What have I been doing in this month? I've been living my friends. Living and summer-ing like there are only 73 days of summer vacation (and there are - I just counted) speaking of which, are you familiar with the show Phinneas and Ferb? Kids were super into it around 3-5 years ago. The theme song starts with the line, "There's a 104 days of summer vacation, and school comes along just to end it," which has always been a source of friction for the Dotytron. Seriously 'Murica, if your kids get 3 months off from school, maybe you should be taking a look at that in terms of your knowledge and innovation gap? Just a thought. Expert policy analysis, $0.05. I just looked for the cents key on the keyboard and then Googled "where did the cents key go" and then found out that it hasn't existed since the typewriter. Whoops. Just an indication of where my head is at.
I went back to work after 10 days off and my mind is mush. I came back to a stern sign on the women's bathroom stall doors interiors admonishing people to "show consideration" and flush twice (if you have to - gross) and just Googled "Is Dave Grohl a bad person" - LOL!
So yeah, I've been off gallivanting. I have TWO YEARS' worth of book reviews to get to and I'm committed to a new, regular blogging schedule. Chinotto Is My Nemesis will never be left by the wayside! Especially now when I've clearly missed the monetizing blogs boat, why would I abandon this ship? This month has been BUS-AY and because I'm a slave to chronology, we're documenting it systematically.
My weekend of pretending I was a 20-something raver again went off well and more than repaid the air-traffic controller-like investment in logistics that had to occur to make sure we could go. E slept over on Friday night and we had our caregiver come in on Saturday morning to manage things so that in theory, we could sleep in. We didn't even stay out that late - we were home by 2:30am? But it felt like we were gone for DAYS. The party was amazing - it was the first time Syrous had thrown an event in over a decade. People brought air horns and went out and purposefully bought lighters. Total throwback:
We got to hang out with Bwong again and I got maybe 4 hours of sleep but it was so worth it. Then we got back at 'er the next day at Skrillex's Full Flex Express stop at Echo beach, which I booked early in the summer for a few reasons: 1) I was desperate to go dancing and didn't think there'd be anything else on the horizon (I didn't know there'd be a bomb old skool jungle rave revival happening the night before), and 2) my youngest bro has gotten into EDM in the last few years and I wanted the opportunity to party it up with him. So we got my mom to come and watch the three kids and we got our butts down to a 19+ show filled with next gen candy ravers, who are much more stylized and less goony than the ravers I remember from my heyday. It looked like a Coachella/Free People/trap explosion but CHova was in fine form and I got to hang with him and Aunt Viv and dance and the Dotytron got wasted on $20 rum'n'cokes and the whole thing wrapped up at 11:30 we were home and in bed at midnight so it was totally respectable. Do Skrillex and Diplo "dj" in any sense of the word? No. But is it bass-heavy disposable dance music with a giant crowd that brought two generations of siblings together? Yes, and for that, I was grateful.
The Dotytron was grateful for being the "oldest person I've carded all night" (he got captured in security's trawl when the guard saw CHova pass him a drink), but was considerably less grateful for being a giant, hungover, overtired, husk of a man the next day. Me? I was okay, but I party sober, which is something the Dotytron actually faults me for, the day after, when he's the living, breathing embodiment of Voldemort's shattered soul baby on the platform of King's Cross station.
As a consequence of being Voldermort-ed, the Dotytron declared that Sunday that he’d had enough partying for the next little while, thankyouverymuch. I could go for some more, but I’ll take what I got. After dancing all night two nights in a row, I think I added years to my life, truly. It reconnected me to a part of myself that has been missing for a long time, an essential element that makes up the lil’ dynamo of yore, 20-odd pounds ago when I used to dub myself “120 lbs of hype” (let’s pour some on the ground for when I was anywhere near to being 120 pounds and could get away with wearing glorified hankies as tops). It’s important to do the things that will make you feel human again, even though the Dotytron and I are like, the poster children for doing things that make us feel like us (often at the expense of our parenting). The Roomie was marvelling over how full our lives are recently, but I honestly think that carving out the time to do our thing and not subsuming ourselves to our children is the only way we could do it. Anything else would be a fast-track, do-not-pass-Go ticket to resentment city.
The following week we embarked on a week at the cottage with BFF-fambam, Dr. Rei, Hanbo, and baby Zoon. The cottage was only okay (but it did have a sauna!), the weather wasn’t fully cooperating, but it was worth it for the opportunity to be in nature with my favorite people. Cottages are really just grown-up sleepovers, and you know how much I love me a friend sleepover. Once all the kids were down in bed, we could sit by the fire and talk and eat s’mores or play games and watch movies when we were forced by a mosquito intifada to take refuge inside. So many endlessly funny things happened at the cottage:
- Dr. Rei’s version of the Golden Girls theme, which involves trying to force, “You would see, the biggest goddamn gift would be from goddamn me,” into the metre of the song
- talk of gay imams and whether gay imams should be forced to perform straight weddings (in case it’s not glaringly obvious, this was a particularly laboured thought experiment on my part to try to suss out why bakers have to be forced to bake gay cakes for gay weddings)
- the lead singer from Yaz (?) allegedly being a “Liverpool transvestite”
- the Dotytron’s British accent being employed during some Big Yam ice cream truck LARPing, when the Dotytron took on the persona of a British busker, “see the problem is, mate, I only have 20 pence”
- Dr. Rei’s impression of the one black kid in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban who says, “It’s like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands”
- This butt carefully lifting up a $20 bowl of pine nuts, displaying them to me so I could get the picture, and then methodically dumping the entire bowl on the floor:
- Watching the movie Singles (which is terrible) and getting so mad about how terrible it is. Quincess waking up and being inconsolable about 1/3 of the way through the movie, coming out and joining us and being completely enthralled and ultimately, the only one paying attention. The next day, I angrily was talking about how bulls**t that movie is (Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, and Alice In Chains cameos notwithstanding), and I said something like, “Gah! That movie was so stupid! Did that stupid couple even end up together?!??? Quincess – [calling to him across the room] – did that couple even end up together?” He didn’t pause a beat, looked at me, and said in his sweet, Placido Domingo little lisping toddler voice, “yesth.” LOL! He was legit the only one paying attention.
- Our soundtrack to the entire week was basically the twins’ saying, “more cereal, more cereal, more cereal” – I don’t think anyone has ever heard the words “more cereal” more in one day (we went through two boxes of Cheerios and one box of Shreddies).
- Lindsay copying Hanbo and biting blueberries in half to give to Baby Zoony.
- The twins saying “Baby Zoony”
Lindsay is so sweet and cute sometimes I can't get mad at him even though he's also a giant, entitled, bossy butt
Look a this gorgeous family. They look like they could be in St. Tropez
THIS. G-D. FACE.
I love this picture. Dr. Rei and I, unpacking the universe
...a surprise early birthday present - a pegboard kitted out for all my crafting supplies and a completely cleaned and operational office/shared space for me and the Dotytron. The little printed picture above the pegboard is a copy of a cover of a Robert Munsch book called We Share Everything and is the Dotytron's very sweet way of telling me he had heard my constant carping (there was really no way he could miss it) that the office downstairs was going to be a shared space and that I was sick and tired of hearing him lay claim to it and annex parts of it without giving me my due.
I mean, really. C'mon. What a turkey. He also orchestrated this greeting when I came down the stairs where the kids came out in sequence with potted plants that were individually labelled with the words: "Happy Birthday Mama" while he played the Bangles' Eternal Flame. At least, that was the idea, but I was home a little later and he had to turn on a movie and so by the time I came home, wolfed an ice cream sandwich, snapped at him, "WHAT. I HAVEN'T EATEN ANYTHING ALL DAY" when he tried to gently hustle me down the stairs, the only person who was committed to the performance was the Big Yam. But you get the picture. He and the Big Yam had been going on all these secret missions all week to get me quilting supplies and goodies from the Workroom - a new retractable measuring tape, beautiful variegated thread, new sewing needles. It was all too much and required so much secrecy and coodination and cahoot-ing with my resident sewing guru, E.
It was such a thoughtful, sweet, well-planned birthday present tailor-made for me, and all I can say is: HOLY MOTHER OF EFF AM I F**KED - I won't be able to top that when the next Dotytron significant gift-giving occasion happens. He just can’t handle his life. He’s an old, grey mare that ain’t what she used to be.
Then we had a few days at home that were filled with even more visits and hangs and then our Cleveland fam came and stayed with us over the August long weekend. We hung in playgrounds and parks and took them to Sprouts and on my birthday, lined up babysitting so we could go axe throwing (I won!) and eat dinner at La Carnita East.
My sis’ kids were in town so on Monday, my mum took the Big Yam for a sleepover with his cousins and we only had two kids and it was SO. EASY. It felt like we could do anything! We felt so free! We took them to the Leslie Spit on an epic bike ride and then we were extra brave and took them for a dinner at Ceili Cottage which went better than I ever could have hoped.
After experiencing the ecstasy that was one less kid sleeping at the house, we took in all three of my sister’s kids two days. Yes, that’s right. Six kids, two adults, in one tiny Toronto semi. It went better than I expected. We hooked up with Ehmdo and took the kids to Centre Island and Centreville where we somehow spent $200 and had nothing to show for it. When my bio-dad used to pull out the cooler at Canada’s Wonderland I used to vow as a child that I would NEVER be one of those parents that packs a lunch at a theme park. OH HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN. I packed lunches and STILL spent $200. Ferry rides, parking, ride tickets MY GOD, THE RIDE TICKETS, and snacks all added up to more than the cost of my birthday dinner at La Carnita East.
But just check out all the fun stuff we did:
The Big Yam was VERY concerned about being able to drive properly - he and Quincess took this very seriously.
This guy's "stubborn" face when you tell him he can't do something
Last weekend we hung with my family and discovered that the twins are terrified of cooked lobsters. When they brought them to our table, Lindsay started wailing and then Quincess took up the cry. His little heart was racing and he was so sad/scared. When toddlers get scared it’s so tragic but also so funny that you (if you are me, and in this case, you are) almost want to expose them to the stuff that’s scaring them because their reaction is so poignant. Genuinely being so scared of lobsters, or birthday cake candles (which is a new thing) or fire (which happened at the cottage and is what then leap-frogged to the birthday cake candles fear) makes you feel so sad for their little pea-brain butts. Especially since Quincess, when he refers to himself, likes to press his hand to his chest, so if you ask him if he wants to go to the fire, he’ll say “no” press his hand to his chest “scared.”
Here’s some video of that:
I apologize for the ghetto video quality and my annoying voice. I WILL NOT apologize for wearing my "cat person" one-size-fits-most Micelli Monday uniform
We went to a birthday party for our friend’s kid and they did a go-around introduction where you were supposed to say your name and your favorite animal. Quincess *hand to chest* “Dee-dee” [Quincy]. Favorite animal? “Um…cat.” He’s been prefacing sentences with “um” and it makes me die inside Every. Single. Time.
For the first time in his entire life the Big Yam wanted to get face-painting done and he was so clear on his vision (vampire) that I didn’t have the heart to say no (I almost always say no because mess and because line). I had kind of talked him out of it and then the woman doing the face painting came around and asked if anyone else wanted their face painted and his little hand shot up so fast – I couldn’t say no. And then he got the jankiest vampire face-painting done but he was so in love with it that it was one of those parenting moments where your heart just breaks for that weird little person you’ve brought into your life who just wants to pretend to be a vampire soooo bad and then will lose his everlovin’ mind when he wakes up from a post-birthday party exhausted nap and realizes that some of his janky vampire face paint rubbed off. KIDS ARE SO TRAGIC HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO LIVE WITH BEARING WITNESS TO IT?!?
We want to enroll Lindsay in a judo class or something because he’s always trying to grapple Quincess and wrestle him to the ground and he’s always tussling with a pillow or something and making weird karate grunts and sound effects. He walks and runs belly-out and he’s such a Rodney Dangerfield like buffoon, you can’t help but love him. Even when he does the infuriating thing where you catch him doing something wrong (taking the vinegar spray off the table and spraying the wall with it, for example) and he sees that you’ve caught him and will start frantically doing the wrong thing EVEN HARDER AND FASTER just to get a few more jollies in before you take the “fun” away.
This FINALLY brings me mostly up to date. We had a Micelli Monday: field trip edition hang on Monday – went to this restaurant Tandoori Flame which is allegedly “the largest indian restaurant in North America” which was a bald-faced lie, but obviously Tamil Tiger Big Yam loved it. When he got his first plate of food, he turned and asked us, “Is this a buffet?” *pause* “I LOVE it!” LOL!
I’ve made some good dinners lately:
Back from the cottage kalbi ribs and bi bim bap rice with a fried egg. I made my own kalbi marinade and added pureed pineapple. So good.
When Cleveland was in town we smoked ribs, made that buffalo fried chicken cobb salad, and a delicious, classic mac salad
Coconut cream pie (one of four pies I made that weekend, the others being: coffee toffee ice cream pie, chocolate pudding pie, and a lemon chiffon pie)
Post-swimming spaghetti and meatballs always hits the spot. I made this dinner and put on dry undies after yet another afternoon at the pool and it was one of the best moments of my life
This dinner was based off a Smitten Kitchen idea for elevating a tomato sandwich. Two words: FRIED. PROVOLONE. Yup. You heard that right. I panfried 1/4" thick slices of provolone and put that on top of miche bread, lightly toasted, spread with a tablespoon of roasted garlic mayonnaise. Then I topped that with sliced heirlooms, crunchy salt, some basil and oregano, and some bacon.