Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rosh Hashanna

Someone please tell me why all the Jewish holidays are at the least convenient times?

The High Holidays come during harvest, canning, and winter planting. Pesach comes right when I want to do summer planting. Plus I have a million little starts that need fussing over.

This is just a long way of explaining why I've spent the evening harvesting the parsnips and carrots, baking nine loaves of bread, three honey cakes, and ten pots of blackberry jam. I'm not normally this productive.

Once upon a time, Jewish cooking was a great thing. But Internet, these are not our glory days.

Munchkin is certainly theologically prepared. Her favourite song as of late is Hallelujah. If you've never heard a five-year-old croon Leonard Cohen, you haven't lived.

She also likes Bruce Springsteen from The Seeger Sessions. As a result, she responds perfectly to the following prompt:

"G-d gave Noah the rainbow sign . . . "
"No more water the fire next time!"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Doom Dog

My mother's dog, Strawberry, hates me. Strawberry is a small, grumpy shih tzu. Shih tzus are not the picture of health and virility at the best of times. this one is obviously the shih tzu runt. But not runty in a cute way. Just stringy. When she's wet, she looks like a drowned rat.

Strawberry hates me.

Strawberry has always hated me. I think she thinks I'm an intruder on my mother's main activity of feeding and otherwise pampering Strawberry. I demand she pee outside in the snow. I try to prevent my children from feeding her cereal and ice cream. I do nothing but thwart her desire to eat food that's bad for her, pee on the carpet, and sit on a pillow.

Strawberry is fifteen years old. She will never die.

Or so I thought. This morning my mother called me to say that she needed help. Strawberry had been, well, emitting. From three orifices. Orifi? Anyhow, it was bad. My mother had been cleaning all night and was beside herself. She assumed that Strawberry was preparing to die. Strawberry was wandering around, stunned.

Because I am a good daughter and do not believe in cheap grace, I bundled up the children and off we went. I secreted the children in another room with my mother and set out to attack Strawberry's presents.

Did I mention this dog hates me?

I have three children. I have never smelled anything so bad in my life. Rotovirus has nothing on the smell that this dog made. And this dog made this smell in every room in the house, sometimes in several forms in every room.

I cleaned it all up. I got out the mop. I got out the bleach. I mopped up the entire house.

She wandered a drunkard's path on to the landing and threw up. Then she threw up on the bookshelf. Then she went to sleep.

It had been totally perfectly clean.

I cleaned it up again. I mopped the floors again. I took out the garbage again. Then, I took a breath.

My mother's house smelled exactly like a vet's waiting room. It was bleach-on-vomit. I hadn't identified "vet smell" before, but now I know exactly what it is. It is the smell of bleach on top of worse-than-roto-virus-doggie-puke.

Strawberry didn't die. She'd eaten some moldy carrots from a forgotten lunch, plus most of the ziploc baggy. She's still with us; or rather, with my mother. She still hates me.

I think she will live forever.

Firefly has said his first word. It's "woof."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back Ache

Sometimes a zeitgeist takes the blogosphere. Minimalism, for example. The entire Christian blog community convulsed with pretend-amishness a few years ago. In the mommyworld, it's usually some reheated hippie stuff. Some new gloss on not vaccinating, or birthing in the living room, or never letting your kids within ten miles of plastic.

Right now a lot of people are into "living simply."

I have three children five and under. The only way I could simplify would be to ditch two of them. there is no socially acceptable way to do this, so we're going to have to work out a way to be happy with complications.

Well enough. But why does "living simply" translate into "moving to a farm"?

In that vein, I recently read This Life is in Your Hands and The Egg and I. The former is about an organic vegetable farm (affiliated with Helen and Scott Nearing) and the latter about a chicken farm.

Nothing about a farm looks simple or uncomplicated to me. I keep a fairly intense garden. I'm kind of glad that when something doesn't work out, it's easy to dispose of the evidence. I definitely keep a closer eye on the kids because of this quality. Cows, sheep, that sort of thing, they definitely fall into the "awkward disposal" category.

Second, I'm not sure that I'm responsible enough to own animals. I'm responsible enough to own children, but the standards are much lower for that. No one is going to get e coli if I forget to change the sheets this week.

Finally, as I explained in my previous entry, I'm heavily lettuce-centric. I'm not sure that there's a huge market for that.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nesting Doll

My mother went to Texas. She brought Munchkin a Russian nesting doll. Munchkin is entranced. She carries it everywhere. I asked her why. Munchkin says, "mummy, she has no feet."

This is quite true.

Genome started yelling, AAAAAAAAAAH.


Genome said, "Mummy, shhhh! You as noisy as Firefly!"

That isn't the silliest thing I've done today. the silliest thing I've done is suggested putting a toy soldier in the time out chair, because it hurt Munchkin's feet when she stepped on it.

The winter garden is in. If I had a theme for it, it would be "lettuce." And kale. And more lettuce. So help me, the range is limited for outdoor gardening in Canada in the winter.