Archives for September 2007

I Left My Husband in San Francisco

Or, more precisely, United Airlines did.

Jon is flying home tonight from a conference in Ontario, California (outside of LA – a city called Ontario is rather confusing to us Canadians). Anyhow, he was supposed to connect through San Francisco, landing in Vancouver around 9 pm. The latest info is that his flight will not depart the Bay Area until 8:50, and it keeps getting pushed back.

My poor, tired, husband. I hope that he makes it home tonight.

Adventures in Food

I get a weekly grocery delivery from SPUD. They have organic fruits and veggies, and a variety of local and imported foods. Their focus, though, is on local produce. They tell you how far every item travelled to their warehouse, and publish blurbs about the local farmers that grow the food.

Yesterday, along with the best melon I have ever tasted (it was a Galia, and it came from the interior) I had a case of tomatoes delivered. The tomatoes came from an Klippers Organic Acres in the Okanagan, and they are absolutely the most beautiful tomatoes that I have ever seen. 20 lbs of them, and each one is perfectly ripe. I initially chose the tomatoes, though, partly because I found the profile of the farmers compelling. They’re a young couple with four children, and they clearly take great pride in the food they produce. Something hit me, though, as I looked at their picture. The woman looked familiar, and her name rang a bell somewhere in my mind. Thinking I was on to something, I checked out a website for another large farm family that I know, the Forstbauers.

It turns out I was right. The tomatoes were grown by one of the Forstbauer children. I know the family because our mothers were acquaintances, and about 20 or 25 years ago I used to stuff myself with pick organic blueberries on their farm on Matsqui Prairie. As a child I was always in awe of all those kids, and I always remember them being warm and kind and welcoming. We also had links through the church my mother now attends – my father actually made the cross worn by a former pastor, through the Forstbauer family.

So, there you have it. I was seized by a desire to try canning tomatoes, and I somehow came full circle. Local food is about so much more than eating, it’s about communities and flavour and passion. I am simply delighted to know where my food comes from, and have these connections.

Fab-u-lous

A few weeks ago, I ordered new slippers for Hannah. We went with Pedipeds again, since she loved her last pair so much. I got her to browse the website with me, and let her choose whichever pair she wanted. Imagine my delight when she went with these ones:

Sometimes, my kid is totally cool.

String Bags, the Redux

As you may recall I have these string bags that I love. This weekend I used them twice, once to cart home some apples from a friend’s tree, once at the farmer’s market. However, it all fell off the rails about lunchtime on Sunday.

Hannah and I had a great time at the farmer’s market. We bought strawberries (local, at this time of year!), cranberries, hazel nuts, salad mix, eggs, garlic, and two cupcakes for Jon’s birthday. I ran into some friends. Hannah snagged some stickers at the activity tent. Our haul safe in my string bag, I loaded Hannnah into the car, and attempted to stow the bag in the back seat. It wouldn’t move. The string was stuck on one of the buttons on the seat of my pants.

I spent a minute or two struggling to free the bag from my butt, with no luck. I sized up Hannah, but she was distractedly demanding cupcakes and ignoring my pleas. Plus, she thought it was funny, and wasn’t inclined to resolve the source of her mirth. What to do? It was me, alone in a parking lot with a toddler, and farm fresh produce attached to my backside. Luckily, my good friend Kirsten of Yummy yarn was at her booth, and was able to quickly detach me. I suppose I could have taken everything out of the bag and ridden home with the empty fabric still stuck to my pants, but what of the cupcakes, and the eggs? I couldn’t have them jostling around the car.

So, there you have it. I’m still a fan of the string bags, but I will be far more careful around buttons and bottoms from here on out. 😉

The Story of the Fridge

Jon recently rented a tiny office in downtown Port Moody. One of his big dreams for this office is to have his own little fridge stocked with pop. It’s one of those little things that he finds very appealing. ince his birthday is coming up (tomorrow!), I decided to make his dream come true. I saw a woman at Superstore with her toddler, buying just such a fridge. I thought that if she could manage it alone with a 2-year-old, surely I could, so I set out.

I stopped at Costco, where Jon said that he has seen a fridge he liked. I found the fridges, but all I could see were full-sized models, and one ridiculously expensive glass-doored option. Discouraged, I decided to head across the street to Home Depot. I did not take this action lightly, as my experience with Home Depot is sketchy, to say the least. But it was right there, and I was sure I had seen just the fridge I was looking for at that store.

So, I loaded Hannah in the cart (for containment, more than anything) and made my way to the appliance section. I found a couple of promising options, but immediately there was a problem – no sales associate. A kind lady from the paint section tracked one down, but it took 5 minutes. Not a big deal unless you consider that 5 minutes is an ETERNITY to a 2 1/2 year old strapped into a shopping cart that isn’t moving.

Once the sales associate finally arrived, I just had a bad feeling about the whole thing. He kept telling me why I didn’t want this fridge or that fridge, and told me which one to choose. It was a little bigger than some of the other options, so I began to have my doubts as to whether or not I could handle it on my own. But I just wanted to get out of that store, so I put down my plastic. My fears only increased when they called a large burly guy to help the other guy with the fridge.

Out to the car we go, and it’s immediately clear that there’s no way this will fit into my Civic, at least as long as I have my kid in her carseat. So, I ask them if we can come pick it up later with Jon’s SUV. All good, except I have to go back inside the store, where it takes another 10 minutes for them to complete the process of:
1. Issuing me a refund on the original purchase.
2. Creating the ‘will call’ order.
3. Creating the bill.
4. Finally having me pay.

All this time, my toddler is even more restless than she was earlier. Plus, now I’m feeling bad because I’m going to make Jon drive to PoCo and pick up his own birthday gift. Not exactly the spirit of giving I had in mind.

Later that night, after dinner, we headed back to the Depot. First, Jon wanted to make a stop at Costco, where he found the fridge he really wanted on the other side of the display. $30 less than the Home Depot, and stainless steel, which apparently he prefers (who knew?). So, he bought that fridge, then we headed back across to the Home Depot to return the other fridge (again), which technically had never left the store.

So, the long and short of it is I wasted an afternoon for no good reason whatsoever. Even if I had found the fridge at Costco, it wouldn’t have mattered because I could never have gotten it into my car, and home, by myself. I could have saved myself the drive to PoCo and back, and any foray into Home Depot altogether. Not to mention the humiliation of appearing to be incapable of purchasing a birthday gift for my husband.

Jon has his Costco fridge in his office now, and he loves it, which is the important thing. And Hannah and I went out on Thursday and bought him a much smaller gift that he can open. That, and the demonstration of my love that was a day lost in big box stores will hopefully be enough of a gift for him. It will have to be, because I am spent, and unable to contemplate any more birthday shopping in the near future. 🙂

Married With Children

I was listening to a radio call-in show today that was discussing declining marriage and birth rates in Canada. It was interesting enough that I decided to do some googling about birth rates in Canada, and I found this really interesting article online from Macleans magazine.

Several callers on the radio program today mentioned incentives as a way to increase the birth rate. My gut reaction was that I couldn’t imagine incentives would increase the birth rate. I have a child, and my decision to have a baby or not was not influenced by any baby bonus I would receive. The article points out that I’m not alone. Cash incentives for babies, while nice, don’t affect birth rate. After all, no government can come close to covering the costs that come with childrearing. Incentives that contribute to a better work-life balance, on the other hand, those make a difference.

This all makes sense to me, as a working mother. The prospect of more generous maternity leaves, more affordable high-quality childcare, or more flexibility in the workplace could really make a difference for me, and I can only imagine for most other families too. It’s expensive, though, and there are so many demands on public funds. Still, I think it’s food for thought. Do we, as a society, really value families? Do we view children as blessings or burdens? And, are we willing to put our money where our mouth is?

Play it Again, Dad

Hannah has entered that delightful stage of childhood where she wants to see and hear the same things over, and over, and over. Whether it’s a book, a TV episode, or a song, she is happy to find one she likes and stick with it.

Poor Jon, who covers story time when he’s home, gets the brunt of it. You see, the sad truth is that while toddlers may love the 86th reading of Piglet Gets the Sniffles just as much as the first, adults do not. In fact, many find it downright tedious. Or so I’ve heard. 😉

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