Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I have TV again!

In case anyone is wondering if it is possible to live without TV, the answer is yes indeed, but you will need to substitute with other addictions, like the internet, or reading, or knitting.  In my case, I gave up TV out of necessity when I started going through my very expensive second university degree.  I had no money left for anything after paying for the beans and dry bread for dinner.  (Partially kidding about the bread, it was not dry, in fact I used to make it myself from scratch because it was cheaper than buying it.  That's the stage in my life in which I learned how to make most things from scratch, in order to save money.  Some habits die hard, and I still make my own bread and yogourt).  Six years later I graduated from the program, and started making money.  I decided that TV is a normal part of every household, hence I subscribed to Shaw cable and was paying 120 dollars a month for TV plus high speed internet.

I still didn't turn on the TV, despite the fact that eventually (after I paid my educational debt) I bought a flat screen TV on which I watched DVD movies on Saturday nights with MrH.  At one point, I remember having decided that I must make myself turn the damn thing on, just to get my money's worth out of the cable price.  After trying hard to have patience for TV but not succeeding (in addition, my couches in the living room are leather, hard and cold, not comfy for TV watching I'm afraid), I called Shaw and asked them to please remove the TV portion of the package and just leave the internet.  I was paying 60 dollars a month for that, and had freed up sixty bucks to spend on skin care and make up.

This week however, I got a call from Shaw that offered a special promotion:  39 $ a month for both internet and TV for one year.  So, they would give me a higher speed internet at a lower price if I agreed to have TV installed.  I told them that I don't watch TV and that at the end of the year I would ask them to remove it again.  I told them that I am fairly certain that the TV part is not necessary, but they insisted that the package is, um, a package, and therefore I am getting the TV like it or not if I want the faster, cheaper internet.

So I have TV!  In a surge of excitement, I turned it on and watched a show called What not to wear while exercising on the elliptical trainer.  Then I remembered why I never watched TV when I did have it:  every 5 minutes you have to suffer through interminable commercials.  I will try to record some shows so that I can fast forward through the commercial breaks, but I have no idea what is good, if you guys like something on TV, make some suggestions!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

blissfully happy

OK, so don't make dulce de leche if you are trying to lose weight.  It should be pretty obvious to anybody, but in my excitement to perfect the recipe, I made TWO batches, the first one was overcooked (but still good, just very gelatinous), the second one was almost perfect, I am quite certain that a third batch would be impossibly good, but fortunately I ran out of milk, and it is snowing outside so I am not going to buy any right now.  I have decided instead to read about the Maillard reaction (the reaction that causes the milk to caramelize and become so delicious).  Because I am that busy.

Emma has her three month appointment today.  She is actually 3.5 months old, but I could not get in sooner.  Her GP (my GP) was worried about her growth initially so he insisted that he must see her in between the 2 and the 4 month appointment as well.  She has probably jumped from 50th to 90th percentile in weight, and she must be at least 75th percentile in height and head circumference.  This is just from my estimations, but we'll see how accurate I am today.  Too lazy to do proper measurements at home.

I have lost one follower on the blog, and I am actually becoming aware just how boring my life/blog has become.  I am one of those blissfully happy people who worry about getting dulce de leche right, instead of whether I have enough money for yet one more IVF, or whether I will ever have a baby, or yet deeper  existential questions about the meaning of an infertile woman's life.  Etc.  No doubt all of those questions have made me grow, and made me a much more interesting person, but I love being blissfully senselessly happy and droning on through diaper changes, drool and spit up, and daily walks with a gurgling smiling Emma in my arms.

Addendum:  Emma is 90th percentile in length, and 75th in weight and head circumference.  She will probably be tall like me and MrH.  I was happy to hear that, although as MrH pointed out correctly, taller girls have a harder time finding a mate.  Yes, I agree, but we can reach the top shelf by ourselves, and gracefully carry 20 lb extra, and when we do find a mate, he is usually tall and well built.

Addendum no 2:  I weigh 173 lb.  Not much progress, must step on the accelerator and lose some more. I can almost fit into all of my clothes, I can zip them up but not breathe, which is a bit of a problem, so probably another five to ten pounds later I will be able to wear them AND breathe.  Bonus!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I am in love with this kitchen gadget called the thermomix.  It is made in Germany I think, and the idea is that it's a mixer/blender/food processor that also heats up the bowl in which it is blending, hence it can also cook things.  The moment I heard about it I felt a huge gap in my kitchen arsenal, and hence went to work to hunt one.  First I contacted thermomix Canada, who informed me that it would cost me 1600 dollars or so to get the new model.  There is an older model, made up to 2004, and I tracked one down on Ebay for 500 $.  The problem was that it was from France, and hence the voltage was different (220V) and the plug as well, so MrH had to spend the weekend rewiring and such (adventures involving the crawl space of the house always impress a lady) and now I have a working Thermomix.  I am in love with this machine.  I have had it for less than one day and I have already made:  split pea and deer soup (deer meat was the only thing I had left in my freezer), custard cream (delicious), chocolate from scratch (with cacao butter and cocoa nibs), almond and rice milk, and now I am making dulce de leche.  Yum.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I finally got the pictures from my pregnancy and 1 week after delivery with Emma.  I would like to enlarge one of them, if you guys can make a suggestion as to which one (Emma's I mean, not mine).

funeral home

Winter is really here to stay.  It is below -20C (-4F) all the time now.  Yesterday it was -23C and I took Emma out for a little walk in the baby Bjorn.  I wore two coats, one that has a double head opening for baby carriers (it is called a baby papoose, if anybody wants one in large I will be selling mine very soon for half price, since I bought it too small and when Emma grows a bit I will need the xl size).  On top I wore a fur coat that is as old as myself, it used to belong to my mom when she was young.  We looked like two eskimos.  Whether she enjoyed it, I cannot tell, because she was very quiet the whole time (probably instinctively knowing that if she opened her mouth, her saliva would freeze, haha).  Later on last night my mom called wanting to make sure that I am not crazy enough to take my baby outside in this temperature (she saw the temperature on TV).  I said of course not, absolutely not (insert devious smile).  This is the first year that mom actually cares about what temperatures I live in.  So far she could not care less, even if I told her on the phone - she would not register the reality - but now that it comes to Emma, it is suddenly important.  Well, if mom had listened in the previous four years that I have been here, she would know that to avoid -20C is to stay indoors all winter, and that cannot be healthy either.  A child needs to get outside daily I think.  She needs to see the sky and breathe some fresh (frozen) air.  And she needs to adapt to the surroundings.  I have adapted better and better with each passing year, to the point that now, all I wear when shovelling snow is my yoga pants, a T-shirt (sleeveless) and a light down jacket.  Plus hat and mittens, those are mandatory.  Especially the mittens, always thick, or else my fingers could easily get frostbitten.

This is the second winter since I lost Adrian, and every time I walk or drive past the funeral home where we cremated him, (which is really all the time since the home is right next to my house), I remember that morning in January when his body evaporated into the sky.  I was also walking past the funeral home then, knowing that he would be cremated that morning, and I saw the smoke and vapour go up into the blue, clear sky, and felt a lot of longing but also a lot of peace, knowing that he was with God and with me, surrounding me at the same time.  I miss Adrian just as much, but I don't feel the emptiness anymore.  I wonder if he would also be as soft as Emma, if he would also lay his head on my shoulder and collapse into my neck, if his baby chub would be as delicious to kiss as Emma's...and I miss him every time, but Emma fills me up with so much love and is such a pleasure to be with, that I am profoundly happy and fulfilled.  It is not the absence of longing for Adrian, it is the happiness of being with Emma that makes my life so much better.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The baptism went very well, although I think that being surrounded by so many people in my immediate family (plus the godparents, and a whole lot of friends) has been very exciting and stimulating for Emma and she has a hard time falling asleep at night now.  She is very talkative, and has great control over her hands, which reside deep in her mouth most of the time.

The moment that we arrived back home from Vancouver, winter came.  First thing off the plane, Emma decided that -20C is too cold (that is -4F) and she started crying.  She has continued to cry every time she sticks her little nose outside, even if she is warmly dressed and in a bunting bag.  This morning we woke up to at least one foot of snow on our deck and a completely snowed in driveway.  MrH walked to work, I tried to shovel with Emma in the baby Bjorn, which soon proved not to be her favourite activity, so I stopped the madness and waited until it was nap time to shovel.  I shovelled for two hours straight.  Once I was done, I realized that despite the fact that I had a clear driveway, I still could not get the car out because the garage door was not working and got stuck in a closed position.  (Among other things, because it was cold while I was shovelling and I had to have the patio door a little open to hear the baby monitor, the ice that formed made it impossible to close the door back.  I had to use a knife as icepick to chip away at the ice on the door frame.)  Anyway, deciding that winter is not going to keep us indoors, and really wanting some milk for my tea, I put Emma to sleep in the bunting bag, and covered the stroller with a transparent plastic cover for the wind, and off we went to the store to buy milk.  HUH.  The driveway was not shovelled-nor was the neighbouring driveways-nor was the street-nor was the store's parking lot, so I was pulling the stroller through deep snow deposits for half the time, and pushing it for dear life the other half.  She didn't even wake up until we got home, and she was warm the whole time (I checked her hands and head and they were warm, plus she lets me know if she is not warm by screaming her head off).  All in all, I have used up more than 1000 calories today just for daily activities, and that was without even trying.  (I got the milk by the way).

Ugh.  I wish we had enough money for a snowblower.  I don't want to do this again anytime soon.  I am sore all over, my back hurts, and Emma is bright awake and won't let me sleep, despite the fact that it is well past midnight.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chanel lipstick disappointment

I bought a Chanel lipstick at The Bay (a large department store in Vancouver), one of the Rouge Allure collection.  The lipstick goes in and out with a spring loaded mechanism, and something happened to the spring near the beginning of my usage of this very expensive lipstick, because it no longer pops out.  Hence it is unusable.

Today, celebrating my newfound freedom (I bought a second hand stroller and car seat-both Graco...but I finally have mobility and a sleeping infant transitioning flawlessly from the car ride to the shopping trip), I went to The Bay to show them.  They asked for a receipt, which of course I do not have, since no person in their right mind keeps lipstick receipts.  Even the store does not keep a record, why should I.  I was told that they cannot help me.  I asked for a Chanel customer service number, they don't have one.  I asked for a manager, and was told that he is in a meeting.  I was asked to wait.  I asked for how long.  They said they had no idea.  I gave them my cell number to be called when the manager is out, and never got called.  It is now the end of the day, and I have two words of advice:  do NOT buy the Chanel Allure lipstick with the spring laded mechanism, and definitely don't expect any customer service from The Bay.

Other than this bit of frustration, life is great with a stroller.  Emma thinks so too.  She grabbed my hand with both her hands today while I was feeding her, and my heart melted.  Ooooohhhh.  It was worth it :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

on vacation

I am on vacation in Vancouver, and have not had a chance to post since my hands are forever busy with holding Emma.  At home, I have all sorts of devices to entertain her, including the absolutely necessary device for regular blogging:  a baby hammock.  I put her in the hammock, and move it up and down with my left leg, while balancing the laptop on my right leg.  This allows me to blog and work on my left hip flexors at the same time.  (I tried to change legs, but I can't balance properly the other way around).  Here, at my parents' place, I don't have a single place to put her down safely, so I have improvised one out of a plastic bathtub with blankets on the bottom, and now we also rented a car seat that I can rock her in - Graco again :(  but at least this one has a button to fasten the straps.  Next time I am bringing my own stroller and car seat, I realize that I might be charged an arm and a leg to bring them, but I need them for my freedom of my hair...making coffee...eating with two hands.

Emma is an absolute pleasure though, she has good control over her hands, which she puts in her mouth at every given moment, not realizing that if you shove them in too deeply they make you gag.  She still hits me and herself once in a while with her flailing hands when she is too excited, but this does not happen as often as before.  Her hands are warm, and she hugs with them nowadays, which is the best feeling in the world!  Her diaper rash is gone, and I have found a good diaper cream that is ok to use with cloth diapers (when using cloth diapers, they recommend that no zinc oxide be used since it creates a waterproof barrier on the cloth, defeating the purpose of the diaper).  She has clear skin and bright eyes, and generally is a beautiful, happy little girl.  And she talks up a storm.  I have figured out the meaning of "nga" which is "food", and "na"  which is "I told you so".

As for myself, I am also doing well.  I had a couple of fights with my grandmother when I first got here (my grandma is staying with my mom until the end of November, visiting from Romania).  Grandma has fixed ideas about what is food and what is not food.  Apparently, my breakfast consisting of cooked rye kernels or steel cut oats, banana and walnuts, or my lunch made up of almond milk+banana+protein powder+spinach+berries smoothie do not constitute food, and I will become anemic, or die, plus I don't need to lose weight, why am I losing so much weight, women are more beautiful fat, etc, etc...  I have endured this for two days, gently telling her that people eat differently, and that I am still very far away from fitting into my normal clothes, but she got more and more vocal, and even mean, telling me that that's why I am not making milk for Emma, as in I am irresponsible towards my daughter.  In the end I snapped at her and told her that I am eating whatever I want, she can eat whatever she wants, and that if I hear one more word about my food I am leaving back to my house.  That shut her up and life is good.

I have lost two more pounds since I am here.  I don't know how much I actually weigh, since mom has two scales, one shows 180 lb, the other one 170 lb.  The one at my house is right in the middle, at 175 lb, or it was before I left.  I guess scales really differ a lot.  As long as I am not gaining, that is all that matters.  I was very worried about being out of my own element and not in control of what is on the table, but I told my mom before I left home that I am only coming under two conditions: one, that no pizza be made in the house while I am there, since I cannot help myself it it smells so good in the whole house.  Two, that my grandmother leave me alone (because I knew that her favourite obsession is with what I eat).  I solved that problem myself.  In fact, this morning my grandma had the same breakfast as me, at her request:  rye kernels with milk and banana.  I guess the curiosity killed the cat.

Our priest came to the house to read a prayer for Emma and myself, so that I can enter the church at the time of the baptism.  I did not know that I was impure and unclean after giving birth, especially since I have showered daily since, but hey, if that is the tradition, that is the tradition.  Orthodox religion is very old fashioned, and tradition is deeply rooted in the ceremonial parts, so if you want the sandwich you have to like the bread as well.  The good part is that he left us with some holy water that I can use to wash her face with in the morning, and also to drink for myself, and I like to believe that it will increase my milk supply.  I do believe in holy water since I was three, and that is not about to change anytime soon.

Yesterday I went to Lululemon (my latest obsession) and got my pants hemmed (I buy online, extra long, and hem them myself until I can get to the actual store and get them professionally hemmed).  I left Emma with MrH at the bookstore, and had half an hour of freedom.  I bought two pairs of tight pants (the kind that are tight all the way to the bottom of the leg, hence you must be skinny to wear them, which I am not but I will be) and a pair of shorts.  I must have tried on everything in the store, because one of the shop attendants looked at me and said "you're still here? you have a problem...". I thought, yeah, my problem is that I live so far away from any real shops and I can only buy stuff online, hence when I get to a place where I can touch the stuff and feel it, it is like I am living in a three dimensional world again (instead of my usual two-dimensional one).

Well, Emma is awake from her nap, so I got to go.  I promise to blog daily for the rest of the week, in order to atone for my absence.