expression.  Time stood still.  Finally Julian said:  "Mommy, I go this way..." and made his way through a nicely cleared path, directly beside the mountain I climbed.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nice Bamboo.

I grew up on a farm.  My mother maintains a beautiful lawn and numerous gardens.  My father has a huge vegetable garden, and makes jam from his very own fruit trees.  I really like plants.  I like gardening.  I like garden shops.  I am actually quite good at gardening outdoors, but I really can't keep a plant alive within my home.  I  tend to neglect them completely, and then overcompensate by dousing them with water.  Then there are my Bamboo.  Bamboo and I have a special relationship.  They don't ask for much, and that is exactly what I am prepared to give...


Thursday, December 13, 2007

What's under your bed?

With only a few days of freedom left, I spent one entire day this week cleaning.  Not just a light dusting... I'm talking down and dirty disinfecting and sanitizing.  Most people who know me well consider me to be "neat and tidy" or some say "obsessive compulsive" when it comes to how I like to keep my home.  Little do they know (until now) that there are some areas I really can't be bothered with cleaning.  A major area of neglect is under our bed.  I regularly vacuum under Julian and Nora's beds, but our bed is very low to the ground, and I actually have to lie down on the floor to properly vacuum under it.  No thanks.  Because I knew this would be the last "hard core" cleaning session my home would receive for a while I swallowed my pride, and got down on my belly, with a slight sense of apprehension, to tackle whatever was lurking under there.  This is what I discovered:

a sippy cup with water
a "Cars" car - Lightning McQueen, to be exact
dental floss
a "Mega Blocks" block
a rolled up piece of orange construction paper - which turned out to be a project from one of Andrew's students
diaper cream

I began to think it would be interesting to psychoanalyze (or completely judge) people based on what items can be found under their bed.  I then began to wonder what the items under our bed say about us:

"Subjects have well hydrated children, with rash-free bottoms who are permitted to play wherever they choose.  Subjects take pride in having healthy teeth and gums, but one of the Subjects often misplaces items of importance.  Subject's friends and family are under the impression that Subjects are very clean, organized people when, in actuality, they are just a little bit gross."


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bye-Bye Babushka.

I have always told myself I would never become one of "those moms".  The ones you see on makeover shows who ensure their children look wonderful, but in the process lose all sense of fashion and self-respect, and eventually give up on themselves all-together.  As a rule I do not leave the house without at least putting on a little powder, blush and lip gloss.  I don't own a pair of jogging pants on purpose - as I know on many cold mornings I would be tempted to actually wear them out of the house.  

My big fashion "no-no" over the past year at home has become my babushka.  I have always had a babushka.  It began as a way to keep my hair off of my face when washing up in the morning or before bed.  Later I found it handy during house cleaning sessions to keep my hair out of my eyes as I scoured and scrubbed.  I have also convinced myself it looks "cute" with a bikini in the summer.  This year it somehow crept into my daily wardrobe.  Now when I walk into the house after dropping Julian off at daycare I immediately remove my watch and rings, and I put on my trusty babushka.  I own two of them, one orange, one blue, both are very bright and covered with colourful flowers.  The first time Nora saw me without my babushka, and with my hair worn down and styled instead of pulled back in it's usual bun, she looked at me like I was a complete stranger.  I reached an all-time-low this summer when I actually wore one out to the mall with my family.  Even worse, we decided to have our picture taken in a photo booth that day, so the moment is forever captured, and displayed on our fridge.

I will miss my dear babushka when I return to the land of work.  I will take comfort in the fact that it will be waiting for me, along with three smiling faces, when I return home every day.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Don't Drink & Craft.

I am making - I should say - Julian and I are making button wreaths as Christmas gifts for his and Nora's little friends at daycare.  "We" worked on them all day Saturday.  Julian was FAR more interested in watching Treehouse cartoons than making button wreaths.  After we put the children to bed, I thought I would enjoy a glass of red wine and finish the wreaths.  I have a VERY low tolerance for alcohol, as over the last 3 1/2 years I have either been pregnant or breast feeding, and very rarely am I able to enjoy a nice glass of wine.  After 1/2 of a glass, I was a complete disaster.  My teeth were grey, I was talking nonsense, and I started to get nasty as my hand was sore from threading the buttons onto the wire.  When I finished the last wreath at midnight I decided to write a blog about my wreath-making-experience.  Thankfully I save all of my blog entries as drafts to be reviewed before I post them.  I had to re-write the entire entry.  This is how the initial, unedited blog ended:  "The little buggers at daycare better like these button wreaths."


Monday, December 10, 2007

Well, I think it's cool.

The other day I was emptying a box of baby wipes into the linen closet, when Julian picked up the empty box, put it on his head and marched around saying (once again):  "I am a Robot, my name is Durse.".  Of course he couldn't see where he was going, and was doing this march along the upstairs hallway - making an already paranoid mother very nervous.  I was feeling creative so we brought the box downstairs where I spent an hour turning it into the best robot-head EVER!  I covered it in paper, cut out a spot to see out of, drew his favourite things on it (including a butterfly, ladybug, tree, flower, and a fish) and wrote DURSE on the forehead.  

It has been sitting, untouched on the kitchen table ever since.  At least it has given Nora something to look at while she eats her toast.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Hip-Hop Holiday...

Nanny and Pop sent Julian and Nora Christmas cards - very cute and so thoughtful.  Julian excitedly opened his card, pictured to the right.  This is the conversation which followed:

Me:  Who is that?
Julian:  Santa.
Me:  What does Santa say?
Julian:  yo, Yo, YO!


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Looks great, tastes awful.

I really and truly love the idea of cooking.  I love the utensils, the pots and pans, the wonderful aroma in my home.  I'm just not all that good at it.  I try my best, but something always goes wrong.  Not terribly, horribly wrong.  I don't start fires, or have difficulty boiling water, but there will usually be one aspect of my meal that just isn't quite "right".  I will make a beautiful stew, and the potatoes will be raw.  There is always something.  I have, however, mastered a salmon recipe from Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef cookbook... unfortunately I am the only one in my family who will eat salmon.  My last attempt at a nice, homemade dinner was inspired by a neat, little chicken cookbook, which was a gift from a girlfriend of mine.  She assured me that the recipes were simple (I should mention this friend subscribes to, and catalogs every copy of 'Bon Apetite' magazine).  I tried a recipe for Sicilian Roasted Chicken.  The picture in the cookbook looked wonderful.  Mine didn't look anything like the picture in the cookbook.  Mine didn't look cooked.  Julian took one mouthful and said:  "Eeeew... disgusting.".  The rest of the table fell silent, and kept on (slowly) chewing.  Come to think of it - that was right before we all came down with that nasty flu.


Friday, December 7, 2007


I have felt so inspired lately.  My timing is terrible as maternity leave ends soon, and I will have virtually no time for my new found creative outlets.  

It all started with Etsy, and breast feeding.  When Nora was born I was having difficulty remembering which side I had nursed her on last.  If you don't nurse equally on each side you end up with lop-sided, engorged breasts.  Not nice.  With a 2 year old running around, and a newborn to worry about, I just couldn't keep them straight (literally).  I thought surely there must be a product out there that could help me so I did a Google search for "nursing reminders" and the first site that came up was an Etsy seller, Bibon, who makes dairy daisies, cute little nursing reminders to clip on your bra strap.  Fantastic!  I purchased 2 sets immediately.  

With my new even-sized bosoms I started to look around on Etsy, and was in awe of all of the beautiful artwork and photography.  I immediately signed up (it's free!) and began cataloging my favourite items and sellers.  I started to think about drawing again, and forced myself to create a shop on Etsy where I will (hopefully) eventually sell some of my sketches.  I found the artist Mandy Sutcliffe - creater of Belle & Boo on Etsy, and purchased two of her gorgeous prints for Nora's room (pictured above).  I also discovered some wonderful pieces she created, called the Superprincess Series, which were inspired by a beautiful little girl named Ava Rosemeyer.  Through this I found a blog written by Sheye Rosemeyer, Ava's mom.  Sheye is an incredibly talented photographer in Australia who lost Ava in a tragic accident.  I began reading Sheye's blog every spare minute.  She shares touching (and often humourous) moments of her life with her husband and four children accompanied by her stunning photos.  I have never seen such beautiful photography, the colours are so vivid they look like paintings.  Reading her entries, both happy and painfully sad helped me to appreciate the "little things" more and inspired me to create Clinka's Apples.  

As for the drawings... I have 14 rough sketches of what I want to do, but haven't managed to get to an art supply store for proper paper and pens!  Maybe ball point pen on Post-It notes could be considered a new artistic medium.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hey Jude.

A few weekends ago we all suffered (and I mean, SUFFERED) with the flu.  Julian gave it to me, I gave it to Andrew.  The only one who did not succumb was little Nora.  I had been planning a girl's day out in the big city for months.  The arrangements had all been made.  Andrew would have a boy's day with Julian, Nanny would take Nora for a sleep over.  I would be free to shop, gossip, eat a leisurely meal (with a glass of wine), and drink as many venti vanilla cappuccinos as my heart desired.  The day would end with a cocktail at a trendy, upscale restaurant I've been wanting to go to.  Sounded magical.  That was before the flu hit.  On Saturday morning I phoned my girlfriend in the big city to let her know that I was near death, and wasn't planning to leave my washroom for the next month.  The next morning I awoke feeling much better.  I was thirsty, I was hungry, I was human again.  Then Andrew was hit with it.  I decided it was best, for our children and our marriage, that I leave the house of yuck and take the children out for some fresh air.  I brought them to the park near our house.  Unfortunately I had underestimated how bitterly cold it was.  Nora was in her stroller, nose running, looking at me like I was completely insane.  Julian, on the other hand, was in little boy heaven.  Sliding down a soaking wet, icy slide, with no snow pants...  We had been out there for what felt like hours.  I checked my watch to see if it was (please) time to go back home... I forgot to wear my watch.  Luckily I had my cell phone in my pocket.  
I open it to check the time.  I have a text message.  I never have text messages.  It is from my girlfriend at the trendy, upscale restaurant in the big city at 10:30pm the night before:

"U should have come.  Jude Law is in the lounge."


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

On the weekend we decided it was time to put up our Christmas tree.  I knew with an 11 month old, and an almost 3 year old it was going to be a logistical nightmare, but I was up for the challenge.  As soon as Nora went down for her morning nap, we bundled Julian in his snowsuit, and he went outside with Daddy to make a snowman.  Perfect.  I went to put on some Christmas music to get into the spirit, but realized we hadn't saved any on the iPod, and I still don't know how to work our stereo.  Okay, Feist will do...  An hour later the tree was fully assembled, and I had convinced myself that "Mushaboom" could be a Christmas song, as she does mention snow in the lyrics.  Julian and Andrew had since tired of being outside, so I was now trying to keep Julian out of the boxes of glass ornaments while focusing on light installation.  Luckily Julian found a gold wire Christmas tree decoration, which he used as a rocket ship to amuse himself.  

Just before lunch I made the discovery that half of the tree lights no longer worked.  Then Nora awoke.  I decided to take Julian to the store with me, while Andrew fed Nora lunch.  Andrew distracted Julian with a piece of candy cane so I could squeeze him (unwillingly) back into his snowsuit.  The store was crazy.  The drivers on the way there and the way back were crazy.  Julian had become a messy, goopy, candy cane boy.  By the time I got home with the new lights I was ready to cancel Christmas altogether.  I walked in the door, and began to hang the new lights, scowling all the while, when out of nowhere, Julian gasped and said:  "Mommy, it's BEAUTIFUL!".  Suddenly it felt like Christmas again.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What's for lunch?

Every day when I pick Julian up at daycare I ask the same question:  "What did you have for lunch today?".  It is difficult to separate what items are true, and what items are a figment of his (vivid) imagination.  The majority of days he tells me he had pizza for lunch.  I know they do not eat pizza four days out of five, but that is the usual response to my question.  I should say, that was the usual response to my question, until a few days ago when we had the following conversation: 

Me:  "What did you have for lunch today?"
Julian:  "Lemons."
Me:  "Lemons?"
Julian:  "Lemons."
Me:  "Then what did you do?"
Julian:  "We threw up in the potty."


Monday, December 3, 2007

I am a Robot...

I woke up this morning to a crashing sound coming from Julian's room.  Julian is almost three years old.  The crashing I heard was that of books hitting the floor.  He wasn't destroying his room.  He was becoming a robot.  He has a few box-set books, and he has discovered that the boxes make wonderful robot body parts.  One on each foot, and one on each hand are ideal.  Of course, he can't carefully remove each book from it's box, he must dump the entire box upside-down from standing - thus maximizing the sound of the books hitting the hard floor at 6am.  Unfortunately he only has two box sets in his room right now, so he had to improvise... one box hand, one box foot.  Our half-robot, half-boy marched into our bedroom to greet us, in his best robot voice:  "I am a Robot... my name is Durse".  Good Morning.