Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prime Sliding Time

Bannister Sliding- a fine past time of many a young child, including myself until about the age of twelve. When I was younger, it just seemed to make sense that you never walk down the stairs if you can help it. Whenever possible, you slide down the bannister. Almost every morning, when my parents woke me up at some insanely early hour to read scriptures before my sisters went to seminary, I would slide down the bannister, even in my groggy state. I remember always being a trifle disappointed around Christmas time, when my Mom would always put bows on the bannister and thus prohibit me from sliding. That disapointment was short lived, but I was always excted to return to sliding when the boughs were removed in January. I also learned at a young age that there are some bannisters which cannot be slid down. Namely, bannisters attached to walls. When I was about 6 or 7, I was at a friends house when I decided to slide down her bannister. This was indeed a bannister very close to the wall. But I was young and naive, and I truly believed that I would be able to slide through this narrow gap. Afterall, I did have fairly skinny legs back then. As to be expected, I didn't make it very far. I'd barely began to slide whe I got stuck, and my friend's parents had to unwedge a tearful little girl from their wall.
Of course along with the bad bannisters, there is always the good ones. The truly amazing ones are the kind that are log and curve around a huge atrium. This was the kind of bannister at my cousins house. As little kids, my cousin Rachel and I would slide down that bannister again and again. We were devastated when that house came into the possesssion of another aunt and uncle who did not allow us to slide down that magnificent bannister.
So anyway, my point about bannister sliding (cause you're probably wondering what is even the point to this blog) is this; today at work my nanny children were showing off a few "tricks" they could do using the bannister and the wall. They have one of those infuriating bannisters that turns, so it's so short that even if you do try to slide down it, your torso is as long as the bannister. As I watched my young charges show off, I thought to myself, "How sad. These boys will never be able to slide down their own bannister." Which really is quite a sad thing. Sliding down their own bannister is a rite of passage in a child's life. Then I got to thinking about bannisters, and sliding when I was a kid. I realized that the bannister at my old house-the one I moved out of just last week ago, is actually pretty ideal for sliding. It's no Schneiders sweeping staircase, but it's pretty awesome. I also thought of the new, turning bannister at our new house-not so good for sliding. As I drove home, my mind was fully focused on the opportunites I was missing, and bannisters in general. Feeling spontaneous, I took a turn and ended up at my old house. I let myself in, climbed up the stairs, slide down the bannister, locked the door, and drove home. I hadn't slid down a bannister in years. It's not quite the same, but the fact is, I didn't waste a perfectly good bannister.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monsters Unleashed

The family I work for are pet people, to say the least. The interesting thing though about these so called pets, is that they are both the most unlikely animals you would expect a family with small children to have. First off, there is Bear. Bear is the Smith's dog.They could not have picked a better name for this dog, as Bear is exactly what this dog looks like. I am not sure if Bear is a girl or a boy, as I have heard Bear called both him and her. So I call Bear "it." It is a big dog, taller than the younger boy, and the same height as the older. Like I said before, Bear is not a dog, it is a bear pretending to be a dog. Bear is huge and black and hairy, and it always comes barrelling down the hallway at such a terrific speed that I have to yank my nanny children out of harms way before they're trampled. I like to keep Bear outside, if only for my personnal safety, but with this heat, there is only so long one can keep a giant, long haired black dog in the yard.
This morning, I arrived at work to be greeted with bad news from my employers: Bear was missing. Somehow, during the night, Bear had wandered off and was nowhere to be found. My guess is that it just charged down the gate. Anyway, my employers told me to maybe make missing posters with the boys and post them around the neighbourhood. Before the boys could even finish their breakfast, I got a call from the Smith's neighbours, saying that they had Bear, and we could come and pick it up. I was astonished by the complete amiable tone taken on by this neighbour. The way he was describing Bear, you'd think we was talking about a newborn puppy, not a, bear. I went to this neighbours house wondering if we were in fact, talking about the same dog, and sure enough, this "lovable, docile" dog was Bear. My employers were overjoyed to find Bear, but baffled as to how thier neighbours, who, incidently, they've never met, had recognized Bear as theirs. Again, I had my own explanation in my head. I mean, if you saw someone periodically walking down your street with a bear, wouldn't you take notice?
And then, as if that isn't enough, there is the issue of their cat. Where the name Bear fits the dog to a tea, the cat's name couldn't be more ironic. Snugglepuss, is the most vicious, violent, meanest cat I have ever met. You would expect him to be one of those barn cats that roams around an acreage eating mice and hissing at people. Yet, Snugglepuss is the cat of a family in Hawkwood with little kids. I mean, having a giant bear as a pet is interesting enough, but add Snugglepuss, and you've got a children-eating zoo. Snugglepuss's favoutite past time is leaping on the kids and either scratching or biting them. And it's not just that, I swear that cat's goal in life is to be as irritating as possible. Whenever the boys are playing cars, or setting up something elaborate on the floor, Snugglepuss oh so conveniently decides to take a nap right in the middle of the game. And when I try to move him, cause the kids don't dare touch him, he writhes and claws away until I drop him out of fear. As if that weren't enough, Snugglepuss has really creepy eyes. I know all cats have slightly slanted, mysterious eyes, but seriously, Snugglepuss looks at me and I duck away to avoid his gaze. If you haven't got my point about Snugglepuss yet, let me just say this. Today the boys and I went on a Dinosaur Safari in the backyard. The boys were using all kinds of creatures (mostly bugs) to represent various kinds of dinosaurs. Guess which creature played the role of the T Rex, which they practiced running away from? Why, yes. Snugglepuss.
My sister likes to complain about our fromer next door neighbours cat- Jack. Jack is also an interesting cat, he just casually wanders around the neighbourhood, knowing no boundaries, including our house, which he visits regularly. We all loved Jack, except Janine, who thought he was a vicious, scary cat. Let me tell you, Jack, and any other "scary" pet, is no match for the pet bear and Mr. Not-So-Snuggly-Puss.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

DECLARATION TO ALL: Elena is NOT going to read Harry Potter

Most people who know me, understand how I feel about the Harry Potter books. And in case you care, or are just bored enough to take the time, my rant on how stupid it the books are is explained, in full, on my facebook. So I shan't rant about that now. For the information of those who would try to make me think otherwise, or for those who actually care, I AM NOT READING THE SEVENTH BOOK! And I'm not seeing the movie either. On the 21st of July I will be venturing beyond my couch, and I will not pull an all nighter the day before to find out how many people have died. My only relation to that book will be bugging my HP fan friends just to distrupt them. (Well, actually, on the 21st I'll probably be moving boxes. What else do I do right now?) But back to the point, Elena will never, ever read Harry Potter again, and so stop trying to dissuade her.
As for my primary opponent in the fight against the accursed books, Mr. Trever Walton. (looks mischievious and drums together fingers evily) I look forward to when YOU finish the book, which will probably be at 3 in the morning. Then we can again discuss the "merits" and atrocities of this series in full force.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Grouting Myself Into a Corner

In light of the fact that we are moving in less then a week, our days have become full of odd little fix it jobs and minute details to finish off our new house. You would not believe all the details and decisions that go into building a house. Sheesh. But anyways, to save themselves from paying the home building company another ghastly sum, my parents hired me to paint sealer on all the grouting in our house. FYI- grouting is the cementlike stuff between tiles. This means that I must take a tiny paint brush and paint delicate lines between each and every tile found in our house. I am now in a love-hate relationship with tile. Here is what I have discovered in today's galavantings as a grout painter:
1. The saying "Don't paint yourself into a corner" actually has some merit. Especially when it is a small enclosed space like your parents shower where you have to curl up in a smaller and smaller ball until you're so compact you could be slipped in a handbag.
2. Tile on the ceiling, is never a good idea.
3. The fancy kind of tile, that is neither symetrical or lines up, is hazardous to your health.
4. The sides of the bath tub are not a good place to stand when you are reaching up to the tiles beyond your reach behind said tub.
5. A full wall of tile behind a stove is inefficient for a weak grout painter such as myself.
6. Leaving an open bottle of sticky, smelly grout sealer near your wandering feet is bad hygeine.
7. Fancy cupboards that have details on the bottom and yet still have tiles underneath is not a wise use of space and/or labour.
8. 793 songs is not sufficient entertainment for seven hours of tile painting.
9. If at all possible, when building a house, use a minimal amount of tile, because-
10. Afer a full day of craning my neck and painting diminutive surfaces, I still have to go back tomorrow and do it all again as a second coat.
Fun, fun in the world of grouting!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

There's Hope for Me Yet

"The more I know, the better a wife I"ll be."
These words of wisdom from my Grannie were ringing through my head all this week while my mom was in Edmonton with my new nephew. In her absence, and bearing in mind that my more able-bodied sister Janine was working, I was given the assignment of supper-cooker during her absence. I think my mom has been waiting for this moment here whole life. Make Elena the chef so she can learn to make more than spagetti. First night of my temporary culinary duties, guess what I made? That's right, spagetti. Next night, imagine what this culinary genius pulled out of the freezer. Why yes, frozen pizza it was. You see, when you compare Neen and I's substitute chef stints, they are drastically different. Neen will pull out her archives of Martha Stuarts and concuct an original dish we've never had before, one that you'd rather take pictures of than eat. When I cook, it's more of a, rummage through the deep freeze and make something easy we eat all the time. Even so, last night, my last night to prove my chef-like abilites, after fruitless rummaging (I'd already used everything intersting in the freezer) I gingerly picked up Neen's copy of Martha Stuart Everyday Foods and nervously began skimming recipes. At fist glance I was overcome with despair. Grilled Vegetable Tostadas? What is that? Cream of Asparagus Soup? How could you make that in less than 48 hours? I put the cookbook down and looked at our peanut butter and jelly supplies. Yet, knowing that my dad would never eat just a sandwich for dinner, I gave Martha Stuart a skeptical second glance. At last I came across a recipe where I knew what all the ingredients were, and sounded feasible-pasta with pesto, potatoes, and green beans. We had pesto in the fridge, and how easy is it to boil a bunch of stuff in a pot. I felt so proud of myself. I only wish someone could of seen me, running around the kitchen chopping, stirring, and wishing things would boil a lot faster. The end results were, alright. Not fantastic, and it looked nothing like the picture, or even, asthetically pleasing in any way, shape or form, but it was food, it would suffice for supper. I did learn however, that one should measure the pasta, and not just toss in a handful. I ended with copius amounts of spagetti, which the small jar of pesto I had would not cover. It ended up tasting mostly like the potatoes, which got a little mushed by my meagre attempts to mix up the whole monstrousity.
Still, there is hope for me yet. My mother is deteremined that I must learn how to roast a chicken, and I can always bake. I actually enjoy baking. (Especially pie.) However, my stint is up, Mom's home, the master chef has returned. There will be no potato spagetti tonight.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Cheapest Time of Year

I'm not normally a big Stampede goer, it's too expensive and you always roast alive there. One thing I will always love about the Stampede season though, is the breakfasts. I just love being able to drive around and get a free pancake breakfast at various parking lots. Honestly, if you really wanted to, you could not pay for a single meal all through Stampede. All you have to do is find a breakfast every morning, and stuff yourself to the point that you do not want to eat anymore for the rest of the day. Granted, you'll probably never want to look at pancakes again, but it is a possibility. This morning we went to the breakfast at my dad's office area. Neen and I enjoyed stuffing ourselves full of sausage patties, getting dinosaur tatoos, and stickers and suckers from kid's help phone. I mean, between the breakfast and all the free stuff, why wouldn't you go to as many Stampede breakfasts as you possibly could? For someone as cheap as me, it's the greatest thing since sliced bread; free breakfast and dinosaur tatoos.

Running with a Frisbee

In the early evening I was sitting at this very computer, minding my own business, when who should swoop down but my darling older sister, Janine. "Dearest sister," she entreats me, "Come for a run with me." I refuse. I am not a runner. Though I have nothing against the exercise in general, I am no a go-out-for-a-run type person. Yet the persistence and persuasive attitude of my sister convinces me again, and before I know it, I'm running down the "ravine" by our house. Trying to maintain a civilized conversation becomes possible, and Janine's long legs constantly remain one pace ahead of me. Finally, I state in frustration, (state, not shout, I kept my red head temper in check) "Janine, I am not a runner!" My super athletic, runner-type sister then suggests that I speed walk, and she runs back and forth to not get ahead of me. This is even stranger, as I start to feel like a Mommy with an anxious toddler. A toddler who is 6'1" and surpasses me in intelligance and physical ability. Finally we reach a neighbourhood playground, where my anxious toddler insists on playing. Only her idea of play is pushups, suspended crunchies, and chinups. This is more my kind of thing, so I am content. Minus the chinups, where I get so excited I conk my head on the monkey bar playing the role of our chin up bar. At this point, we head home, walking briskly. Upon reaching home, we set up yoga camp in the basement and Neen spends her time teaching Peter how to stretch properly, and I, completely in my element, experiment with various methods of standing on my head.
It's strange, that running is such an, unfun activity for me. I consider myself to be a moderately athletic person. Give me a frisbee and a field and I'll run for over an hour, but just plain, running down the sidewalk with no objective, nothing to focus on, and no one but a single running partner, drives my crazy. How strange, that the same activity can be so enjoyable, and so maddening in two different circumstances.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Aunt Times 5

This morning at 8:15, (or close to that time) I became an aunt, again. My sister Katey had her second baby boy, Brigham David Thompson. I'm very excited, and slightly disappointed at the same time. Disappointed that she didn't have her baby while I was in Edmonton this week, I just left yesterday. Sheesh. I guess I'll have to go back. Anyway, it's quite exciting, I now have 4 nephews and 1 neice, who thankfully is the oldest so she commands the troops of younger boy cousins. Although, we are in desperate need of another girl in this generation of the family. Even my cousins, are all having boys. I guess we maxed out our limit on girls in the previous generation, especially my family. Poor Ivy.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Quilting Frenzies

As a right of passage in the Young family, all granddaughters must learn to quilt. Because, as grannie herself says, "Thr more you know how to do, the better a homemaker you'll be." So two summers ago, Mikyla and I went to Grannie's house and recieved the lesson, Quilting 101. Every week that whole summer we'd go over, making quilt blocks out of fabric that has been used in everything Grannie's ever made, and listening to CBC. Two years later I have 39 blocks, and am so close to being done it's exhilarating. And yes, and took me two years to get this far, when Grannie can make a quilt in a few weeks. My only excuse is she had to move to Edmonton so I wasn't able to quilt as often. And hey, I'm only learning my homemaking skills. I may be allowed in relief Society yet.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Safe Haven

Okay so, I'm here, I got a blog, I hope you're all happy. Facebook just wasn't cutting it, obviously. So, I'm at my grandparents right now. Visiting, quilting, and enjoying the comforts that only Grannie's house can provide. I find that the homes of both my grandparents are two of my favourite places in the world. I think it's just the sense of continuity you get when here. It's like, in a world that's so fast paced, and always constantly changing, grandparents homes are the safe haven. Grannie and grandpa Young's is always full of homemade quilts to curl up in, and rhubarb anything. Grandma and Grandpa Redd's is always the same old house with grandma sitting in the front room. And you always eat Grandpa's chicken sandwiches with grapes, and cooked carrots. And then you have peach milkshakes. I just love the the continuity. In a world that's always a big confusing mess, grandparents homes are a secure, constant shelter. When I need to get away from the world, I run away to grandma's or grannie's house.