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October 31, 2003

Very Scary

I really hate Halloween. I hate dressing up. I hate the idea of plying children with candy (think about the sugar and all of those nasty transfatty acids), and I hate the idea of using this "holiday" as an excuse for Hollywood studios to relentlessly promote their wares--The Cat and the Hat included!

Of course, I say all of this after eating a Crispy Crunch bar, a bag of Glossette peanuts, and box of Smarties, all taken from Ella's stash that she acquired while trick-or-treating through Yaletown with the kids. This is the third year that the Roundhouse Community Centre has organized a trick-or-treat route through Yaletown. The kids went to the stores of participating merchants and collected candy, as well as other treats such as a comic book and a toothbrush.

And yes, I dressed up, which makes this the second time this week that I've worn a costume. Sheer madness!

If you have pics from tonight or the weekend that you'd like me to post in the VERY SCARY photo album, make sure that you send them to me.

Posted by tomi at 10:42 PM in Rants, Rants, Rants | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 30, 2003

Hook, Line & Sinker

Have you ever really sat down and watched a Martha Stewart Living episode? She's so cocky that she often tries to get one step ahead of the segment guest and speaks in error...making herself look like an idiot. It's obvious that she doesn't come up with this stuff herself. I hope her staff are paid well!

Now, I personally realize that her staff are likely the driving force behind the television show, the magazines, the on-line stores, the retail store collections etc. rather than Martha herself. And, although I do get suckered in to watching the show (often), when the web-site went up years ago, I cancelled my subscription to the magazine...since they duplicate the magazine on the internet, why pay for what you can get for free?! And honestly, who has the time, the space, the patience (when you have kids) or the money to do some of the extravagant "crafts" the come up with?

But what about the poor souls with baskets full of Martha Stewart Everyday products at Sears...her stuff ain't cheap! Really, it's not that different from anything that you could find at IKEA or now, even at Superstore.

I suppose it's all the same anyway...the big guys always hooking the little fish.

Posted by penny at 09:21 PM in Rants, Rants, Rants | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 29, 2003

Fear Itself (Part II)

So it's been exactly two months since I wrote an entry (titled "Fear Itself") about how fearless my daughter Ella appeared to be. I seemed to be the one gripped by early parenthood paranoia and panic, while she seemed unfazed by the many new experiences and people she encountered each day.

Sixty days have brought quite a few changes. Solid foods. Standing against furniture. Seven or eight teeth. One of the biggest changes I've noticed, though, is there are some new found cracks in Ella's previously impervious fear armor. She's still okay with spiders (more so than her mum), and she really loves dogs (she didn't even flinch when swarmed by seven very friendly, very affectionate dogs this past weekend on Saltspring Island). She's even dealing better with loud, abrupt noises.

There is, however, one animal that apparently strikes fear into the heart of my little girl. The other night when we brought the cat into the living room to meet Ella, her reaction was one of sheer terror. I had never seen her face contort in such a horrified way. Her eyes widened, she began to shake, and she let out a high-pitched wail that was as close to a scream as she has ever gotten. She then cried inconsolably in her mother's arms for several minutes. Even after I took the cat out of the room and returned, she was still very upset with her daddy-O. She looked hurt. And it almost looked like she didn't trust me anymore. I never want to see that look in her eyes again. Ever.

Admittedly, I've never been much of a cat person myself. I'm certainly not anti-cat; I think I'm just indifferent to them because they are indifferent to everyone else. I just hope my own prejudices aren't rubbing off on Ella. And as for the feline in question who terrifed my little girl..........I actually thought it was pretty cuddly.

In any event, Ella's response was certainly NOT one of indifference. The high-pitched octaves her screams hit were testament to that. You'd have thought it was a baby-eating jungle cat. Granted, the cat in question HAS been known to get into trouble on occasion, but all he really wants to do is play with the kids. When I think about their first meeting, I can sort of understand why such a small baby might have been afraid. Ella's message is clear: keep that particular cat out of my house!

You be the judge.

scarydad

Posted by go-Daddy-O at 09:57 PM in Reflections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 28, 2003

Baby On Board

Since go-Daddy-O's back has reached its limit at the ripe old age of 35, and I have a bad knee, our friend Kevin (a.k.a. Beav) agreed to be our personal sherpa/baby carrier on the weekend. Here he is carrying Ella up Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island.

mount_maxwell

Posted by tomi at 11:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 27, 2003

Fall = Big Fun

I love the Fall, with its crisp air and colourful foliage. I went to Saltspring Island this weekend to sing backup (for one song) with Beaver Be Dammed at a fetish party (appropriately, we sang at a historic venue called Beaver Point Hall). To get to the hall, we had to drive to another part of the island, so I got a chance to view the scenery. The autumn leaves looked absolutely spectacular!

Unfortunately, I caught a cold and lost my voice, so I had to fake my way through our number. Go-Daddy-O pulled a muscle in his back trying to get Ella's change pad out of the luggage, so he was in pretty bad shape himself--although I think that his mood improved as soon as the other Sisters of the Holy Beaver came to our hotel room to shower and change into naughty schoolgirl outfits.

The time change meant that I had an extra hour to stay out (while go-Daddy-O "babysat"). Some highlights of the party:
-Beaver Be Dammed band members dressed only in beaver pelts
-Beaver sisters cage-dancing
-family and friends of Beaver Be Dammed, many of whom showed their support by cross-dressing or squeezing into their nicest BDSM outfits

Yes, big fun was had by all. More details from go-Daddy-O will follow. Stay tuned.

Posted by tomi at 10:53 PM in The Sound of Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 26, 2003

Fall Back, Spring Ahead

Is anyone else LOVING the Fall time change?! Even Oliver got tricked into sleeping an extra hour this morning! AND he's already in bed...now if only my darling husband would get home from work so we could have dinner together!

Posted by penny at 08:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 25, 2003

1...2...3!

I took Oliver swimming tonight for the first time in a long time. He got very excited once we got down to the pool, that is...until we got IN the pool. Brrrrrrr! It was chilly!

Since Oliver has past the 6 month mark, he is now allowed to get his ears wet without worrying much about infection etc. Although there have been a few face plants in the tub, I found it more than a little daunting in the big pool. Relying heavily on the ol' 1...2...3 method, under he went! Sputter, sputter, blink, blink!

We had lots of fun but he mostly enjoyed sitting on the poolside and leaping into my arms - he'd even close his eyes in anticipation...too cute!

Posted by penny at 09:32 PM in Reflections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 24, 2003

Baby Einsteins or RESPs?

Yesterday night, go-Daddy-O shook some Tomitinis (a variant of the popular crantini) and served them up to the Milk Factory gang during an RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) presentation by a USC representative. The week before, a consultant for CST came over. Both consutants emphasized the projected future costs of education. It is estimated that in 18 years, the cost of going to university for 4 years is about $120,000 (including residence). Interestingly, both consultants claim that they offer the best education savings plans for Canadian families. Hmmmm.

Overview:
Both USC and CST are non-profit organizations that promote access to higher education, and both appear to be excellent choices if you want to enroll in an RESP (their plans appear to be better than other types of RESPs offered by banks or other financial institutions). Both have solicited millions of dollars in donations, and in turn they have paid out millions of dollars to contributors. And both offer secure investment plans that have had a history of high rates of return--on average, approximately 10% over the last 15 years.

Comparison:
USC claims to have the best customer service; CST argues that their plans are the most flexible. As far as I can tell, one of the main differences is the model of payment that they use. In the first year of post-secondary education, USC pays out the principal to the parents, allowing you to either give that money to your child, or go for a really nice vacation in the Bahamas. Then the student, assuming that he or she passes first year, receives "scholarships" for the next three years of schooling. This sounds good to me. Make the students work hard for the money!

On the other hand, in the first year, CST pays the student the principal, the first scholarship, 1/4 CESG (government grant), 1/4 CESG interest, and 1/4 of the enrolment fee. I'm assuming that since the student receives all of the payments, the principal is included in the student's income for tax purposes. Suddenly, this model sounds even better. Who needs to pay more taxes?!

Conclusion:
As one of the Dads puts it, before deciding on a plan, we're going to have to take a long, hard look at both companies' prospectuses. Or is it prospecti? I don't seem to know anything anymore, least of all, which plan to choose.

What I do know is this:
-RESPs are a great tax shelter that has a high rate of return.
-The federal goverment kicks in 20% of whatever you contribute, up to $400 per year. You can max out this grant by contributing $2000 a year (per child).
-A four-year university program is no longer a criteria for eligibility. Your child can enroll in a minimum three-month post-secondary education program and still get all of the benefits, including the federal grant and the interest earned.
-If your child does not use the RESP, up to $50,000 may be transferred to your RRSP.
-I'll definitely need a few more rose-coloured glasses of premium vodka before committing thousands of dollars towards my daughter's future education!

Posted by tomi at 11:54 PM in Parenting Tips | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 23, 2003

Library Book Sale

Grace, Thea and I made our way to the Vancouver Public Library Central branch today, babes in tow. On today's calendar was the fall book sale.

Donations are made throughout the year but largely around the time of the semi-annual sales. The selection was wide, many of the tables were crowded and some of the line-ups were long. If you have the patience (and are without a stroller), I suspect you may do very well. Thea and Grace came away with a few good finds for very few bucks - I had a little trouble focusing and cattle-herded the strollers to the side where I repeatedly replaced Samuel's sock and shoe!

The sale is on until the 26th...book prices range from 25 cents to $2.00...new selections everyday and throughout the day.

Posted by penny at 11:34 PM in Parenting Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 22, 2003

Take a deep breath...

...now let it go.

One thing that going to pilates did was clear my sinuses. I was completely congested yesterday, and then after doing some breathwork--breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth--all of the sudden my air passages opened up. My head feels so much better. My back still needs some major work though.

Here's some more free advertising for Evangeline:
She teaches at the Kitsilano Community Centre, the Coal Harbour Community Centre, and the West Van Community Centre, as well as the Roundhouse.

For more information, contact her at momandbabypilates@shaw.ca or 604-899-6255.

Posted by tomi at 11:55 PM in Parenting Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack