Thursday, 28 March 2013

When a treat is not a treat anymore

Today was Sashimi's piano lesson day.  I dropped iBean off at my parents' place, Keesadilla wanted to tag along, and off we went.  On the way, the usual question was asked: Mommy, can we get a treat after? To which I replied my usual: If you're good, maybe.
Emphasis on the MAYBE.
Well, the kids were alright during the piano lesson.  Sashimi was great, Keesadilla was good, too. But on the way out the door, I asked Sashimi to hold his piano book-bag.  He adamantly refused: No! You do it!
I sternly repeated: Please hold your bag.
Again, he retorted: NO! YOU DO IT!
I put the bag in his hand, and forced him to carry it.  He took it, quite begrudgingly. Then he muttered something else about how he has to do EVERYTHING and I was being rude to make HIM carry his OWN BAG.
True story.
So when he got into the car, he said: where are we going for our treat?
I bluntly stated: You are not getting a treat.
Instant dismay and rude utterances: You can't do that! That's not FAIR! You promised and now you're breaking your promise! You said if we were good, and I was good at my whole lesson! You're rude and disrespectful! You are the worst mommy ever!
I glared into the rear-view mirror. Keesadilla cried quietly to himself, because he had been good. He was deserving of a treat. If I so decided to get one. But the other spawn was definitely not.
And then, before I even knew it, I spat out: Well, if you are going to continue to talk to me like that, I may just take back all the easter chocolates you would have gotten, too.
Repeat mad outbursts, also adding: You CAN'T do that! It's Easter!
As if the fact that Jesus rose from the dead means that kids can fly into total anarchy and commit the deadly sin of gluttony over mini eggs and 10 lb chocolate bunnies. Cuz THAT's what Easter is about...sugar highs and chocolate bunnies.
Then, because I have no filter, I said: When I was a kid, we didn't even have all the Easter treats that you get!
Which is a total buttload of crap.  I think I had a 1 lb solid milk chocolate Mickey Mouse at my first Easter.  When I was one month old. But my brain shot it out anyway.  And then my mouth allowed it to be vocalized. 
And then, more crap:
When I was a kid, we didn't GET treats! We never asked for treats and when we got them, we were grateful and it was special so it was actually a TREAT!
And the crap kept coming:
Because we were not SPOILED like you kids are! You get treats all the time! At school, there is always chocolate and candy on any type of special day. Everytime we go to the store, you ask for a treat. And you usually get one! If we go to run errands, gas up the car, wash the car, you want a treat.  It's not a TREAT if you get it all the time.
So I am putting my foot down. Treats are going to be TREATS. When I choose. No more.

The boys stared at me.  I could tell that they were not sure if I was serious, or if I had shot out an entire marins of bullshit.  Or fish-shit, if we're talking marinas.  Maybe lobster.  Do they shit? Anyway, I now have to follow through with all this.  And remember that back in my day, we had no treats, Easter was only about Jesus and chocolate was barely invented, and that we were true god-fearing, parent-fearing kids.
That never got treats.
Or spoiled.

I was not habitually spoiled, but there were times when we were. We did get treats. Regularly. Most often on piano lesson days...oh the irony...I know...Although I was also used to my dad pulling into a gas station, buying himself a coke and beef jerky, and nothing for the rest of us.
And I used to think: Woe is me! I'm just a poor kid who doesn't get any beef jerky!
Now I think: My dad was right! I worked hard all day and all I want is my OWN beef jerky that does not have to be cut into FIVE pieces! And caffeine will turn the kids into monsters! No coke for them! Or sugar! SLOBBERYMANGYMESSYSCHLARB!

Ugh.  Not an especially poignant mothering story.  But I am sure that I am not the only one who has embellished how poor their upbringing was to make their kids feel bad/grateful.
In fact, I remember hearing about how in my mom's day, they only got an orange for Christmas. 
Now I am rethinking that.  Was it really only an orange? Or was it an orange the way I never got treats? Or was never spoiled? A little embellishment to make us kids feel grateful and sorry for our parents at the same time...cuz that's totally what I just did, and it came out so naturally, it makes me question all of the stories my elders told me when I was young.
Uphill both ways?
Walking five miles to school in wool socks and rubber covers when it was minus 40?
The STRAP?? With a whacking stick?

Monday, 18 March 2013

Name my new baby - err - espresso machine!

My new baby arrived today.  It's a Bezzera Unica espresso machine. When our Saeco Odea Giro died on Christmas Day (what a terrible shame - the one day when the kids wake up extra especially early, and the poor thing passed on in its sleep), we knew that we wanted to upgrade.  My idea of upgrade was to get the cadillac of espresso machines - The Spaziale Vivaldi II. But at a cool $2500 (give or take) plus the cost of a quality grinder, my husband just wasn't biting.  "Why would you ever need to dispense hot water, steam milk and brew espresso at the same time?" To which I replied: "Why WOULDN'T I?"
So we compromised.  I decided that I wanted something with an E61 brewgroup, then I looked into a few different Bezzeras before finally deciding on the Unica. It is not a dual boiler, and requires some work when switching between steaming and extracting functions, but I think that once I do it for a week or so, I should have that technical part down.  Plus, I plan on making a fancy flow-chart to paste on the inside of my cupboard door so I can refer to it for all the little nuances: when to do a cooling flush, what order to push buttons, how many espressos I've already consumed in a day, etc.
The baby arrived at 3:00 pm, so I really did not want to consume an espresso at that time. Well, I did.  But I still had to unpack the grinder (his name is Rocky) and smell the fantastic beans that I got as a free "thanks for spending so much money" gift. But I did turn the espresso machine on, primed it, and steamed myself some milk to make a chai latté.  And it was fabulous.

But something this wonderful in my life needs a name.  So here is the contest. Leave me some name ideas.  I'll read them all and choose my favourite.  Whoever happens to be the mastermind behind the coolest name will receive a prize - based on where you live in proximity to my awesomeness, you will either get a mailable prize or a hand-deliverable prize, like, say, maybe, some ridiculously fabulous cupcakes made by yours truly:

 And no, I will not FedEx cupcakes to you.  But I will accept your cupcakes on your behalf.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Always eat your scallops

There are few foods that I do not like.  I like ethnic foods, I like spice, I love curry, I love things cooked in bacon fat. But no matter how much bacon fat and spice, there is one kind of food I just can't seem to like: seafood.
My earliest memory of eating a water creature was a fish that my uncle had caught, which was then cooked in foil with onions and butter and served with lemon.  And I remember the taste of the onions and picking out every teeny stupid fish bone. And the nose hairs recoil just thinking about it.  It was not a pleasant memory.  I think the sharks on Finding Nemo had it right: Fish are friends, NOT FOOD.
I pretty much avoided all creatures that breathed in water from that point on.  Except Captain Highliner Fish Sticks.  Because let's be honest, people.  That is not fish.  The batter to fish ratio is so high, I don't even know if it should be categorized as a protein or a carbohydrate.
The rest of my family loves seafood.  There was always a shrimp ring at special occasions, and my Baba's surprise spread, with little bits of shrimp cut up and hidden, as if I WOULDN'T KNOW.  Ack. Gross.  Bottom feeders.  Crunchy-yet-gelatinous bottom feeders.
Then I met my husband.  He loves fish.  He loves seafood.  He would eat it everyday if he could.  Which, as it turns out, is not a good idea, as our six-day holidays the maritimes proved that eating lobster three times a day WILL pack on the pounds: eight of them.
I never buy seafood.  I rarely buy fish.  I do most of the cooking, and what the heck is the point of cooking a meal that I will not enjoy? Not even enough to sample while cooking? I have forced myself to like some whitefish, and my kids particularly love my ginger-glazed mahi mahi, although at this point, I am not sure whether they like the fish as fish, or whether it's just a vessel to bring sauce to their mouths.  That's pretty much what it is for me, I'm not gonna lie.  It helps that mahi mahi is a very firm fish with very little fishy taste. Fishy taste = bad.
Then, because I dislike seafood, I don't cook it.  But then that means that my kids are not exposed to it. And although I think eating weird alien water creatures is revolting, many people are into that, and I want my kids to have a fair crack at being revolting, too. So I made a decision.  I would, on occasion, start cooking seafood. Tonight was my first experience.  With scallops.  I had a recipe for scallop and garlic linguine.  I had tasted a scallop before (in whiskey butter at a steakhouse) and figured it would be an ok place to start.
When I took the scallops out of the vacuum-sealed bag, holy did my stomach turn.  The smell was awful.  Like fish.  Realy FISHY fish.  I drained the excess fluid, then dried them on paper towel like the recipe said, then seasoned them with salt, pepper and paprika. The smell was gone by then.  Thank goodness.  I cooked them up, followed the recipe, made the dish, had a bite.  It was...ok.  Fishy.  Oy. I did NOT want the kids to see my reaction, so I served us all the same thing: scallop and garlic linguine, with broccoli on the side (which we all love). To my surprise, Sashimi loved the linguine. He did not actually eat a scallop, but the noodles themselves had a seafood taste, and he ate two helpings.  Keesadilla said "That looks like something I would not eat," so he ate his broccoli. iBean pointed to it, said "chicken!" and popped it in her mouth, upon which she promptly spit it right out and ate her broccoli, too. I slowly made my way through my plate. I took lots of sips of water.  I chewed and chewed, put my fork down between bites. Keesadilla noticed something was up: "Mommy, why you keep picking up your food on your fork, then putting it back down?"
Dang, he was onto me. But being the evil mastermind that I am, I just said: "I'm trying to twirl it onto my fork, but it's not working right.  There! Now it worked."
And I put it into my mouth.  Chew. Chew. Don't gag.  It's good.  Chew. Chew.  DON'T GAG. Swallow.
Only a dozen more forkfuls to go.  Oh.  How. Wonderful. For. Me.
Tony came home from work and loved it. LOVED. Thank goodness for that, because there are leftovers.
And Sashimi, being the mini scientist, said: "I think on Blue Planet it (a scallop) looked like a brown marshmallow."
Hmm.  I actually don't know what a scallop looks like.
Maybe I should google it.
Search query: what the hell is a scallop?

I just ate one of these? No, MANY of these.  Wait.  I think I ate their babies because they were little!  And they have EYES!!!!!
Stop staring at me with those menacing eyes! Menace somewhere else! OH THE MENACE!!

Then, I watched a video:

OH MY GOSH.  Those are little things that swim like castannettes in The Little Mermaid!

Sebastien calls them clams knowing how to jam, but I think we all know what they are now.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The last time I was flirted with...

Last night, Tony was in an amourous mood.  Not much different from any other night (or any other man, I think) but I was still dealing with the monthly lady issue, so it was an access denied situation.
Then he told that he ran into a woman who was flirty with him.  I rolled my eyes.  Wait, no I didn't.  Apparently I fluttered my eyelids.  I used to roll my eyes, but to be honest, I was getting serious headaches from my eyes staring at my brain all day, so I subconsciously developed an eyelid flutter.  Well, twitch.  I'm twitchy. It's probably one of those ticks that comes from being married to a man whose main mission is to tease me and purposely annoy me on a regular basis.  Ten years and I've got a twitch.  What will twenty years bring? A shoulder tick? Incontinence? I'm on the edge of my seat with anticipation.

Tony seems to think that he doesn't get flirted with very often, but I call bullshit.  Now I know my husband is good looking, and he dresses nicely for work and is very helpful, but why all the flirty-business? I have complete faith in his monogamy skills, so I don't really have a problem with flirting, per se.  Here's my beef: where's MY FLIRTING??

The last time I was flirted with was...poo on toast, I can't remember.  Maybe when a teenager tried to pick me up while trick or treating at my house? I was 24.  Then again, his friends may have put him up to it, or he was drunk (he was like 8 feet tall and significantly off balance).  Other than that, men just don't flirt with me. Although in that case, it was a teenager, so I guess my original statement holds.  Sarah = no flirt zone. And, to keep it brief, here is a list of reasons why I think that is:
  • I had three babies.  Pushed them out of my vagina.  EWW! STRETCHY! SLIMY! EWW! PUT IT AWAY!!
  • I puked all over the nurses, myself, my IV stand and the walls while pushing out baby number one. Anyone in the room would be revolted by me for all time.
  • Although I cannot prove it, I am pretty sure I pooped on the delivery table. Doesn't everyone?
  • When I was little, I used to pick my nose and eat it.  That is a permanent scar on your flirtability record.
  • My boobs have gone all the way from an A cup to G cup and back to a C.  You know what that means? Think saggy baggy elephant.
  • I knit.  Old people knit.  Therefore I must be old. You don't flirt with an old person.  You help them cross the street.
  • I have a pill calendar.  Also old. Help me carry my groceries, please.
  • I work out and am in great shape.  But I think that may work against me because people live in fear of my raw power. I could kick most people's butts. Or at least kick their butts in a burpee show-down.  
  • While out in public, I always have at least one kid with me.  Who is probably fighting or whining or trying to steal Skittles from Walmart.
  • Tony had kids by having sex with me, then finger twisting his awesome mustache while handing out quality Cuban cigars in the delivery room as everyone congratulated him on producing male offspring who will one day inherit the kingdom.
  • He has  kids. Men who are involved dads are sexy.  FACT. 
  • His nametag and credentials are embroidered on his work attire.  Unlike my "Hello! My name is_____________".
  • He is on a bunch of committees and organizations that make him well known and seem powerful.  Chances are, he doesn't fart at any of these meetings. Lucky them.
  • He is hands down the best baker in town.  I don't even have to meet other hobby bakers.  Tony's bread is so good that a friend of ours plowed our driveway in exchange for bread. 
Now, I am not asking for flirting or for a pick me up.  I'm just saying. Actually, I'm not sure what I'm saying. Maybe add distractbility to that list...ooh...look, a cute video of a puppy...