Thursday, April 29, 2010

Aloha Family

Tonight was the kids' school Family Dance. It was a Hawaii theme...forcing us to raid the local dollar store, just like every other family in a 2km radius. Rafia skirts abounded. As did Hawaiian print shirts, flowered leis and embarassed parent facial expressions.

The hilarious part was that the parents mostly sat around the perimetre of the gym, watching their children dance in the middle. There were so many complex social dynamics at work that is was dizzying to behold. Conga lines formed and disbanded with the blink of an eye. Many boys made valient attempts at free-form break dancing. Many boys failed. Many girls attempted to reinact music video moves. Many of these girls also failed, making this mother grateful that no music videos have been watched in THIS house. Yet. Seven year olds gyrating their hips is an uncomfortable things to observe.

The music went between Justin Beiber and the Village People. Eric and I taught Finny, Molly and her best friend how to dance to YMCA. It was great watching the penny drop when they realized they were making letters with their arms. They'll be doing that dance at weddings in their 80s, but they learned it tonight.

Here's a perfect shot of the parents:

There was much laughter. In hindsight, I should have instituted a "no photographing while dancing" rule. I didn't. You can see by my face that I am trying to hint at the new rule with my face.

In the end, the gym had the same hot-air feeling that I remember from my own school dances. The air is moist because it has been in twenty other people's lungs in the last hour. It felt sort of the same and sort of completely different. Those kids are way closer to slow dancing to Stairway to Heaven than I am. On the one hand, I can feel incredibly lucky that I am dancing with the same guy I slow danced with at 16. On the other hand, I feel startled at the passage of time. It isn't my's my KIDS' school. Are you kidding me?

Eric escaped for half an hour with Lukey, Molly and her buddy. They're still small. They wanted fresh air and a ride on the swings. But it won't be long before that hot gym holds a far greater attraction than a swing at sunset. I remember. I was 16.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bliss to Humiliation: thirty seconds flat

On our way down to Point Roberts last weekend, we stopped at Diefenbaker Park in Tsawwassen to enjoy the playground and feed the fish, turtles and ducks (FYI, I watched with a combination of fascination and horror as another family fed the *gigantic* fish a whole bag of McDonald's french wonder the fish are freakishly massive, their cholesterol is probably through the, the sound the fish made gulping the fries and the water will likely haunt my nightmares for years...anyway...).

The sun was shining, the children were happy and active and our bellies were full of Blizzard from the local DQ. Sweetness all around, from the chocolate covering Lukey's little face, to the tender feelings we all had for each other in that blissful moment.

Eric took the kids for a little walk up to the waterfall, while I set myself up on a bench with my knitting. Ahhh, the contentment. It was JUST PERFECT.

Then, it occurred to me that the wind was a teensy touch cool. I figured I might go grab a sweater or maybe head back to the car to warm up. I gathered my things (including all the crap those lovely children had just dumped on my bench before taking off) and started the 100m walk back to the parking lot. I got almost all the way to the car before I realized that I had everything EXCEPT the ball of wool for my knitting. Since it was attached to my needles, I looked down to see the yarn trailing across the entire park. There was a very confused looking guy about my age standing by my bench halfheartedly gathering the wool in clumps.

I felt monumentally ridiculous. He kept ineptly winding the ball of wool as I walked back towards him. It was like I was some sort of clumsy fish he was reeling in veeeery slowly. I even said something brilliant like, "hey, you are reeling me in...!" This inane comment was met with a blank stare. Awesome.

It gets worse. I had turned a couple of circles, I guess, trying to figure out where the ball of wool had gone. As the benevolent and mystified stranger got closer to me, it became clear that my feet had somehow become wrapped in the yarn at my end. He pretty much just handed me the wool and walked away (quickly). He'd stopped winding, so the yarn was scattered all over and the bulk of it was tangled around my ankles.

I started to try to step in and out of the mess, my hands still full of all the crap the kids had left on the bench. I dropped all the sweaters and soppy Blizzard cups on the ground to deal with the wool. Immediately, two things happened. The Blizzard cups were grabbed by the wind and carried in opposite directions and the wool somehow got attached to my car keys (like, right through the keychain...I have no idea how that happened). I couldn't move fast enough to grab the cups because my feet were effectively TIED together by the wool.

Defeat. I plopped myself down on the ground. I did a frantic full body belly reach across the grass to grab the cups, just barely. My hands were now covered in chocolate and melted ice cream. The wool was hopeless. I tried to untie myself, looking up the hill to see if Eric and kids had seen my rapid descent from happiness to horror. Nope, still just the same guy from earlier, pushing his kid on the swings and barely concealing his amusement at my total ridiculousness.

I sorted myself out before Eric and the kids got back. We played some more, but it didn't seem quite so perfect anymore. I had a huge grass stain, wickedly knotted knitting and bruised ego. Good thing I had the best kind of company to cheer me up.

Close Encounters with Nature

Conversation today:

Molly and I were standing in the kitchen when she asked me whether I preferred the Prince in “The Princess and the Frog” movie as a frog or as a human being. I confessed that I didn’t have an opinion, but she insisted that he was waaaaay better as a frog; cuter, funnier and more fun. Jokingly, I told her that she had better get the idea of marrying a frog out of her head because I didn’t want tadpoles for grandchildren.

Finny, eavesdropping, then asked if SHE could marry a frog, even if Molly wasn’t allowed. Sarcastically, I told her sure. She was (unsarcastically) relieved. She told me that she was interested in a frog as a husband…or possibly a fish.

Lukey, never one to miss out on a conversation, raced around the corner of the kitchen and demanded to know if HE could marry a frog. I was so confused. I said yes, sure, why not? He thought for a moment before declaring that a frog would be okay, but what he really wanted to do was “marry a beautiful puppy who can stand up on her back legs”. He then mimed a dance with his imaginary wife, holding her imaginary front paws. What the…?

I think it is possible that we have over-hyped Earth Day. Loving nature? Good. IN LOVE with nature? A little bit creepy.

Hey, who knows. Maybe one day with the dawning of a new frontier of acceptance, this blog post will be a textbook example of beastiphobia. Love will know no bounds. There will be a remake of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” but instead of Sidney Poitier, it will be a giraffe coming home to meet the family of his future bride. Or we'll star in a documentary depicting Lukey introducing his close-minded parents, to his delightful fiancĂ©e, a well-groomed Chihuahua.

I am writing this in Point Roberts with our resident pond frog croaking in the background. Despite the bleach we keep throwing in there to get rid of the mosquitoes, he persists. Maybe I should be more considerate of that guy. After all, he might be the great-great grandfather of my future son-in-law.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

E- Easter bunny leaves some clues

E- Durlacher Hof

With Spring slow to arrive to the West coast, Les and I decided that
if we couldn't beat the cold we would join it. While the girls skied
with my Mom on the local mountains Les and I headed up to Whistler for
a 24 getaway. With fresh snow at low elevations and the sun finally
coming out, we had a nice drive on the Sea to Sky highway. Les found a
cute Austrian bed and breakfast for a reasonable price. The place was
even nicer than we expected and was perfect for a short getaway with
hot-tubs and a sauna. After walking around the village we had dinner
at Monks on Blackcomb.

On Saturday morning we came back to town just long enough to pick up
the kids and head to Point Roberts for some time hanging out in the
garden eating ice cream.