I’m almost done with my holiday decorating, and when I am I’ll have Taylor take lots of nice pictures of everything, but in the meantime here is a sneak peek of my dining room chandelier all dressed up for Christmas.
Tiny things are cute, everyone knows that. Puppies, kittens, babies (after they’re finished looking like Winston Churchill). I’m as much of a sucker for tiny cuteness as anyone, and one tiny cute thing I’m obsessed with is tiny food. Wee burgers! Not just cupcakes but their tiny cousin, mini cupcakes! Little sandwiches cut out with cookie cutters! But something that’s even better than tiny food you make is tiny food that’s already tiny. Imagine my delight when I found all these little items this week:
Tiny Mandarin Oranges
Mandarin oranges are already smaller and cuter than regular oranges, but these mini honey mandarins are about 1/3 the size of regular mandarins. Normally I buy these loose so I can search out the wee-est ones (I’ve gotten them the size of grapes before), but I couldn’t resist the mini-version of the classic cardboard box these came in. I just wish they’d also been wrapped in tiny green papers!
This one is about the size of a large grapefruit, although usually they’re similar in size to cantaloupes or honeydew melons. I actually buy these all the time, regular watermelons are too heavy for me to carry home from the store with my bony girl arms. The most amazing one I ever found was a mini yellow watermelon, which also worked with my obsession for unusually coloured foods.
I almost had a fit when I saw these apple-sized pineapples in the store. My daughter invented a word for things that are enormously tiny- tinormous. We call this a tinormous tineapple. It cost almost as much as a full-sized one, but we never use a whole pineapple up before it gets all brown and gross, and wasting food is bad and something I’m trying to cut back on. Or so I’ve rationalized.
Tiny Oreo Cakesters
Okay, these aren’t a fruit, but they are too cute and delicious to pass up. In fact, I bought originals first but they were all eaten before they could be photographed, and when I went to buy more they were sold out except for one box of goldens. They’re part of the Thinsations line, and each box has five 100 calorie three-packs of toonie-sized cakesters (for non-Canadians, a toonie is just over an inch across).
Way back when, someone posted a cheesy myspace glitter graphic in a general discussion community I belong to. They did it as a joke; the image was all sparkly and stupid, and it said “Stay Posi!” How dumb. But somehow, slowly, it’s kind of become my life philosophy. Looking on the bright side of things, not letting life get me down, making happiness my goal and working towards it. Here are some my favorite tips for staying posi:
1. Don’t be mad.
Back in 2006, I’d just ended a seven-year relationship with my fiancé/babydaddy. He immediately started a new, serious relationship and I was hurt and mad. My anger ate me up inside and started to take over my life, and I couldn’t move on. One day I thought to myself “I’m never going to be happy if I’m so mad all the time. I have to let this go.” So I did. It sounds crazy but it was just that simple, I made the conscious decision to let go of my anger and as soon as I did I felt a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. Letting go of that anger allowed me to be friendly and courteous with my ex, but more importantly it allowed me to open myself up to the new relationship I was starting with the wonderful, wonderful man who would become my husband.
2. Don’t be sad.
2008 was the first year my daughter spent Christmas with her father instead of with me. I figured I had two options: sit at home in my empty apartment feeling sorry for myself, or get the heck out of there! I went with the latter, and my boyfriend and I booked ourselves a week in Maui. A few weeks later we came up with another idea: while we were there we’d secretly get married! We had it all planned out perfectly, but when we got up on the morning of December 22nd and checked our flight status online we found our flight had been canceled. There’d been a snowstorm for the past week and our airline had run out of de-icer for their planes. We tried to find an alternate way to meet up with our connecting flight in Seattle, we tried to get on a different flight altogether, we stood in endless lines at the airport and finally after hours it was over. There was nothing we could do, the whole trip was off and the wedding was not happening.
I sat myself down on the floor in the middle of the international departures food court and bawled my eyes out. Then I went home and bawled my eyes out some more. Then I slept, and when I woke up at 9:30 that night, I had a new plan: Maui in March. I booked new flights that very night, and a few days later I booked us into the cheapest hotel on the island for a whirlwind four-day elopement adventure. I could have wallowed for weeks about my ruined Christmas and my ruined wedding and done nothing, but instead I got over it and did something. We ended up having an amazing trip and a beautiful wedding, and the postponement gave me the opportunity to go to the gym six days a week for three months and get into the best shape of my life, get my dream dress and shoes in time, and secretly book us a suite at the gorgeous (and expensive!) Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea for our wedding night, none of which would have happened if we’d gone when we’d originally planned.
3. Don’t let other dictate what you can and can’t do.
For some reason, people seem to think that because I’m a woman, I can’t do certain things. A couple years ago I had the idea to put in a little brick mini-patio beside my stairs. I had to cut some of the bricks to make them fit, so I got a big chisel and a hammer and went at it. First though, I had to hear all about how you can’t cut bricks with a chisel and I’d have to rent a special saw, and then when I was actually out doing it, all my neighbors asked me “Why isn’t your boyfriend doing this for you?” Oh right, because he’s a man. Other things I’ve wanted to do that people have told me I couldn’t have been: mount a flat screen tv on the wall (done, with some tv-lifting assistance), mount two big, heavy bookshelves up on the wall (done by myself), stain a table (done mostly by myself), and change out light fixtures (done 4 times, 3 by myself). Now when people try and naysay at me I just brush them off because I know myself and I know I can do anything.
4. Don’t spread negativity.
Quick- check your facebook or twitter feed. How many posts can you see where people are complaining about their day? And how many of those people complain about their day every day? With the same complaints every day? Are you one of those people? I used to be- I would only update my twitter when I was really angry or upset, but then I thought to myself “Is this really the public face I want to present to the whole internet? ‘My life is terrible, everything in it is terrible and I just complain complain complain?'” Admittedly I do still post angry and whiny tweets, but I try not to do it so often. On facebook I recently decided to just post non-specific compliments for status updates (You’re so funny! You look great today! You have the best ideas!) and I think people are mostly confused but who knows, maybe someone on my friends list will read it and think “huh, I do look great today.”
Obviously it isn’t possible to be cheerful all the time, and “If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn’t be a human being. You’d be a game-show host.” (Heathers). Still, I keep trying to stay posi and it must be working, because I keep getting happier!
Taylor and I went to see Fantastic Mr Fox on Saturday night. We both really liked it- it was cute and clever and I thought the changes to the plot added nicely to the story rather than detracting from it. It was a book I read over and over when I was young and I’m happy that Wes Anderson didn’t ruin it the way Hayao Miyazaki ruined my all-time favorite childhood book, Howl’s Moving Castle.
The movie was playing at the Fifth Avenue Cinema, where we’ve had a lot of Date Nights. Normally we walk there but it was raining pretty hard and we were running a little late so we took a cab over, but after the movie the rain seemed to have slowed down so being the super-genius that I am I decided that we should walk back downtown. Over the bridge. For half an hour. Did I mention it was raining?
Clearly this was not the best decision I’ve made in my life. Once we got onto the bridge it was so windy and cold! There was no cover and all the cars were sending up huge clouds of fine spray, and I was wearing my duffel coat with a hood that doesn’t stay on very well and non-waterproof boots. Water was pouring down my face and dripping off my nose and seeping into my socks, but I had to laugh because I’d really brought it on myself. About three-quarters of the way across I asked Taylor if he minded going home so I could change- we had plans to go to The Templeton for dinner and I didn’t feel like sitting in a restaurant in my own personal puddle.
Once we got home though, I didn’t really want to go back out. It was cold and wet out there but inside was warm and cozy, with fuzzy animals that wanted to cuddle and the Christmas tree full of twinkly lights that I’d just put up that afternoon. After changing into dry clothes we got as far as the front gate before I asked “Do you think maybe we should just stay home instead?” A quick trip to the market for some food and twenty minutes later we were curled up on the couch in our pajamas with the cat and the dog and some books and another movie to watch. Just two posts ago I said “it’s very important to spend quality date time with your husband”, but sometimes it’s just as important to spend quality regular time too.
The ingredients: non-fat milk, egg nog ice cream, some rum from last Christmas’s nog and my brand new, never before used blender.
In the blender, mix four to five generous scoops of ice cream, half a cup of milk and what he claims was only 2 ounces of rum. Pour it into a glass and sprinkle a little nutmeg on top. We didn’t have nutmeg though; this is cinnamon, which Taylor says “will do in a pinch.”
I asked him how it tasted and he said “… Confusing? Like a thicker than normal rum & eggnog? And you can definitely taste the booze, I mean, the nog does a good job of masking the rum but it’s still very boozy.” That does sound confusing. He also said he could have done without the milk as it made it too runny, and he already added plenty of liquid in the form of rum (I knew it was more than two ounces!).
When you’re old and married with a kid like I am, it’s very important to spend quality date time with your husband so that the two of you don’t end up sitting on the couch in your sweats watching tv every night (five nights a week is enough for that). Between work (especially as we are on opposite schedules) and life and parenting it can be difficult, but lucky for us, my daughter spends three nights a week at her father’s house, giving us plenty of opportunities to go out and have Date Night.
Our most recent Date Night was actually a Date Afternoon. Last Sunday Taylor and I crossed the bridge to go check out the Ravishing Beasts taxidermy exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver. It runs until February 28th so if you live here you should definitely take the time to go check it out; admission is only eleven dollars (cheaper than a movie!) and the exhibit itself is amazing.
I loved this piece; the picture really doesn’t do it justice. It was in a really dim area and all the reflections on the dark plexiglass look strange. It’s a kind of large-scale diorama of a coyote- you can’t see it but at the bottom there are rocks and fake plants and resin poured to look like a little stream.
There are tons of other displays, including the sad old lion from A Night at the Museum, a huge rhinoceros head and an even huger moose, some intensely creepy bears, horrible specimens preserved in jars of alcohol, an entire wall of mounted antlered/horned heads, a passenger pigeon, and a great horned owl with a wonky eye that made him look like my fat cat Claire. Most of the pieces are really old (the earliest is a swan from 1896) and rife with arsenic so you can’t touch them, but there was one mounted deer head that you were allowed to touch and it definitely made me feel very uncomfortable to do so.
I’ll start by saying that originally this blog was going to be called The Starlight Life. Why The Starlight Life? “Life” is obviously because it’s going to be about me and my life, and I got “Starlight” from the name of my business, Starlight Family Childcare.
I chose Starlight for my child care in August of 2006, after months and months of agonizing over the name. I wanted something a little cute, a little whimsical, but I didn’t want to go the Fuzzy Bunny Cuddle Buggy Kozy Kiddie Korral route. At the time I was working at a clothing store with a lovely girl named Amanda, and she suggested I chose a name from something from my own childhood, like a cartoon or a favorite toy. The first thing that sprang into my head was Jem and the Holograms, and Jerrica Benton’s record label (Starlight Music) and foster home for girls (Starlight House). Perfect, I thought, Starlight it is.
Fast forward to November 2009. I was trying to name a blog and having all the same trouble I did back in 2006. I mentioned my “Starlight” idea to my husband and he gave me a horrified look. “Well then, you think of something,” I said.
All his ideas were pretty silly, culminating in his pièce de résistance: “Giraffe Jetpack.” His logic was that he thinks I’m awesome, and he thinks jetpacks are awesome, so therefore jetpacks are representative of me. I’m not sure what the giraffe was about, but my reply to “Giraffe Jetpack” was “Unicorn Parade!” So did I run to the computer and register that name? No, I did not. A few hours later I decided to just go with my original idea of The Starlight Life, but when I tried to register it WordPress told me my email was already in use. That’s odd, I thought, I don’t have a blog yet. I did a password retrieval and when I opened my gmail there it was.
I logged in and looked over the profile information. It was definitely mine, created in February of this year. How mysterious! So why did I create this blog and then immediately forget about it? What was I going to post here? How did I come up with the name and what was the meaning behind it? I had no idea, but I thought it was too serendipitous to just abandon. So there you have it. Unicorn Parade.