Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Happiness is Strawberry Cake

When I moved out of my parents' house, my mom started the tradition of Sunday dinner.  I think her inspiration came from the Gilmore Girls and the fact that she couldn't think about me having moved out without weeping.  But mostly it was because of those fast talkin' Gilmore Girls.  A little over five years later, and the tradition is still going strong, although with my sister and her family having moved to Calgary, the crowd is a little smaller.  We try to make up for it through Skype, but it's not quite the same.
Dean is the master chef, creating delicious meals every week, with the exception of that one time that he went all Iron Chef and used apples as his special ingredient. Spinach salad with apples and grapes, pork with sauteéd apples and scallions, and apple pie brown rice (no one was a fan of this particular dessert inspired grain). The salad and pork are lovely dishes on their own, but all together it was apple overload. Below is a better combo.
Dean's beer braised short ribs, garlic mash, and asparagus
in a balsamic reduction.  Inspired!
Since the Smith's have moved, not only do we miss their presence, but equally so their desserts.  Homemade pies, cakes and cookies were pumped out of their kitchen on a weekly basis.  I thought they might Fed-ex their baking our way after they moved, but no such luck.  So I've been trying to keep up the dessert standard at our Sunday dinners with stunning results.  Just look at how happy Jimmy is with this latest creation.
So, how can you reproduce this delight amongst your family members?  It's easy!
Strawberry Stripe Refrigerator Cake
Inspired by the back of a cake box I saw once
1 box white cake mix, baked according to package directions (if you have discerning tastes like mine, I recommend Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe.  Much better than Betty Crocker.  I'm not kidding)
1 box of instant vanilla pudding, 4 serving size, prepared according to package directions
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, whipped
1 container of frozen strawberries in light syrup, thawed and blended until smooth
1. To make icing, fold whipped cream into vanilla pudding.  Set aside.
2. Using a chopstick or straw, poke holes in your cake at regular intervals.  Pour a small amount of blended strawberries into each hole, tamping the sauce down into the hole using your chopstick or straw, and adding more berries until the hole is filled.  This is a painstaking process.  Jimmy decided to help, as you can see below.  He thought pouring the sauce in generous portions would make this process easier, I think it made the cake look like it was seriously wounded.

3. Once your holes are filled, ice the cake.  Allow to set in the fridge for a few hours before serving.  This cake must be served out of the pan or the filling will leak out.
Look at those stripes!
Do you do a weekly family dinner, or are there other traditions you've started with your family?  I love this tradition and can't wait to bring bébé along, if only so that I can pass him or her off to someone else while I guzzle a glass of red.
Happy Tuesday,

Monday, 27 February 2012

Bits and Pieces

I am nearing completion of my lovely mustard coloured scarf.  Having overcome my first hurdle of figuring out how to tie in a second skein of yarn (I'm now fluent in knitspeak) my next task will be to learn how to bring this thing to an end.  I could just wear the scarf with the knitting loom dangling from one end, but I fear it might poke someone's eye out.  Can't have that kind of bad publicity following me around with my campaign for Queen.  Soon enough I will post the conclusion of my first foray into the knitting world but now, the results of tying in the second skein. Remember, my youtube mentor said the knot would be undetectable.  Here is a close up.
Can you spot the knot?
It's not easy to detect, but if Martha came to inspect my work, I am sure she would find it.  If you didn't see it above, below the crochet hook points straight at the eye sore that would be sure to offend the master crafter.
This is all scintillating I know, so before I go, a gem from James.  We were at our prenatal class the other night discussing natural induction of labour should the due date come and go with no babe in arms produced.  My knight in shining armour chimed in with his expertise on the subject.
Said James: "I've heard Castrol oil will do the trick."
A stunned silence followed.
I snapped out of it and quickly came to my husband's aid before the instructor could call Social Services .  
"Oh, I think you mean castor oil," I said, laughing nervously.
"Is that what it's called?" He asked skeptically.
Ever since, our instructor has been keeping a close eye on him.
Can you hardly wait for The Bachelor tonight?  Me neither.  Have a fabulous Monday night.

Saturday, 25 February 2012


You guys, I have a confession to make.  This isn't something I'm proud of, but I was once an employee of McDonald's.  Not only was I an employee, I was an employee who worked only two weeks before being fired. 
It was the summer after grade 10, and I had decided that I needed to get a part time job.  I'm not sure why I chose McDonald's as my first place of employ, as I don't like their food, nor their starched-within-an-inch-of-their-life uniforms, not to mention the smell of the establishment itself, but I didn't apply anywhere else that summer.  I know not why I didn't look for a place that aligned with my interests a bit more, somewhere like the bookstore or the tea café I later worked at, but maybe I thought I had to start small and work my way up.  Little did I know I wouldn't be able to list McDonald's on my resumé after the disaster that ensued.  
It was my second week of work, and while I had grown fond of pouring free coffee refills for the seniors who arrived between six and eight am, I could not feel the same way about my visor and pleated pants.  Other than that small fashion faux pas, I thought things were going well.  Until that is, the dawn of my 16th birthday when things went terribly awry.
I was scheduled to start at six am to work the breakfast shift and dutifully arose to join the workforce as a responsible and contributing citizen, birthday or no birthday. Things were going alright, until about nine am when the morning rush arrived.  I had a long line at my till, and assuming that serving the customers always takes precedence, I stayed at my till taking orders until the line had gone down. Suddenly, I heard a shrill scream originating from deep in the freezer room.  I walked at a quick pace in my sensible black shoes (safety first!) to find my manager clutching a bag of hash browns, red in the face.  
You see, while I thought I was doing the right thing in serving the customers first, I had actually committed a cardinal sin.  I had not put any hash browns in the deep fryer.  Without hot hash browns, how were we to serve all of the customers I had just rung through?  
I see the error of my ways now, but at the time, all I could do was nod and blink really quickly to avoid crying in front of my middle aged manager.  The tears did flow as soon as my dad arrived in front of me, having stopped by for a coffee to wish me well on my birthday.  
Shortly after this disastrous day I had to call in sick, and when I came in for my next shift, I was called in to the manager's office and given the heart breaking news that I just wasn't McDonald's material.  They never gave me a specific reason, and weren't required to because I was still under probation, but I knew it was the hash brown incident without a doubt.  I spent the rest of the summer sulking, wondering how I would ever find a place in the working world if I couldn't cut it at McDonald's, the same place that had given Jay Leno and Star Jones their start.
I did get over it eventually and rejoin the working force, and was never fired from a job again.  But that greasy little skeleton in my closet haunts me still.  What I wish most is that I had photographic proof of my former employ, but for some reason my mom wasn't jumping for the camera to do a McDonald's uniform fashion shoot. Odd, I know.
Wishing you a wonderful Saturday,

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

When I am Queen . . .

With William away for six weeks, Catherine is keeping busy with charity events and looking fabulous.  Just yesterday she was out working with children on their art projects in this lovely number:
With her husband away, I'm sure the Duchess also has some time to think about what things will be like when she is Queen.  I can imagine her being a thoughtful and judicious ruler.  Not so when I become Queen of Alberta.  My subjects will need boundaries, and I am only too happy to provide them.  My first decree will deal with the kitchen.  Specifically, the sink.  The stopper must be properly placed to catch the little bits of food from your dinner.  Those who insist on placing the stopper in the sink upside down will be deported to Saskatchewan.
Correct placement.  Food caught and cradled to be safely
transported to the garbage.
Incorrect placement.  Food bits caught, for the time being,
 only to be flung everywhere when stopper is removed.

When I am Queen, Alberta will become a province where form and function reign supreme.  This will of course mean that my husband will be packing his bags, but I am willing to make that sacrifice for my people.  That is all.

Actually, one more thing.  I'm not Queen yet, but in my quest to climb the social ladder I have become a contributor for Urban Infant Magazine's new website!  You can read my bio here.  I'll let you know when my first article is posted.  If you have any ideas on what I could write about, I'd love to hear it.  See, I too can be thoughtful and judicious.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Phoenix Fashion Photo Shoot

Since I've been making zero progress in the self photography department and Jimmy is so busy, busy, busy, we've hired a new art director and photographer here at Chez Quinlan.  And by hired I mean that I told my mom she has to take my picture.  She added in the title of art director and has really run with the concept, searching out the perfect accessories and story lines for each of our shots.  Sure, there are some difficulties in doing business with family.  First off, she refuses to wear her glasses while shooting, so after each shot, I have to look at the camera to tell her if it turned out or not.  Since I usually think I look ridiculous, this leads to many, many retakes.  Secondly, as I mentioned earlier, with my mom taking over as art director, each shot must tell a story, and I am no actor, so my mom can often be heard telling me I look stiff and unnatural, which leads to increased levels of stiffness and unnatural poses as I become more self conscious.  
And now you, lucky reader, get to enjoy the fruits of this mother-daughter collaboration.
Top: Gap Maternity Jeans: Thyme Maternity Accessories: My mom's closet
Story: Pausing to catch breath after walking up two steps.
Top: Gap Maternity Skirt and shoes: My mom's closet
because the jeans I had planned weren't exciting enough.
Story: Pregnant women need to sit down a lot and
look good while doing so.
Top and Jeans: Gap Maternity Boots: Guess
Necklaces: Stella and Dot
Story: The windblown hair isn't just for photographic effect.
Pregnant women overheat easily and must be kept cool.
Top: Gap Maternity Jeans: Thyme Maternity
Boots and Necklace: My mom's closet, purchased in Italy!!
Story: At the library, browsing for books on parenting, of course.
Top and accessories: My mom's closet (I told you, she's really
running with her role as art director)
Jeans: Thyme Maternity
Story: The urge to nest is strong.  Arrange flowers while
looking your best!
And a gem from James before I sign off:
James: Ever since I trimmed my nose hairs the liquid has been coming out of my nose so much more easily.
Me: You mean snot?!
James: Yeah, I think it's because there's less hair.
Can I hear an amen for good personal grooming habits?  As for the fashion, you can bet there's plenty more photo shoots for you to look forward to with my mom at the helm of the art department.  Can't wait?  Me neither.

Saturday, 18 February 2012


I don't know how I turned out to be the paragon of healthy eating that I am today with parents like mine.  You heard just yesterday about my mom's m&m lunch menu.  Well, today my dad ate a whole jar of pineapple salsa with chips by himself.  He complained the rest of the day about how sick he felt, but still managed to eat two pieces of chocolate cake for dessert.  After his gastrointestinal overindulgence, he was walking strangely.  When my mom asked what was wrong, he said "I don't know, my body hurts.  Ever since I ate all that salsa.  I think I'm allergic to something."
We could not stop laughing!  What the what?  How does a man with no known food allergies suddenly develop a limp?  After the snickers subsided, my mom offered the same piece of advice my dad ALWAYS gives whenever anyone complains of any kind of stomach upset: "Maybe you just need to poop!" Cue the chorus of chortles.
Keep it regular,

Friday, 17 February 2012

Road Trip

We hit Highway 2 today on a journey down south to visit family and watch Jimmy's game.  My mom drove, but felt a migraine coming on after about an hour and a half of driving.  Her solution?  Sustenance, a fine remedy if you're most people.  But my mom has different ideas about nourishment than most.  She wanted me to feed her m&m's.  I vetoed this proposal and instead made her eat some carrot sticks and a chocolate flavoured protein bar I had packed.  She complained the whole time, but the migraine didn't get worse, so my work as co-pilot was done.
My dad and I enjoyed a beautiful sunny walk to Starbucks upon our arrival while my mom, sister and niece went to run errands.
Coley is two, and talking more and more, but it often comes out as a dialect only his sister can understand. Without his interpreter present, poor Cole had to repeat "Me not see" numerous times before I realized his hat had fallen into his eyes.  Clearly he has unwavering faith in me and was trusting that I wasn't leading him into oncoming traffic.  Sweet, naive, little thing!  Little did he know I was too busy texting to pay attention to traffic.  We were lucky this time, I guess!  Next time I refuse to take him anywhere without his translator. 
Shirts off party.

The interpreter.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

I Like Big Butts . . . ?

I asked my sensitive and supportive husband if he thought my posterior region was getting larger as part and parcel of this beautiful pre-natal state.  Instead of answering one way or the other, he said "Have I got just the thing for you!"  That thing is this:
I can't believe I didn't fully appreciate until now how complex the butt really is! Thank you Leandro - I look forward to getting whistles and cat calls in short order.  
I mentioned to Jimmy that all the cardio and jumping around may not be appropriate for a woman in her third trimester, but as always he had a simple solution. "For after then!"  Thanks honey.  In fact, I think this video series may just be the perfect push present.  Are you taking notes out there, expectant dads who read my blog in droves?
In the meantime, I'm doing everything I can to make sure Leandro has to work for the three easy payments of $19.95 plus $12.95 (American!) shipping and handling my husband will be forking over.  Case in point, the frozen hot chocolate I made last night for a Valentine's treat.  Made with 1/4 cup of hot chocolate mix and cream (not milk), this delicious treat should ensure Leandro has his work cut out for him.  I will be making this again, but if I switch to 2% milk (don't you dare get crazy and suggest skim!) I think I can have one every second day with little to no guilt.  I'm positive this is the healthy alternative to a Blizzard.  I will still have Blizzards too, but only when I get the two for one email from the Blizzard fan club.  What?!  You can't let a two for one coupon go to waste!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Hearts

Jimmy surprised me today with an extra special bouquet of flowers.  They're special because he made the arrangement himself at a charity event with all proceeds being donated to the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.  
He even upgraded to the fancier vase, because as he said to me upon presentation of the bouquet: "You're worth it!"  The funniest cutest part of the gift was the mugshot card that came along with it.  
It's a nice idea, but this card is a little strange.  It reminds me a little of a kindergarten student showing off their work. 
Jimmy has been so busy lately with his own lacrosse season starting up, coaching basketball at school, and coaching lacrosse in Leduc, that he was only home for a quick 15 minute dinner this evening between coaching responsibilities.  In honour of Valentine's Day I made his favourite dinner which was inhaled on his way out the door.  It's an Asian chicken salad from The Best of Bridge, and it's delicious and easy.  Just make the dressing, stir-fry some chicken, peppers, pea pods, and asparagus, and serve over rice noodles.  I forgot to take a picture before dinner, but here are the left overs.  
We're such healthy people, there are hardly any vegetables left.
Dressing for Asian Chicken Salad
from The Best of Bridge
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon salt
ground pepper to taste

1. Place all ingredients in a jar and shake to mix.  If you're lazy like me, you can skip mincing the ginger and garlic and throw it all in the blender. 

When he returns later this eve, I plan to serve him this sweet treat that I found on Pinterest.  I'll let you know how mine turns out, but it looks delicious and is reminiscent of our first date.  
Hope you're enjoying something sweet today.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Chick Flick

This weekend I saw The Vow with my friend Heather.  We have a standing agreement to see a chick flick together every few months to spare the men in our lives the trouble.  As far as chick flicks go, The Vow wasn't bad.  Not as predictable as the preview makes it look, however I had a hard time believing in Channing Tatum as the mod-hipster type he was cast as.  The soldier he played in Dear John?  Totally believable.  He's just too square jawed, burly and all American looking to be running an independent music label, if you know what I mean.  
But what a name!  It sounds almost too good to be true, but Wikipedia cites the moniker as being on his birth certificate, and I always believe Wikipedia.  Too bad Channing Quinlan is a bit of a mouthful.  Back to Nameberry I trot.
Movie star names aside, I was trying to remember the last sappy movie I convinced Jimmy to see with me, and let me tell you, it's been a long while.  The last one we saw at the theatre that I can remember was The Holiday.  And you know what?  He actually liked it!  Maybe it was having Jack Black in the mix that appealed to him, but I can't be sure.  This has inspired me to research romantic comedies that guys actually like and see if I can find a common thread.  I can see this turning into a thesis topic.  Hollywood big wigs may pay big for such valuable knowledge, and I'm positive they don't have marketing and research departments dedicated to this topic already.  
Anyway, I've got to get going.  I've got a big night ahead.  Just a date with a little someone named Ben Flajnik and his six remaining bachelorettes in exotic Belize. While Ben and the ladies frolic on the beach I'm going to continue work on my scarf.  I found a tutorial online, and the nice woman on Youtube assured me that to tie in another ball of yarn, that's literally all I have to do: Tie on another ball and trim the ends of the knot. Seems too easy.  What would Martha say?  But tutorial lady says the know will be hidden in the end.  Skeptic that I am doubts it, but I'm going to try, and you know I'll fill you in on the riveting results.

Sunday, 12 February 2012


Thank goodness for mothers, sisters, and girlfriends, because who else can you give something like this to?
This is from Martha's site.  She gives detailed directions here.
I can tell you the holiday themed cuteness would be lost on my husband.  I can also tell you that my husband is not scouring Pinterest and Martha Stewart.com for crafty V-day gift ideas to present me with on Tuesday.  So, I whipped up my own version to give to my mom for a Valentines' surprise.  
My version.
Put a glass inside your vase, fill the surrounding space with conversation hearts (mine were from the Dollar Store, and the colours were kind of off, and so was the taste.  James said they taste like soap, but it serves him right as he really wasn't meant to eat them) then add your flowers and water to the glass in the center. Voila!
Next year, I'm going to do the red version, but can you believe I couldn't find any large bags of cinnamon hearts this year?
I've been running out of things to blog about lately, thus my absence for three days this week.  I told Jimmy about my block and he had a simple solution: "Just write about me.  The people love it!"
I will be back sometime this week with the photo shoot of my Phoenix fashion finds I've been promising, and I know James won't dissappoint with something (good or bad) for me to write about on Valentine's day.  Hope you're enjoying your Sunday eve!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Teachers' Convention

I love, love, love teachers' convention.  My co workers used to tease me, saying I lived for teachers' convention weekend.  But really, can you blame me?  It's a bright spot at a dreary time of year, you get two days out of the classroom, freebies at the sales exhibit, and a chance to meet up with former colleagues you haven't seen in awhile.  
All of these things make teachers' convention great, but it really turned into one of my favourite yearly events when one of my friends and colleagues decided to turn this into a true "out of town" convention experience for us.  Since we live in the capital, the convention is always held here in our city, but we decided to make it a real outing a few years ago, staying in a hotel downtown, wining and dining in the evenings after days full of professional development.
There are always lots of laughs and memorable moments at our convention weekends, and there is always a theme song.  Last year was "We R who We R" by Key-Dollar-Sign-Ha.  The year before was "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas, and before that it was "She Wolf" by Shakira.  After some discussion, we decided on "We Found Love in a Hopeless Place" for this year's theme.
But even with an appropriate butt thumping beat for an anthem, this year was definitely different.  Of course, being temporarily retired from the craft, I did not attend the day time PD sessions, and while I did join the gang for dinner last night, the fetus who tagged along prevented me from enjoying certain aspects of the dinner I might have previously partaken of (responsibly, of course).  Not only that, but we were missing some core members.  Our girl Amy recently moved out of the city and was sorely missed, and Lynne and Lesley were both kept away by family obligations and a mistaken belief that as senior members of our esteemed guild they should call it a day early.  
Amy and Aoife last year with some of the best red wine I've ever had.
We still had a great dinner though, with memorable moments galore.  We ate at Hundred Bar & Kitchen, which unbeknownst to me hosts ladies' night every Thursday with everything on the menu at half price!  Even drinks, not that I could partake thanks to the tenant in utero.  We paid for that 50% off when it came to the service, however.  Our waitress served one person's dinner at the same time as the appetizers, took away our side plates before we had finished our appetizer platter, cleared one person's wine glass before the bottle at the table was done, threw out two people's doggie bags, and took away the pregnant woman's brownie while she was in the bathroom.  The earlier transgressions could have been forgiven, but that last one?  You do not part me from my chocolate until I'm rolling on the floor, sick with indigestion, heartburn, or both.  
Thank you wine glass, for hiding my bloat!
Making up for our errant server was the entertainment in the form of a regular customer who created her own dance floor in a dance floorless establishment.  She was busting a move for well over two hours in the middle of this resto-lounge, clapping and high kicking to the tunes spun by the in-house DJ who did not stop bobbing his head once throughout our three hour dinner.  I know that is a run-on sentence, but that's how intense and breathless the experience of watching this two really was!
While my evening ended with dinner this year, looking back, I think last year's convention held some omens for what this year would hold.  First, and definitely most telling was one of the freebies I got last year.  It was a tiny, pink, rubbery fetus from the pro-life booth that I planned to share with my health classes.  The fetus became a kind of mascot last year, bobbing its little head to Ke$ha, posing for photo-ops at dinner, and climbing into bed with my friend Aoife at the end of the night, much to Aoife's fright.  Little did I know that a real live fetus would be on board for this year's festivities!  Next year, who knows what will happen!  I just hope to be able to enjoy a glass of red again.
Last night's group shot.  Sorry, red eye could not be reduced.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Ultrasound as Discriminatory Tool?

While browsing the Globe and Mail online the other day (just after I finished watching The Bachelor - I have varied tastes) I came across a very interesting article discussing the use of ultrasound technology to identify whether a fetus is male or female, and the subsequent abortion of female fetuses in some ethnic groups.  The editor in chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal called this practice "discrimination against women in its most extreme form", and I would have to agree.  The editor (and medical doctor) proposes certain measures that could help prevent this "evil" that "devalues women" including the delay of revealing fetal gender until 30 weeks of gestation, and educational programs that would combat the sexist thinking and practices that lead to female feticide.  While this doctor's point of view has been called controversial, it's not the most interesting or controversial part of this particular article.  

The author takes this idea further to question the practice of feticide based on ultrasound identifiable "anomalies" such as cleft palate, missing limbs, spina bifida, and Down syndrome.  While many would agree with the doctor's summation above, citing female feticide as discrimination in an extreme form, these same people may be hard pressed to call abortion of a disabled fetus discrimination against the disabled in its most extreme form.  Thus the provocative title of this article "Why Care Less About the Disabled Fetus?"

I would have called myself pro-choice before reading this article, and I think I still would, but this article raises a very uncomfortable grey area, for me at least.  Are there situations in which choice should be limited, such as in the case of gender selection or anomaly identification?  Who would decide the situations in which choice should be limited?  And just because I know what I would do when faced with an unsettling ultrasound finding, can I judge those who would choose differently?  When it comes down to it, I know the answer to that last question is no. While it feels good to know what the right choice for me is, the reasoning behind calling myself pro-choice is that I can't put myself in someone else's shoes and decide what is best for them, nor can I understand the feelings they will go through after having made a decision for themselves.  

It's a good thing to examine and question our beliefs, even if you end up making the same conclusion come the end of that examination, but the article remains eye opening.  It is very compelling to think that while many people (even those who consider themselves pro-choice) would agree that female feticide is a form of discrimination, when it comes to abortion of a disabled fetus people see it as a more socially acceptable choice for expectant parents to consider.  As the article asks, why do we (seem) to care less about the disabled fetus?

A regular feature titled "Thought Provoking Thursday" perhaps?  Or just more videos of David Beckham in his underwear?  I think I'll continue to stick to the grey area and go for a compromise.  Life is about balance, right?!?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Wrinkles can be Attractive

I am exhausted today!  I haven't felt this tired since the first trimester when I fell asleep on our friend's couch, strawberry flavoured beer in hand (What?! I didn't know about the new life that was blossoming yet!  And I didn't even finish the beer because of the narcolepsy).  I think today's exhaustion is the fault of the blood thirsty technicians at my local Dynalife lab.  That or the crash that followed the unpalatable orange drink they forced me to drink.  Either way, I'm hoping that was the second last needle I'll have to endure this pregnancy, and that this fatigue is temporary. 
Speaking of symptoms of pregnancy, I've been very fortunate.  No nausea or vomiting, swelling (yet) or hemorrhoids, but there are a couple of side effects that I could do without.  I've already bored you by detailing at length the absentmindedness that is plaguing me, but there are a couple of new ones.  A crippling back ache that crops up only when I'm trying to sleep (perhaps another reason for the tiredness) and the several times daily nose bleeds that appear anytime I inhale too sharply or touch my nose.  Drawing on his sports background, Jimmy has suggested the use of a certain feminine hygiene product to staunch the flow from my nose so that I might keep both hands free and be able to carry on as my productive self.  A practical and attractive solution!  Another gem from James of late?  While looking at my blog stats page, he noted: "Stalled out at 19 followers, I see!"
Anyways, because I am experiencing a lack of motivation today, some mindless entertainment for you.  Enjoy this while I take my post in front of the PVR to catch up with this week's proceedings on The Bachelor.
How does he make even crows' feet and brow furrows look good?

Monday, 6 February 2012

Oh Boy!

I've mentioned already that I'm convinced that the tenant gestating in utero is a wee laddie, but recently my Nana confirmed this with an iron clad and empirical test.  So certain of the results was she that she wasn't going to tell me her findings as she knew I had told the doctors and ultrasound techs that I didn't want to know the baby's gender!  I finally convinced her to tell me, and of course the gold wedding ring on a string test indicated the presence of a Y chromosome brewing.  
I've also mentioned before that I think boys might be slightly easier to parent than girls.  Boys don't come home crying after a fight with friends at school, or worry over their clothes and hair.  But boys are a very different breed, a totally foreign psychological landscape.  Growing up without brothers, there were many mysterious and incomprehensible behaviours that were revealed to me when I co-habited with the male species for the first time, as an unsuspecting adult.  The first and most shocking discovery: Men don't use toilet paper unless their trip to the bathroom is one that also requires reading material.  I don't understand!  Who wants to walk around with a wet spot on their underpants?  Not I!  When I suggested to James that we might teach any sons of ours to use a square or two, he was adamant.  Apparently habits like this will mean social suicide for our potential boy. This led to the frightening realization, that once again, when it comes to boys, I am out of my league.  Meaning I'm going to have to defer to Jimmy on some of these gender sensitive parenting topics.  Which isn't a bad thing.  As Devon Corneal, author of this funny article points out: "I don't need to know it all, and being befuddled is ok. I've got a partner in this parenting thing. If I don't understand my son's need to show off his penis, his dad does".  Amen to that, sister!  Could you imagine such a comparison going on in the women's locker room?  Laughable!
A gem from James before you go: Perhaps due to my extra X chromosome I am always sensitive to my husband's feelings, and so I wanted to check that he was comfortable with being turned into fodder for my blog.  In another stunning display of my blatant lack of understanding when it comes to the male brain, he replied "Well if you didn't write about me, I guess you'd have nothing to write about".  He calls it confidence, I call it something else entirely.
Coming up later this week?  The fabulous fashion finds my mom fetched in Phoenix (sorry, I was at a Seuss themed children's party this weekend - fab decorations and treats Nessa!).  
I know some of you thought her assessment of my Old Navy purchases was harsh, but I think once you see what she found down south, you'll agree that Old Navy just can't compete.  
Have you tried any of the old wives' gender tests?  Did they work?  I'd love to hear about them.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Progress Report

Well, I'm a few days in to my "knitting" project.  I've used quotation marks because I'm using a loom rather than needles which makes it pretty fool proof.  But skeptic that I am, I'm still surprised it's turned out well so far.  I tried following the directions that came with the loom, but had to undo the hot mess that was produced.  Thanks to an instructional vid or two on YouTube, it's been smooth sailing since.  I'm maybe a quarter to a third of the way through my scarf (numbers aren't my thing, which could make learning to knit for real a challenge) and I know my ball of yarn isn't going to last.  So my next challenge will be finding a video that will tell me how to attach a new ball of yarn.  I'm sure there's some fancy term for that, like casting on or purl knit, but I know not what to call it other than attaching a new ball of yarn.
For your viewing pleasure.
I've been contemplating actual lessons at River City Yarns here in Edmonton so that I can learn how to knit and crochet properly and make cute things like this:
I first saw these adorable little toys on The Busy Budgeting Mama's site, and she says they're easy.  If you take a look at her site, you'll see she's a whiz with all things crafty and technology related, so her version of easy may not match up with mine, but I'm willing to try.  Not only that, but the pattern was free!  You can find lots of other free patterns on the Lion Brand Yarn website.
What says James of my new interest?  I asked him if he thought taking up knitting was hip or nerdy.  His reply?  "Hip if you need to have your food pureéd!"
Have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, 3 February 2012


Well, we've done it.  We've hired a boula doula as support for the big day in May. According to my dad, this officially makes us hippies (he's also the guy who thinks it's pronounced boula).  Bring on the granola and patchouli, I guess, because I feel better already!  I've always been just slightly afraid of doctors, needles and any medical procedure.  Par example, when I had to have my wisdom teeth removed, my mom literally had to sit on my chest so the anaesthesiologist could start the IV. This was after I tried to get out of the procedure altogether, citing my bad head cold, chapped lips, and even a nose bleed as major obstacles to the success of the surgery.  Jimmy?  He had his wisdom teeth taken out one at a time on FOUR SEPARATE DAYS under local anaesthetic.
So as you can see, I need all the help I can get. 
And I know it was only a couple of short days ago that I claimed to hate technology, but we've done some counselling and been on a Kabbalah retreat as last ditch efforts to save our strained relationship.  Suffice it to say we're on speaking terms again.  Mostly because technology connected me to Sara over at Your Baby Booty. Her site is great for the product reviews alone, but the blog on her site is so informative when it comes to preparing for all things baby, including labor and delivery.  And what I love most is that she highlights the options that are available rather than saying any one way is best.  After leaving a comment on one of the posts, she thought I was intelligent enough to interview for an article on her site!  So hippie or not, someone thinks I've got something to say!  Worry not, I'll let you know when she posts the interview.  
Thanks, technology.  Coffee date tomorrow?
And in totally unrelated news, my husband is in a Valentine's Day poll titled "Which NLL player on Twitter would you choose for your Valentine?"  I think the answer should be obvious.  It's a tight race at the moment, but I know the loyal readers of Chez Quinlan will soon change that.  Besides, his closest competition, while easy on the eyes, can be temperamental, just between you and me.
The captain.
The competition.
Former roommates and teammates, and still fighting!
What are you doing still here?!  Go and vote!  When Jimmy wins, I promise I'll share the Valentines gift he gives me.  Trust me, it'll cost next to nothing to ship it to you ;)

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Not much happening today chez Quinlan.  I've got a quiet morning planned involving tea, an attempt to start a knitting project on the knitting loom my mother in law gave me at least three years ago, and a bath to soak my sore muscles from yesterday's yoga.  
Remember those lunch time laughs I mentioned yesterday?  Well, they were partly due to a very funny story involving a petting zoo, and partly due to this video.  Did you know they pre-release Super Bowl commercials now?  What's the fun in that?  This one is pretty good though, and based on a movie I love. 
You can't tell me you didn't laugh when you saw the giant panda in the passenger seat!
Hope you enjoyed that little tidbit.  I've got to get back to my knitting loom.  You can bet I'll update you on my progress with that project.  Or should I say lack of progress . . . 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Mission Accomplished, Sort Of

Today was a good day.  Hugs from friends I haven't seen in awhile, yoga with some excellent students, laughs over lunch, and a delicious (albeit misshapen) dipped cone eaten outside in the February sunshine.
Doesn't misshapen look like it's spelled wrong?  Spell check assures me it's A-OK, but I don't know.
Anywho, I was riding this lovin' life high when I came home to find not one, not two, but three (!) birds trapped in my sun room.  There they were, flapping their wings madly, pecking at all three glass walls in futility, and otherwise freaking out.  Sadly, this is not the first time this has happened, but in the past, only one bird was trapped.  Never three!  Three is just madness.  You see, the sliding door on the sunroom is broken and does not slide, so open it sits, acting as a cruel trap to our back yard friends.
Today's rescue mission involved several failed attempts.  First, I used a field lacrosse stick (because it's longer than a normal lacrosse stick) in an attempt to get the birds to perch while I ferried them to the door.  Seeing as these are the type of birds who can fly, this didn't work.  I got one to perch on the end of the stick, but once I tried moving the stick to the door, the bird flew back to the window to resume pecking and flapping madly.
Back to the drawing board.
I put on my MaCgyver hat and strapped a peanut butter and bird seed coated treat on the end of my lacrosse stick perch.  Interestingly enough, these birds held escape from the sunroom/death trap higher on their list of priorities than settling down with me for an afternoon snack.
And to the drawing board again.
This time, a good old cardboard box with a makeshift lid.  You know when you trap a bug under a glass, then slid a sheet of paper underneath to keep it inside so you can dispose of it without touching it?  This is what I was attempting to do with the whirling dervishes at the sunroom window.  And . . . it worked!  Although I shuddered every time I heard the soft thud after I forced their little body into the box, not to mention how awful I felt as they flapped away inside the box while I transported them to safety.  And the sheer terror that they might break out during the rescue mission and retaliate against their savior, mercilessly pecking her eyes out was nearly unbearable.  Thankfully, lifting soup cans has really been building my upper body strength, so I was able to hold the lid tight while I walked the three steps to the door, and no eye pecking escape took place.
As I said, this has happened before, but the volume of birds trapped, coupled with the fact that I was alone had me a bit nervous.  The last time this happened, it was almost cute!  And I caught it on camera.  This clip is just as good as any action you'd see in a Mission Impossible movie, I swear, and I've been trying to upload it for the past half an hour, and I give up.  Thanks for nothing, blogger help.  What does server not supported mean?  If I ever figure it out, I'll post it.  Wow, talk about anticlimactic.
I hate technology,