October 22, 2013


When I was 9 or 10, my Grandfather (Dido to me) and I used to drive around Welland on Saturday mornings looking for yard sales.  He would smoke a big stogie (Muriel Magnum) while hunched over the wheel of his beater.  My Nana wouldn't let him smoke in the "nice" car and so whenever we drove together it was in a haze of blue smoke.  Dido's eyesight was terrible - he could barely stay on the right side of the road - and we occasionally jumped the curb, but this was living!

Back then, in the late 70's / early 80's, yard sales were a different animal.  First and foremost, we didn't live in a throwaway society like we do today, and so there were a lot less things to buy.  Dido was on the lookout for tools, broken lawn mowers (that he would fix and resell), junky bicycles (that he would fix and resell) and other "manly" things.  I loved riding around with my Grandfather; I loved his crappy car, I loved the smell of his cigar.

More often than not, there was a hand-lettered FOR SALE sign in my grandparents' driveway in front of a line of bicycles, a lawn mower or two and maybe some furniture.  I am not sure that Dido made much money from these sales; I think he did it for fun.  And he would often give the stuff away for nothing.  At his funeral, a sobbing couple showed up, and told us about his generosity, how he had loaned them money interest-free.  This was the kind of man he was.  

My Mom also used to drag me to flea markets and auction sales, often against my will.  She would hold up strange items of unknown provenance and ask: "do you know what this is used for?"  Over time, I became much better at this game and now I do the same thing with my own kids.  I am sure that they despise it as much as I did.  :-)

Here is a picture of one of my own mystery objects, which I have yet to identify.  Purchased at the Goodwill for $3, it begged to come home with me.

I think it's a weight of some sort.  It's solid wood on the bottom and there is a loose iron ring on top.  The ring is attached to the block of wood by a scalloped base:

Anyone have an idea what this is?  I suppose I can use it as a weapon - wallop the kids with it.


The first thing I can remember buying at a junk sale with my own money was a pink rhinestone bracelet for $4.  It looked a bit like this:

The bangle was pretty and delicate -- everything I was not!  I held on to the bracelet for more than twenty years, never wearing it, but occasionally removing it from my jewellery box, putting it on my wrist and admiring my arm.  When I began selling junque on ebay in the late 90's, I decided to sell the bracelet.  It sold for $240.  I was quite pleased with the profit.  The woman who bought it was thrilled:  she had a vast collection of deco bangles.  I could tell you all sorts of stories about the things I've sold on ebay and the $ I've made, but that is not what this blog entry is about.  It's about serendipity!

On the weekend, Gwen and I went to the Goodwill By the Pound store to look for fabric for her Hallowe'en costume (mummy).  The store used to be called Buck a Pound, but inflation has necessitated a name change :-)  I was disgusted by the crowds and the filth and was not in the mood to scrounge.
N.B: If you ever go, wear gloves!

So I walked around observing people, which was entertaining and occasionally revolting.  I found a book for Nath, which he LOVED.  He has devoured the rest of this series:

And then I spied this, in a bin full of junk:

I almost fell over.

We didn't have a lot of records when I was a kid.  Wait, let me rephrase, we did have a lot of records, but we weren't supposed to play them.  This record was my FAVOURITE.  My absolute favourite.  I played it incessantly when I was 6 or 7.  I know the words to every song on the album and their order:  as the Great Pretender wanes, I know that Rock Around the Clock is up next.

There were only 4 additional albums at the buck-a-pound that day and I am kicking myself for not buying the sealed Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass; however, I think that I was meant to find this recording.

The kids and I played the record non-stop, until R screamed: "I can only take so much. TURN IT OFF!" He was actually quite pissed.  We laughed.  I guess he's not a fan of 50's and 60's music.

The kids' favourites are Sugar Shack (just like their Uncle Ian) and Wipeout.  Here's the record and player set up in my living room, K-tel style.  Sorry there are no pictures of G and I doing the twist.

So I guess I should have some sort of point to conclude this entry with.
Thrifting is fun and profitable?
She who digs through trash finds treasure?

How about a quote from Macklemore?

I wear your granddad's clothes,
I look incredible,

I'm in this big ass coat,
From that thrift shop down the road...


Here is some information about the Buck a Pound:  http://info.london.on.ca/details.asp?id=13072

And because I love my tunes, here's a sampling of Sugar Shack by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs (1963):

And my fave, Chantilly Lace by the Big Bopper:

Addendum:  a day after I wrote this entry, I went to the Goodwill and hit the record goldmine!  

  • Beach Boys Endless Summer
  • Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits
  • Fleetwood Mac Rumours
  • Sharon, Lois and Bram One Elephant, Deux Éléphants
  • Chubby Checker Your Twist Party
  • Queen News of the World
And only a buck a pop!

October 18, 2013

The Walking, Talking, Squawking Schoolbus

The cow went up the hill,
The cow went up the hill,
Second verse same as the first,
Never gets better, only gets worse!
The cow went up the hill...

et cetera.  ad nauseam.

This is the ONLY song that the kids would sing this morning, damn them.  They wanted to make me crazy.  Crazier.   I tried ALL of my Christian camp songs on them -

the animals they came, 
they came by twosies, twosies,

the animals they came, 
they came by twosies, twosies
elephants and
kangaroosies, oosies,
children of the lord.

Okay, maybe you can see why they didn't want to sing that one.  
They also sniffed at Titanic (who doesn't love the line - uncles and aunts, little children lost their pants?) and Fish and Chips and Vinegar  (one bottle pop, two bottle pop, three bottle pop, four bottle pop, five bottle pop, six bottle pop, seven seven bottle pop!)

Rotten kids and their rotten songs.

Here we are at 7:20am, looking and feeling sprightly:

Yes, folks the bus was small this morning.  Very small.  Djing-djing the wild poodle kept us hopping though:

in which Djang fancies himself as Elmer Fudd

Django was quite the handful this morning.  He took a giant poo in the bush near this stop:

The kids thought it was hilarious.  Of course they did.  They didn't do the scooping.  Shortly after our first fecal incident, one of the three children declared:

"I have diarrhea, I've gotta go!"

Take a wild guess which one said that.  
You are right.

I said:  "go in the bush".

He said:  "NO!"

I said:  "I'm going to write about it on my blog."


much laughter.

It was my turn to sing again:

Floatin' down the gutter
on a piece of bread and butter,

[splft splft! - you make a loud tooting sound at this point in the song]


splft splft!

Floatin' down the sewer,
Like a piece a horse manure,

splft splft!

The kids seemed to like this song A LOT.

I will not relate the next poo incident as it is disgusting.  :-)  I am funny.

It involved the dog.  Enough said.

Here we are, at the halfway mark, shortly after we were nearly flattened by a rogue cyclist:

Kids are happy here.  They actually like singing and walking.

Cool spraypaint we saw -- BOYS!!!!:

Vanity shot rolling eyes -

looking super hot at 7:50am.  Shrub and Djing-djang look good though.  

We were getting thirsty, some of us were complaining and we came across this in Victoria Park:

Sophie wanted to drink like a dog, so we let her.  This was hilarious!  Sophie's mother, I apologize.  :-)

Afer our drink, we had under ten minutes to go.  The entire walk took us 50 minutes.  It took me 1 hour and 45 mins.


On a somewhat unrelated note, I will leave you with some pictures of the mystery house that I am obsessed with.  This house is at the base of the Wortley Rd hill at Stanley Street and I walked by it on the way home.  It reminds me of a fun house, with its colours; however, it  sort of creeps me out because there are a series of outdoor "paths" and "tunnels" which are covered in barbed wire and metal netting.  I am thinking it has something to do with animal training.  It's very weird.  If anyone knows what the hell is going on behind this fence, I would love to know...  because I am OBSESSED...

imposing fence that runs the length of the property

you can just see the wire at the top

see that fence! what is going on behind it?  sorry I didn't take any pictures of the actual house... it is situated on top of a hill near train tracks.  Next time.


Lastly, here is some information about the walking school bus program from walkingschoolbus.org  I think that it is an AWESOME initiative.

Why develop a walking school bus?

Studies show that fewer children are walking and biking to school, and more children are at risk of becoming overweight. Changing behaviors of children and parents require creative solutions that are safe and fun.
Implementing a walking school bus can be both.

We are going to try to do this once a week!  I loved it.  Happy Trails!

Soundtrack:  The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Wed, Oct 30 - two grandparents, five kids, one dog.  Highlights:  Nathaniel was dragged through Victoria Park on his back when Django bounded after a squirrel.  We laughed our HEADS OFF.  It was like something out of the Little Rascals.

October 13, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Passive Aggressive Style

Ooof!  It's that time of year again.  The time of year where families happily unite over turkey and mash, gravy, cranberries, squash, stuffing, brussel sprouts... or maybe you're having manicotti instead.  Or pizza.  And maybe you're fighting.

Best not to dwell...

I have been invited to two family feasts - one at my Mom's (above for manicotti) and one at my s.i.l.'s (traditional).  I have been asked to bring NOTHING to my mother's except for an empty relish tray (she is going to fill it with--- relish?), and a DESSERT to my sil's.

Like I am going to bring "nothing" to my Mom's!  When I asked her what to bring (on Friday afternoon, she said, well you're leaving it a little late, aren't you?)  That's how I roll, Mom, that's how I roll.

Bring nothing.  gah.  I mean, I am definitely a rudesby, but even I am not that rude.

update - I am writing this one day later.  I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and brought them to my Mom's.   They seemed to be a hit.  They looked gooey and chocolatey and how can you go wrong with that?  I also made the dough in less than 15 minutes and that included jumping into the van and driving down the street to the grocery to pick up the can of pumpkin that I forgot to buy the day before.  Baking time was 10 mins.  EASY!!!!!

So I brought the flowers on the table above and a bunch of cookies.  And my cheerful disposition of course.  And the food and the company were lovely.  Thanks, Nan.


Feast #2 - Last year, I brought a dessert to my m.i.l.'s (pumpkin cheesecake), and due to the abundance of desserts that others brought, I don't think anyone actually ate my dessert.  What was I thinking anyway?  Who wants cheesecake after gorging themselves on turk?

I realize that I have just told a lie, two people took a sliver of the p.c. to be nice.  Thank you, food troopers.  I am going to sound rude here again, but I resent being asked to contribute food that no one actually eats.

Bitchy?  Maybe.

I guess I should just be thankful that anyone invites me to their home for Thanksgiving, especially as I am airing the dirty family laundry on my blog.

Prediction:  next year, I dine alone.

I wanted to bring roasted vegetables with maple ginger dressing to the inlaws, which EVERYONE eats because they are completely delicious but I have been instructed by voicemail not to do this.  I am sorely tempted to bring the veg, but rather than incur the wrath of all, I will bring dessert.

And so I find myself in the position of having to bring a dessert that no one will eat.  I don't like to make dessert.  At this point in my life, I gravitate to the roasted vegetables -- yum -- and tend to skip dessert because I am usually too full of turkey.  I am tempted to bring chocolate chip cookies to the inlaws too because who doesn't like a chocolate chip cookie? but I thought I might get in doo-doo for making something unseasonal.  Truth be told, I would be making them knowing that no one will eat them and then I could take the leftovers home (people tend to decline my leftover desserts), and pop them in the freezer for the kids' lunchboxes.  soundbite: evil laugh -  mwah, ha ha ha hah ahhh...

So I am perplexed.  What shall I make?  You already know that last year's pumpkin cheesecake was a bomb - not da bomb! - and so I am not making that again.  Pumpkin pie?  I make a good pumpkin pie, but it's a lot of work.  And I am not a fan of pumpkin pie.  I have a great recipe for it though.  You make it entirely from scratch, using a pie pumpkin that you may or may not have grown.  rolling eyes.  It all seems very Martha, doesn't it?  Meaning that after you make it, you'll feel compelled to tell everyone that you made the filling from a bona fide pumpkin that you may or may not have picked yourself, and you'll sit back smugly as someone else pulls out a $2.99 Jane Parker pie from the A & P.  Snap!

Still puzzled, I googled "thanksgiving desserts best" (not my best keyword search but it worked) and came up with this, from the Food and Wine website:

Apple Galette
I personally think that the apples look a little too carmelized here burnt here, but that's me.  The recipe is Jacques Pépin's Country Apple Galette.  I am assuming that JP - French chef extraordinaire - knows how to make a kickass galette and so that's what I will attempt.  Right now it's 10am and we have to be at the inlaws for 1pm.  I better get on it.

A galette is actually not difficult.  It looks impressive, but there is little fiddling around with pastry - the messier it looks, the better.

So I pulled out the Braun -- best food processor EVER - and made the crust.  (I actually did this part yesterday and let it chill in the fridge overnight).  The recette calls for 1 stick of butter plus 2 tbsp, but that is just annoying because we don't buy our butter in sticks here in Canada.  So what you'll really need is a 1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp of beurre.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter plus 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Whir together the flour, sugar, salt and butter for about 5 seconds.  Add the ice water and blend until dough is just coming together.  (10 seconds?).  Dump out into bowl and mix it together with your hands, just to get it into a ball.  Wrap it up in some saran wrap and chill for at least an hour.

That's where I'm at.

I am going to the kitchen to roll out my dough and decorate it with apples.


Okay, it's in the oven and I am STOKED.  That dessert was super-easy.  It's only 10:30 right now!  That means that I have a LOT of time to do totally selfish activities like write this blog, knit my sweater and read before we have to go!  yes!!!!!

Let me tell you about the dessert.  I dragged G off the tube (but Mumma, Jessie's on!!) and put her to work.  Here she is, tethered to our island  kiddy table, peeling and coring apples with the best tool ever invented, which I purchased at a yard sale for $3 (they wanted $5, but I am a haggler):

Pampered Chef Apple Peeler and Corer

The tool had never been used; it was still in the box.  

Can I just tell you that this implement is a marvel?  It is so easy to use that even the G can set it up and do it herself and she's only 7!  You crank that handle and the magic happens:

And look at the pretty ribbons of apple peel.  Eat your heart out, Ma Ingalls!
Maybe others are already aware of the peeler and are annoyed by moi, but I am new to it and using it is like watching a baby being born.  Seriously, I am THAT excited.  Look at this bowl full of peeled, cored and sliced apples.  I am tearing up; such beauty.  It took Gwen less than 5 minutes to assemble apples, peel, core and slice them.  Crying here.

Okay, must compose myself.  Moving on...

Next step, roll out dough.  This took less than 5 minutes and it didn't stick to my counter, rolling pin or hands (secret? use lots of flour!).  I folded it in half after rolling and dumped it onto the cookie sheet.  This picture also makes me cry.

I chopped up half of the apples and threw them on the dough, then stacked the rest of the apples in what was supposed to be a pleasing arrangement.  I give myself 5 out of 10 for arranging, but I hate fussing so this is what I ended up with after I dotted said apples with honey, butter and a mixture of cinnamon and sugar:

I am impressed.

It's baking right now, it smells awesome in here, and it has 20 mins to go.  I cannot wait to see the finished product!!!!


Thank you, technology.

Here is the galette, straight from the oven and it looks amazing!  I feel compelled to add two pictures because I am so proud.  

My my my.

I hope it tastes good. What am I talking about? It is going to taste exactly like the BEST GALETTE IN THE WORLD should taste!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am thankful for my family, friends, health and life.


A note on the cookies:  these cookies are not crispy.  The pumpkin makes them soft and slightly cakey. There is no way around this, unfortunately.  Also note that there are no eggs in these cookies.  The pumpkin does the work of the egg.

this recipe is from:  http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/09/04/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Note on the galette:  I used Honeycrisp apples.  I hate Delicious apples.  The honey I used came from Clovermead in Aylmer and you need to use more than a tbsp.  Oh and for my galette, I made more pastry than the recipe called for (about a third more).  I baked the tart for 50 minutes exactly.

from:  http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/country-apple-galette

Addendum:  see if you can spot my galette in this picture:

hmmmmn... where could it be?  There's a big bowl of strawberries, an apple pie, an angel food cake, two pumpkin pies, another apple pie and...  oh yes, my galette.  That's it, on top of the "piano" box, under all the tinfoil and pot lid. mmm... looks so delicious, doesn't it?

In case you doubt my recollection of events, here is another picture in which you can see it peeking out from beneath all the crap piled on top of it.

Soundtrack:  Alanis Morrisette's Thank You

Addendum - that galette was DELICIOUS!  Even Nathanimal, who declares himself a hater of pie, ate three pieces and this morning, he asked me to make another!  Who knew?

October 04, 2013

Yakety Yak is Back!

I have ceased the vow! Some friends dropped by the house last night and I spoke - quietly. I think I sound strange - it's very disquieting.  nyuk, nyuk.

For your viewing pleasure, from Stanford Medicine, here's a picture of what I am hoping to avoid, although it may be too late.

If you would like to read all the posts on this topic, you can click here:

On Vocal Cords and My Vow of Silence - read from the bottom up

What I have learned:

Not Speaking Makes Me Even Bitchier Than I Normally Am

Not Speaking is Liberating

My Children Like Me

A Lot of People Think That I am an Idiot

A Lot of People Think That I am Awesome!

My Throat Feels Less Like Sandpaper and More Like Butta

Some Individuals Enjoyed the Challenge of Trying to "Make" The Silent One Speak

A Lot of What Comes Out of my Mouth is Unnecessary:

Your Vocal Cords Have Feelings Too

Children are Smarter Than You Think

Yelling Gets You Everywhere Nowhere

Thank you to those of you who offered kind words of support and encouragement.


This goes out to my children:  Yakety Yak by the Coasters

October 03, 2013

Silence is Not Golden. Sarcasm Alert.

Thursday, 8:35am

I've had it.  This morning was a schmozzle.  The past couple of mornings have been very trying.  Mornings (getting the kids going) are trying at the best of times, like when I'm speaking, but they are completely frustrating when I am silent.  Just because I am silent doesn't mean that the cogs and gears are not spinning madly:

shit, we only have 5 minutes left to get to the bus stop Nathaniel has nutella all over his face and shirt Gwen hasn't combed her hair or brushed her teeth where are the kids lunches no, Nathaniel I will not take you to buy Pokemon cards after school no we do not have time to watch "What Does the Fox Say" Gwen do not feed the dog your raisin toast

Inhale deeply.  Do other people have mornings like this?  Sometimes I think that there is something wrong in my house.  It doesn't matter what time I roll out of bed.  We suck in the morning.

This is how I feel:

So this morning was hard for me.  You'd think after 970+ days (Nath is in Grade 5) of getting ready to go to school in the morning that Nathaniel MIGHT have an inkling of what is expected of him.  Apparently, he does not.

There was some yelling in the house this morning.  Not naming any names - why don't you just talk?  go to the doctor! that's right, just keep not talking!!!!  

Silence is not golden here in the Willage.



Today was a full day of public interactions, mainly with clerks in stores.  I bought Gwen and Nathaniel some new clothing (why won't they stop growing?) and the clerk asked me if I wanted a bag.  Come on!  Of course I want an effing bag; I am buying 15 items of clothing, plus accessories!

See that? So proud.  I censored myself.  What I really wanted to write was "fucking", but I am trying to get a handle on the pot mouth.  See "recent slip ups" below.  

Actually, what I really wanted to say to the clerk, who didn't even make eye contact with me when she asked me whether I wanted a bag, was "Oh. No bag needed.  I am completely comfortable carrying 15 items of clothing, one pair of shoes, one headband and two pairs of tights in my arms as I exit the store".  

I nodded my head instead.  The clerk didn't see that, because she wasn't making eye contact, and asked me again, a little more pointedly, whether I wanted a bag.  This time she looked at me and she may have seen me roll my eyes as I nodded.  She asked me some additional questions, which meant that I had to dig in my bag for my "voice" and scratch out some nonsense for her.  Bloody hell.

Next stop - bank.  Two youngish men were hanging out at the PC pavilion and as I approached, one of them said:  "nice earrings. they go with your outfit really well".  I smiled.  I was wearing my big, pink, style council orbs which many of you have probably seen me wearing before, as they are almost always attached to my ears.  I am not sure that the bankdude actually cared for my earrings at all, he probably just wanted to make a sale.  I asked him, via pen and papier, whether I could have a new Mastercard.  I have worn mine out.  The paypass no longer works and it is too hard for me to enter my card into the machine and knock out my pin.  :-)  

I was impressed with the bankdude - he could read my messy writing upside down and he did it quickly!  He looked at me like I was a little crazy and said "do you speak normally?" By this, I think he meant:  [when you are not taking a vow of silence or refusing to utter words] do you actually speak?  I laughed and said yes.  He said when I resumed talking that I would have to call "in" to request a new card.  
Oh, yes.  That makes perfect sense.  As opposed to speaking in person to YOU, the bank representative.  Call and speak to a faceless stranger who probably lives in India, to get a new card, instead of to an actual person in actual time in actual living colour.  


Recent slip ups.

"Does this look okay on me?"  
I wanted something new to wear to my Grandma's memorial because my Grandma liked clothing and I wanted to honour her by looking good.  Not sure how wearing new clothing honours my dead Grandma, but I'm going for it anyway.  So I spoke aloud to a strange woman in a coral dress and my voice sounded completely foreign to me.  It was like someone else - not me - was speaking.  I had tears in my eyes at the time too, probably because I was overwrought about the upcoming memorial and my inconvenient and annoying voice problem.  I think the woman in the coral dress may have thought I was neurotic, so I am not sure that I got an honest answer from her.  She told me that the dress brought out the colour in my eyes and that I was thin and could wear anything and so I bought it.  Because I am vain and because I know that all of you are dying to see me in my dress, I am posting a picture of myself in said dress. If you think it looks bad, I don't want to hear about it.  

I also said fuck and Jesus under my breath and Nathaniel heard me.  I really have a potty mouth.  It is SO BAD.  I am going to work on that.  I kind of like swearing though, so it might be hard for me.  Like it would be really hard for someone to give up smoking, or drinking wine, or masturbating.  Not that I do any of those things.

This morning I talked to Gwen and Nathaniel on the way to the bus stop.  I whispered, but I spoke and they were overjoyed.  They have a cross country meet today and I wished them well and told them that I would be there to "not cheer" them on.  I also spoke to the mother of the little girl that I look after.  I needed to make sure that it was okay that I brought her to the meet with me.  I also spoke briefly to another friend who wanted to know whether her shirt looked stained and if she should change. I told her she looked awesome, because she did.  I can't wait for my vow to be over.  I am sick of it.  Today and half of tomorrow and it's over.

On a happier note, if you haven't seen the Fox video yet, you should watch it, because it's kooky and funny - both of which appeal to me. It's at the bottom of the page.  My kids are obsessed with this. 

I am not posting a song about silence today, but I will also post an additional video below by the band Talk, Talk because I love them: It's My Life.  This is a GREAT SONG.  

Okay, I have to do some "real" writing now.  


October 02, 2013

The Double Clap, the Whack and the Finger Snap

Tuesday, 8:09am, Day 4

For those of you who are familiar with (and mourning the end of) Breaking Bad, let me give you a little thrill via the pictures below.  Yes, it's Tio - what a badass!

 from: images4.wikia.nocookie.net

For those of you who do not watch this series, let me explain.  Tuco, a meth-addicted drug dealer, has an Uncle, Tio, who is confined to a wheelchair.  Tio can't speak (stroke?) and he uses a brass bell to communicate:  one ring for yes, silence for no.  This method seems to work for Tio, as his condition permits him to respond to closed-ended questions only.  Because I am asked a lot of open-ended questions, this method does not work for me.  While the dingling of a pretty bell appeals to moi, I realized its limitations right away.  I am not going to cart a brass bell around - it's a bit awkward.  I thought about using a handbell, but we don't have one.  I also briefly considered a whistle, but that would be jarring for all involved.

Oh-oh, look out, I'm about to wax nostalgic. I am thinking of my awesome Acme Thunderer that has gone awol.  I loved that whistle!  It produced the most piercing shrill!  May you rest in peace, little whistle.

Enter the handclap.

The Double Clap, the Finger Snap, the Whack

I would like to introduce you to the double clap.  There is also a triple and a quadruple, but I reserve those for desperate times.   I use the handclap for two things:  1) to get the family's attention and 2) to indicate assent.   

Richard and the children frequently yell at me from another room in the house and let me tell you, there is something liberating about ignoring them.  Did I just say that?  Lately, R has been yelling:  "one clap for yes!"  And so I do it.  Seems to work.  It definitely makes things easier for the quiet Christine.  And easier is breezier.  

You're probably wondering how I get my family's attention.  I have several ways, some of which are much more polite and effective than others.

1)  Clapping repeatedly and sometimes hysterically.  Seems to work well, although people can get annoyed.

2)  Snapping my fingers.  It's a bit rude, but it works.  Kids respond well to this.

3)  Using whatever I am holding in my hand (book, wooden spoon hi Mom, utensil) to whack the nearest surface (counter, table, floor et cetera).  Produces a loud sound - rapidly garners attention from family.  Again, not the most polite move, but useful in a pinch.

4)  Approaching family quietly and touching them to make point.  Polite, calm, respectful.  I wish that I could tell you that I use this method all the time, but alas I do not.  I am trying to do this though.  It gets me the best response.  There is something to be said for using kindness, even when one is at the end of one's rope.

My family seems to be getting used to Silent Mumma.  Gwen and Nathaniel will tell anyone who will listen to them about my silent state.  They seem to like to explain it to others.  It's very endearing.

My wonderful neighbours across the street gave us this card (and four giant lollipops; kids were ecstatic!) yesterday:

How sweet is that?

Last night, Nathaniel climbed into my lap and snuggled up to me and whispered:  "Mumma, please speak".  How could I refuse my darling boy?  I whispered "hi" into his ear.  He was overjoyed:  "Mum spoke!"  Then he said, "speak again!"  I did not.  He was disappointed, but he got over it quickly enough.

My experiment is almost over.  I have extended it until Friday, but then I need to start speaking quietly and selectively again.  Gwen's birthday party is Friday evening and I have my Grandmother's memorial service to attend on Saturday morning.  Chat city this weekend.

But for now, I will soldier silently on.  Have any of my gentle readers ever taken a vow of silence?  I would love to hear about it.

Soundtrack:  Our Lips are Sealed by the Go-Go's.  

Have you any idea how much I wanted to be in this band?  Too bad I can't sing!