Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summer in Stockholm

Last weekend I decided to take my bike on an epic journey:   from our little municipality south of Stockholm, to a friend's municipality north of Stockholm (her daughter was turning 2 and we had some goodies for her that I wanted to drop off) - perhaps not 'epic', but with my one-gear bicycle, I figured the 16 km journey would take me approximately an hour there, and an hour back.  So, once the girls laid down for their mid-day nap, I packed up my stuff, said farewell to Mayu and headed out. 
For the first 45 minutes, it was a lovely ride.  The sun was shining and there is no better place ot be than Stockholm in the summer;  patios are full, frosted glasses are teeming with ice cold lager, bottles of rose are happily being downed and the hipsters - which, let's face it, is every Stockholmer - are out looking cooler than their dads. 
With only a few more kilometers to go, I lost control of my bike, veered off to the side of the road, only to look down and see my busted old tire, FLAT!  Since bikes aren't allowed to be taken on the subway here, and we don't drive, compiled with the fact that I don't have a mobile to contact anyone to help me, my options were few:  walk my busted old bike the 13km back home or lay down and die.  So I started back.  Since the walk back was slow going, I compiled a checklist of sorts, if one is ever to move to Stockholm:  The Stockholm Summer Survival Guide: 
1.  Straight hair.  If your hair is curly, you might not even bother visiting Stockholm.  The locals will view you as wild, unconforming, unwilling and, honestly, unsocialist.  You will also be unable to sport one of this season's dos:  long, short or male.     
2.  Ray-Bans.  Other sunglasses will not protect you from the Nordic sun, there is no other way, Ray-Bans or blindness, this is what I've been told.
3.  Children, preferably babies, a lot of them.  Safety in numbers.
4.  Chinos - beige or black (although I was recently informed that if you live in Ostermalm, you must own red ones), rolled messily, and exactly 2.5 times to hit the lower shin.  I'm guessing this has something to do with survival from lime disease - or mushroom picking, but I can't be sure. 
5.  Tattoos.  Preferably a sleeve, but something small and visible will do as well.  This is an important tribal marking to distinguish yourself as a Stockholmer, without a tattoo, in the case of a city riot, you never know what the wolves will do.
6.  Toms, white Converse (although in recent times black and navy are being seen as acceptable) or Hasbeens.  Without at least one pair of one of these, you will never out run a Swede and in a knife fight, is this what you want?  I should mention that, in winter, it is perfectly acceptable to wear Sorels or Hunter wellies.
7.  A bike.  Any one-gear retro bike will do, as long as it is equipped with a basket and gigantic saddle, but of course, the Stockholmers' favourites include Kronan, Monark and Cresent.  These last three are better equipped to fight off the Germans, if every under attack (this is only what I've been told).
8.  And lastly, rose wine.  To thaw the ice-cold Stockholm persona which one might encounter during the winter months - get a few glasses of rose into a Stockholmer and you have a friend for life, or at least until the next winter.  

If you follow this survival guide closely, you will not only be better off during any German attacks, or Swedish riots, but you might even be mistaken as a Stockholmer and if your Swedish won't pass, just purse your lips, breath in quickly, sort of through your teeth, making a loud sucking noise, and they'll think, at very least, you are from the South.  

I finally made it home on Saturday, after 2.5 hours of walking my busted rusty Kronan home.  My kids were, outside, playing, Mayu was hanging our chinos out on the line, and I poured myself a glass of rose and put my feet up.  I love summer in Stockholm. 

Until next time,

Grumpy Old Sarah. 

As the weather gets hotter, don't forget to take advantage and put a clothes line outside for fresh smelling, environmentally kind laundry!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dinnertime Redundancy

A couple friends of mine and I have an ongoing thread on facebook whingeing about all the things that are driving us mad about our's not to seek pity or to consol one another, but rather to top each other's kids' disgusting and miserable behavior to get each other laughing (now that I've spelt it out, it all seems very sinister!).  Well, for this one, I will share beyond our private thread:  dinner time. 

Since having kids, I've not shared in others' feelings of trepidation with new foods or understood how mealtime was difficult - in fact, we've been lucky with both our kids - they eat most things (sometimes need extra coaxing with veggies), and a lot, and we've never had to worry.  It's always been a quiet time of day - mouths full, chewing, swallowing, anywhere from 10-30 minutes of bliss...that is, until recently. 
Recently, Olive has to decided to quickly slip into her 'I'm an asshole outfit' right before dinner time (and it fits all too well I'm afraid!). 

First, it's up to the table, drink madly and wildly, milk seeping from the corners of her mouth (I let this go).  Then it's "Spoon mamma, inte fork!" (I always have both on the table in preparation, I give her a spoon).  "NEJ mamma, Olle's fork, inte spoon, hands!" (I don't let this go), "Fork or spoon Olive?".  Both utensils are now on the floor.  I pick them up, return them to her with no words (I'm usually too angry to calmly and patiently explain to her why this behavior is ridiculous, so I just hand them back to her).  One day she loves carrots, the next she hates them.  For, sometimes, 3 days in a row, she's crazy for rice and peas, then, on day four, rice and peas are a weapon to be thrown 'ping, ping' off her sister's head.  SERIOUSLY?!?!  And since the  weather's been nice and we spend most of our time outside, she NEVER wants to eat - it's a big drama every time I say the words, 'Dinner Time'.  "One more time slide?"  "Ok, Olive, 'one more time slide' and then dinner'".  As if.  She'll run in, jump up to the table, eat one bite, and then "Outside, play with kids?".  "Olive, you must eat more than one bite"...and these words just throw her over the edge! 

And what is worse?,  I have recently been told, that 3's are worse that 2' I'm determined to nip this behavior in the bud before we get to her 3rd birthday - but how??  I've read loads on discipline, behavior, positive reinforcement, forget it!  I have one determined kid.  I've thought of letting her starve...until she comes in begging to be fed, but I have to feed my youngest who, by 5pm, is getting ultra grumpy and hungry, so I can't keep an eye on Olive outside.  In with the masses I'm afraid.  And a few times, I've managed to feed Poppy outside while Olive plays, but then Olive claims that I'm starving her at precisely 7pm (coincidently, her bedtime might I add!)...and truthfully, I'm not interested in running a restaurant.    
In the end, I try telling myself, these shenanigans will be replaced by far worse shenanigans when the girls are in their teen years, which helps me not to kill the girls, but it doesn't make me any happier about the current situation. 

Until next time,

Grumpy Old Sarah.  

We're quickly approaching last frost in Stockholm (sort can't be sure until June), so get those seedlings started to enjoy your summer harvest!  Feel free to check out your climate zone above.  A funny blog entry I came across while searching for the last frost, read, "Dear Swedenyou suck. Your spring is awful, your wine is expensive."  I like it, especially the bit about the wine!               

Monday, May 2, 2011

Green Thumbing It

Since I last wrote, the weather has gone from winter to summer and then back to winter (not quite, but it is damn chilly today!), my eldest turned 2, Prince William (last name:  Mountbatten-Windsor, if you can even believe) of the UK married,  Bin Laden was killed (apparently) and Donald Trump has become the next president of the United States (ok, it hasn't been quite that long, but who knows between this entry and the next...)...and it's only been a month!  But perhaps the most remarkable development of all, since I last wrote, is the growing season has begun...

tomatoes, sunflowers and yellow beans


green beans and sunflowers

(insert appropriate 'ooooos' and 'awwwwws' here please)  Mayu hates me for this time, as all of my seedlings are kept in our bedroom - if you follow his blog nerdhusbandfather you may remember some venting last year!  

For those of you not interested in green-thumbing, this might not make your 'Top 10 Comebacks', yet, this blog entry promises to be magnificent.  No, I'm kidding, I can't make such will merely follow with 'fun facts' about parsley and fertilizer...oooooo, and, wait for it....GREEN BEANS!  Yes, this is my new project - flowers are always on the agenda, together with herbs and peas and splicing of my sedum, hosta and rhubarb, but this year, in addition to continuing the tomato tradition (albeit last year was a disaster) I will be planting the following edible plants:  green beans, yellow beans, peas, and sunflowers (mostly for the birds).  Moms & dads out there - these are all very easy and fun ways keep your kids outside.  Both my girls are CRAZY for our garden, which is a huge motivation to keeping it stocked (if you don't have a garden, much of what I plant and will further discuss over the season can be planted in boxes on your balcony, or even inside on a window sill).  Both girls help to plant and dig outside (Poppy just eats dirt mostly, but she has a blast doing so!) and Olive has learned, quickly, which paths to take in the garden to get to the herbs and rhubarb without trampling the flowers.   Every evening, following dinner, we head outside (if we've come in at all...usually we eat dinner outside and don't come in until bathtime/bedtime) to water everything.  Both girls love it; Olive has her own watering can which she dumps and fills as quickly as possible, and Poppy drags herself along trying to keep up.   It really is a magnificent time of year to have little ones around.  In fact over the Easter weekend, it wasn't just our kids helping, it was all the neighbourhood kids - all little people seem to easily get into the spirit of things. 

Easter gardening with the neighborhood kids

 And if you do take heed -  a great, organic fertilizer is nettles.  Take a bunch of the readily available weed, chop them up into a bucket (keeping your gloves on the entire time of course), fill the bucket with water and let rot (a couple weeks is usually good - but the stinkier the better, and MAN can this concoction get stinky!).  Mayu complains about my chosen method of fertilization, because of the putrid smell...but, truthfully, you only need to use about a cup diluted in a large watering can, once a week - I do it late in the evening, before bed, it smells for an hour or so but by morning there's no trace and all your plants remain KID FRIENDLY (not to mention earth-animal-etc friendly)!! 

Olive eating some garden goodies...
Poppy enjoying the sun, her snack and the daffodils (I'm only guessing)

Until next time (and be rest assured, as you lay your head down to sleep tonight, that you will not have to wait for another savvy read for as long as you waited this time),

Grumpy Old Sarah

As promised:  It is said that parsley goes 7 times to the Devil and back before it germinates (because of the long time it takes to grow).  Moreover, because of the difficulty in growing it, it is said that only witches or evil people can grow it...some food for thought if you're planting to keep anyone away...but also to keep in mind if you choose to grow from seed (I have quickly learned, that, this is as tough as they say).  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Traits vs. Flaws vs. Soft Skills: What's the difference?

A friend just posted the above article, on her fb, from Babble.  I read it through, and was crying by the end.  I give credit to the author for finding the bravery to share her thoughts, but wonder if her daughter will feel the same way when she is grown and reads it.  I also couldn't help but wonder how much of the author's description of her daughter was, in fact, a projection of how she feels about herself, and her own insecurities??  
My mom always knew that she wasn't her mother's 'favourite', in fact, my grandmother said something to her, when my mom was a young adult, that she found her 'hard to like', and 'didn't really understand her'.   I didn't know my great-grandmother well, but I've heard that she was a hard-ass, and although my mom liked her as a grandmother, I have often wondered what she was like to my grandmother, as a mother.   It is my guess, that something has trickled down my family tree, generation to generation, as my mother often told me, that she found me 'very challenging, emotional (she often calls me a cry-baby in jest), stubborn and bossy'.  She still sees me this way, and that's ok.  But it wasn't always. 
My mom made it known that she loved me, but she also reminded me that I possessed certain character 'traits'.  She always mentioned them with humour, in a 'poking fun' sort of way, but I still felt very insecure about them, feeling that by 'traits', she meant 'flaws'.  For a long time, I tried to hide these 'traits' from people, and attempted to change myself to be more calm, less emotional, more flexible and less bossy.  As it turned out, this was impossible (surprise, surprise).  Later, I learned to live with these 'traits', alienating and distancing myself, slightly, from others.  But then, around the time I met my husband, I began to become comfortable with, and appreciative of, these 'traits'.  In fact, the other day I was working on my CV and, with the help of Mayu, I massaged out, into words, certain 'traits' into 'soft skills' - it's a great exercise for anyone (and easiest to do with someone who loves you!).   Write down a list of all of your, so called, character flaws or 'traits' or less-desirable qualities:  lazy, slow, takes on too many projects, talks too much, loud, etc, and, in turn, make your list into a list of 'soft skills':  enjoys taking time with projects, careful, thoughtful and meticulous, thrives when multi-tasking, extremely social and co-operative, charismatic, etc.  My husband, very kindly, describes me as having boundless energy, empathetic and passionate, committed and a born leader (he is the master of 'soft-skilling'). 
Now, my youngest daughter, Poppy, is a miniature version of my husband:  calm, cool, low maintenance and even-tempered - always has been.  They are two peas.  And, just as I love, adore and admire Mayu for all of these qualities, I love, adore and admire Poppy for them.  My first born, Olive, on the other hand, is a miniature version of me:  the very opposite of Poppy.  It took me a long time to get comfortable with, and understand the worth of, my 'traits', but because I am and do, I LOVE all of these, very same, 'traits' in Olive.  If I hadn't come to love myself and be confident in who I am, I don't believe I could love Olive the way I do. 
If I could give any advice to a parent, it would be:  Be happy with, love and appreciate yourself, and your partner, as it is very, very likely, you will see all of you and your partner's 'traits' in the faces, expressions and actions of the little people who live with you (it's like a house of mirrors being a parent!)...this makes it easy to love your children - equally, wholly, and unbiased.    Olive will be the president of the world one day (and Poppy her diplomatic, mediating, peaceful vice-president), I'm sure of this.  And she will do great things, in her own way.  And I will make sure just as my mom did, and her mom, and her mom, that she realizes that there is a line, where certain character 'traits' can, in fact, be character 'flaws', but unlike my mom, and her mom, and her mom, I hope I will make sure that she realizes the potential of these 'traits', is able to view them as 'soft skills' and appreciates their worth.  
Until next time,
Grumpy Old Sarah

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mom knows best?? WHO knows best??

I have a strange fear that one of my girls, one day, will show signs of being autistic.  This isn't an all-consuming fear, just a small neurosis, which, from time to time, when one of the girls bobs their head one too many times, or sways back and forth for an extended period of time (with or without music), I find myself, at the computer, googling symptoms of autism.  I don't know why, and I know I'd love either one of them just as I do now, but perhaps it's one of the more unimaginable diseases to cope with as a parent.  In any case, I was recently googling some strange head jiggling Poppy was doing, and found the following in a slew of advice for parents of autistic kids:
Parents are usually good at observing, describing and understanding their children. Parents also, of course, need to advocate for their children in school and elsewhere. But even mothers don't always know what will work for their child and often a teacher or therapist will discover a talent, need, ability or challenge that surprises you. In short, maternal instinct is wonderful, but it has its limits. And by insisting that you always know what your child needs, you may limit the options available to him or her.
There are so many websites for parents of "normal" children advocating, the very opposite, that 'the parent knows best', but then, to read the above??...
ACTUALLY??  I think more websites should pass on the above advice to parents.  I'm very tired of hearing that 'only mom knows best' or 'only the parents can decide what is right for their children'.  Why is it that parenting is a job where instincts rule, formal education, training or licensing is not required (even frowned upon) and criticism, input and advice from others can seem intrusive and offensive?  Can you imagine any other job you've held where the above criteria or attitude was OK?  No, you can't, because no one assumes in formal employment, that you  are perfect or were just 'born to do it' (except, maybe, Doogie Howser - but even he had a supervisor)...there is always learning to be done, advice to be taken, mistakes to be made and criticism to be heard.  I have, personally, felt several times since becoming a parent that I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I'M DOING.  During these periods, I do not assume that some 'killer instinct' will kick in and magically I will acquire all the advice and knowledge of every parenting expert, book author or pediatrician out there - no, these are the times where I google, I read, I listen, I spend countless hours poring over parenting advice from experts, friends and family - and not just the ones that share my beliefs...because, really, what gives me the right to barricade my children off from the world and opinions I may not share?  "A person's a person no matter how little" (Dr Seuss), and the last time I checked, you can't own a human being.  So, since I don't own them, yet have great influence over them, I, therefore, have a great responsibility to them.       
"And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.  And he said:  your children are not your children.  They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.  they come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you."  Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet.   
Now, I realize that the above is a tad ideological; that my kids will, likely, have many, many traits that Mayu and I have inadvertently passed on through subtle brainwashing, but I'd like to think, that it is my responsibility to bring all sides of the coin into our house, attempt to humble myself, and listen, even try some of those 'expert opinions' on for size.  I want my kids to do well, not just in this family, but in society.  I want them to be better than me.  To perform better, sleep better, be more adventurous eaters (I like nearly everything, but eyeballs, toes, brains and some organs still test my limits) and be happier than me.  I want all things for them, many of which I do not, I remind myself that,  "The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you'll go" again, Dr Seuss. 
Until next time,
Grumpy Old Sarah
"You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself, any direction you choose."  Dr Seuss (WHAT A GUY!)   

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dumb Luck

Currently, Mayu earns the monies & I do the book keeping.  This is a major problem for a couple of reasons:  (1).  I'm terrible at budgeting; I don't know the first thing about it; I can't keep track of my receipts, nor do I know, really, how much money our household spends & (2).  I'm an impulsive, online shopaholic, so when I sit down at the computer, go online to to pay bills, I also open a tab (or two) to one of my favourite online stores - currently one of the following:  brandos, ikea or bygghemma.  But since Mayu works fulltime, and I'm home with the girls, we agreed that I would take on all duties involved with the "house" (plus, Mayu's a far more extravagant impulsive shopper than I am!)   Together, financially, we're a mess.  But the thing is???, we never, really, suffer any consequences (financial ones, that is).  The only thing I can chalk it up to, is dumb luck - the key word being dumb. 
Let me explain.
I took out some MAJOR student loans for my undergrad.  Since, when we left Canada, Mayu was being deported, we always figured we'd apply for the necessary visas and return.  At the time of deportation, we changed our permanent billing address to my mom's.  So 3 countries later, 4 apartments and a few hostels, we ended up here, in Sweden, and bought the place we live in now.  I recently acknowledged the unlikelihood of, ever, returning to Canada to live, and contacted the appropriate lenders (the Canadian Government) to give them my new permanent address in Sweden.  The conversation went a little like this:
Loan shark:  Since you are living outside of Canada & the United States, you will have to pay your student loans in full, today.
Me:  Ummmm, $30,000?
Loan shark:  Let me just check...ummmm....actually, $32,463.
Me:  That's ridiculous, I can't do that.  Why can't I keep on making my monthly payments?
Loan shark:  Because our current system cannot make these arrangements.
Me:  What do you mean, 'make these arrangements' - I would just keep on paying as I do, from my Canadian bank account, I don't understand.
Loan shark:  That's just how it is.  Also, if you cannot pay in full, current foreign law prevents us from taking any measures to collect this money. 
Me:  So, if I can't pay today, I don't have to pay ever?  This all seems pretty dumb, no?
Loan shark:  Correct.  And I must apologize now, as I will have to call you at this number a few more times.
Me:  That's ok.  Ok, thank you and have a nice day.
Loan shark:  You too.  Bye.
SERIOUSLY?  and folks, I am not kidding.  Now, I understand, getting deported and moving continents to dodge student loans might be extreme, but at least you know it's an option!  lol!    
We faced another dumb collection as a consequence of Mayu's deportation.  We owed money to a telecommunications company in Canada for mobiles which we could not use anymore because we were leaving the country.  We called to cancel our contract, but they wouldn't let us out of our 5 year contract (with 4 years remaining) - despite Mayu's deportation - and they wanted us to pay for the mobiles in full!  I told them no, that was ridiculous and that I would return the mobiles, and pay our bill up to that date.  Well, they wouldn't budge on the matter, so we just didn't pay them, period.  I think we might have, even, smashed our phones in the Toronto airport as a big f-you to the company (dumb, I know).  A year later, the telecommunications company was bought by an American company, and our names were taken off their 'customer list'  - we never heard from them again! 
Now, don't get me wrong, Mayu & I are by no means, unconscientious borrowers, nor do we test this so called dumb-luck theory - but because we're so shitty at budgeting and spending, and our lives keep taking us on unexpected journeys, we just keep happening upon this dumb luck (knock on wood!).    
Now, before you wish this dumb luck on yourself, please realize, there are consequences, maybe not financial, but other.
Case in point, this morning:  We have stocks that vest every year, for the next 5 years, and I thought a bunch were vesting this month.  It's terrible when they do - it's about 8000kr or $1000 we're out that month, and because Mayu and I are so shitty at budgeting, we usually only manage to save about half that in preparation.  So, I was bracing myself for a bad month, when Mayu tells me today that he's getting paid MORE this month - what? why?  talk about DUMB luck - because he didn't take all his vacation time from last year!  Had I not completed a Masters in June, had we not had a second baby June 20 (with a 15 month old toddler at home), renovated a kitchen (including tearing down walls and laying new floors!) and taken a 1 month holiday over Christmas, I could POSSIBLY understand Mayu having vacation time 'left-over', but, with all the chaos that happened last year, he definitely should have taken ever millisecond of vacation time owed to him.  So, although, without planning, this month will be a good one, do not believe for a second that we will not suffer the consequences:  stress-related heart attacks by the ripe old age of 35 - cause of death?  dumb luck.

Until next time,

Grumpy Old Sarah

'Only fill the kettle with the water you need' - if everyone in the UK did this, they would have enough electricity to power all the street lights in the country.  cool right?

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Countdown it on…

I began the ultimate test of a mom of two on Tuesday – Mayu’s gone away, for work, to California for a week, well, in truth?   5 days, or rather, 4 sleeps.  For all of you parents who have done it alone for a night, or two, or three, or several, or God-forbid, are single parenting, you are ridiculous (and I mean this with great admiration)!  I take my hat off to you, HELL, our whole damn family is taking off ALL our hats!! 
06:15 – Mayu and I enjoyed our last cup of coffee together, in peace and quiet, as the girls were still sleeping – he was out the door by 06:45, anxious, sad, it was horrible – we embraced as if he was going off to war (although, we all know who was really left in the trenches!)
07:30 – Olive yells out “MAMA!” and Poppy sweetly coos…my coffee was done and I was feeling good and rested, I went, got the girls…diapers, breakfast, a quick play, clothes on, out the door…
09:00 – dropped Olive at school (she’s overjoyed, ‘bye-bye Mama, bye-bye Poppy’)
09:15 – Poppy was popped in her cot for nap #1, I began to install a kitchen backsplash (a surprise for Mayu that I’ve been planning for some's no easy feat to hide 30kg of adhesive and grout in an 89sqm place!)
10:15 – Poppy’s up, sweetly cooing away in her cot, I went, got her up, diapers, play, lunch...
12:00 – Poppy’s back in her cot for nap #2, I finish adhering the backsplash
14:30 – Poppy & I arrive to pick up Olive, she was happy to come home, we played the day away, ate, hung out, and I had both girls into their beds by 18:45
I put my feet up, have a glass (or two) of wine, admire my handy-work in the kitchen and have a chat with my sister
22:00 – good night
I KNOW, I KNOW, you're thinking, "Wtf Sarah, you want us to continue reading an hourly account of your mundane life over the next 3 days?"...I wish, keep reading...
Plays out nearly exactly the same as Tuesday - minus the farewell to Mayu and I didn’t work as hard on the backsplash, cleaned up the tiles and set up my work station to begin the job of grouting the next day.  We also spent the afternoon and had dinner with our friends Anna, Clint, Mona & Hugo.  Olive was terrible company, whinging all afternoon – I chalked it up to being a toddler who had a shitty nap.
 Again, both girls in their beds by 18:45, I with my feet up by 19:00, wine in hand and 2 newly downloaded Gossip Girl episodes!  In bed by 21:00.
WELL, just when I thought the next 3 days would be a breeze, and life would carry on as it was…
23:00 – I hear Olive, FREAKING out, coughing, spastic, I go in, she’s a mess.  I didn’t want her to wake Poppy, so I brought her into bed and WHAT A MFNIGHT!  I am not shitting you – I have NEVER had such a night.  Not when the girls were brand-spanking new and were super annoying, not through one of their sicknesses; NEVER have I had one of the girls up for such a time!  Olive cried and coughed all night.  A couple times, she coughed so hard, she puked, and another time, her coughing fit was so bad, I wondered how the fuck I’d get to the hospital with both girls in tow.  Olive woke Poppy a couple times, then Poppy went crazy and by 03:00, she, herself, had a cough.  Oh man! 
Sometime after 03:00, both girls managed to suppress their coughs and we all got a little shut eye, but like clockwork, were all at the breakfast table by 07:30.  COFFEE!  OMG, I forgot to get cat food...
We were at the doctors by 10:00, filled a prescription by 11:00, and picked up cat food and lunch and were all in bed for naps by 12:00.  The afternoon was very sad – both girls were super tired and clingy and we all just laid on the couch for the afternoon watching a mix of Despicable Me, Project Runway and AFVs.
So here it is folks, I’m halfway there – I pray tonight will be easier, and with that I’m off to get some sleep.  I’m disappointed that my tiles won’t be grouted to surprise Mayu with, however, at this rate, I’ll be lucky to surprise him with 3 humans:  alive, and 2 cats:  alive.  But seriously, if you never hear from me again, I have failed this test, and my cats are eating my carcass (don’t worry, Olive has carried Poppy to safety and is telling the neighbours what an ordeal the past 2 days have been without her dad around)…
Until next time, IF there is a next time,
Grumpy Old Sarah.
"In the 16th century, melancholia was the elective illness of the exceptional man, of he who had nothing above him.  During the Romantic period, it stood at the crossroads of creative genius and madness.  Today, it is the situation of every individual in Western society." 
Alain Ehrenberg, The Weariness of the Self    
And remember folks, shop locally.