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Showing posts from 2011

Three Little Coffee Charms Sitting in a Row

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater This Christmas, I created some coffee charms for a good friend of mine. He is a potter and so I used images of his work as the inspiration for three tiny coffee & ink paintings. I slipped two of them into fridge magnet frames and made the other one into a key-chain. He was pleased - especially when he recognized the work as his own. Thought I would share them with you... Happy Holidays. No, really.

There's a search engine developer in my bedroom

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater Geoff and I were watching Two and a Half Men on the laptop the other night. Well, we were planning to watch it but it was a rerun - which was incredibly disappointing, even though we're not completely sure we even like watching someone as pretty as Ashton Kutcher for more than 5 minutes at a time. But that's not the point. The reality was that Geoff and I were in bed with a laptop and no plan, so we did what any other happily married couple with a 3 year old fast asleep in another room would do in this situation. We decided to Google ourselves. Literally. This isn't some sort of code for something else. Really. It isn't. Google Chrome is the default browser on Geoff's laptop and on that particular evening, a tiny little microphone appeared on the right hand side of the search bar. Of course we clicked on it and when we did, we were presented with an invitation to speak. Voice search. How cool is that? I went first and spat out

For the love of God, don't mess with the Particle

by Andrea Mulder-Slater I woke up to see Geoff staring at me. He asked me what time it was. I contemplated poking his eyes out but instead got up to go the bathroom, glancing at the clock radio as I walked by. Four twenty four. Geoff : That’s it? It’s so bright out.  He was right. Our bedroom was filled with light. I pushed the blinds away and peered through the glass. It was like daylight out there. Me : Maybe it's a full moon?  I headed to the bathroom (where I didn’t slam the door [ see Montana Moose story ]). I looked out the  windows.  Same view as from the bedroom – bright as hell. Much brighter than a full moon night. I started to feel anxious. I wandered into the living room and looked out front. It looked like the sun was trying to come out - at four thirty in the morning?  What was going on? I went back in the bedroom to re-check the clock. Four thirty six. Me (becoming frantic): This is so weird. It is so freaking bright out.

Some dolls look better in the snow

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater I was wandering through a big box store, when something caught my eye in the toy department. I didn’t take the time to investigate but when I got home, I did a quick search using the two words that had registered in my brain. “Wipey Dipey.” When I was a kid, dolls were fairly simple. Several of them had eyes that opened and closed. Others writhed around when a string was pulled, and some had hair that “grew” when you yanked at it. Nowadays, dolls have become much more complicated.  Case in point… the Little Mommy Wipey Dipey doll. This is a toy created for ages 3 and up and just writing about it is yucking me out a little. From what I can tell, you give the doll a bottle and wait. But here’s the thing. The bottle has no actual liquid inside, and what comes out the other end is an electronic illusion. Depending on the output, yellow or brown light shoots out from the doll’s crotch – the reflection of which can be seen in the di

Slam that door again and the antlers are coming for you

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater I need to murder my husband.  I do. It's getting out of control, and by "it" I mean his nighttime bathroom door slamming habit. It's the little things. He's always been a door slammer. I knew it when I married him but I suppose, like most idealistic wives, I ignored the problem and hoped that it would just go away. It didn't. During the day, I really couldn't care less if a door is slammed. So long as no fingers, heads or other body parts are in involved. But at night - at night - silence is sacred and anyone who does anything to disturb it, is on my list . Me (Cautiously, to my partner as he heads for the bathroom at 2am): Hun? Please don't slam the door. Husband : I DON'T SLAM THE DOOR! Me : Um, yes you do. And it wakes everyone up. So, please? Husband : HUFMDSHSFDFUFDSH Step, step, step... SLAM ! I'm not sure what it is exactly that makes him think he needs to slam and lock the bathroom door

The Christmas freeze and dash

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  by Andrea Mulder-Slater When my daughter was barely a year old, we zipped her into a cozy festive sleeper and hauled her to the local drug store/candy store (yeah, I get the irony) where Santa makes a yearly pre-Christmas appearance. I’m not proud of getting sucked into the holiday frenzy. I blame flashy Christmas lights. I think they hypnotize me.  This - and the fact that I don't want my kiddo to grow up and find herself searching for non-existent photos of "fun" family traditions - motivated me to stand in a line up, surrounded by farting children, greeting cards, Jelly Bellies and Tylenol PM. The crowd consisted of several parent/grandparent types with all manner of little ones. Some were on year 3 or 4 of the Santa experience and as such, knew what to expect. Others, like our girl had no clue what they were in for. She watched in fascination (fear) as one baby, toddler and preschooler after another sat on the lap of a local marine biologist/bag

I've got household bugs, filthy teeth and a flying insect issue

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater I tend to rant on about a variety of topics. I'm not sure at this point how many of you care but according to my reader stats, I am big in Mexico... and Latvia. OlĂ©! I'd include an appropriate Latvian phrase here but the only one I know is suudu ruukis which, I've come to learn, means "poo dwarf" when translated, and that's just not relevant at all. Never mind.  The important thing is that to help fuel my ranting habit, I have some Google ads on my blog in the hopes that I will one day build up enough spare change to be able to buy myself a cup of coffee - maybe even a latte. But, here's the thing. Google is smart and their ads are clever too -- which is why words like this appear next to my posts.  This makes me laugh but also feel a little bit squirmy. It's like high school all over again, "Hi, my name is Andrea, nice to meet you. I've got household bugs, filthy teeth and a flying insect issue. Wann

Novocaine - fun. Metal probes - not fun.

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater My dentist looks like a big screen film star. His teeth make a "ting" sound and light shoots out of his mouth when he smiles - just like in the movies. Okay, maybe I just imagined that last part. Either way, I prefer to see as little of my mouth doc as possible, after having fallen for the " Really, the Novocaine needle will hurt more than the procedure, so let's just skip it, shall we? " trick more than once. Yet, every six months I dutifully make the trek to his office and willingly subject myself to the torture of a teeth cleaning. It's a ritual my husband thinks is borderline masochistic and completely avoidable. He's convinced the dentist tried to kill him once (or twice). His solution? Just don't go. No, not my mouth - but you get the idea... Me : Today is teeth cleaning day. Geoff : That's nice. Me : Don't you feel sorry for me? Geoff : I have to lift and nail 4000 sheets of plywood onto the r

Bugs in your bedroom... like 9th grade math class, only worse.

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater I am in the middle of doing battle with a flying insect. I don't know what it is, but I'm fairly certain an earwig had sex with a flying ant. I was just about to crawl into bed when I saw it, sitting nonchalantly on my bedside table - eying my pillow. Normally I would ask Geoff to deal with such things but the poor dear has been burning the candle at both ends with this whole house-building project. At this moment he is fast asleep, clutching a toy dinosaur placed carefully in his grasp by our daughter. Nothing says "Do Not Disturb"  quite like a toy dinosaur in the fist. So, I took matters into my own hands. I grabbed a magazine and with it, inadvertently removed one of the creature's legs. I say inadvertently because really, I was trying to murder the thing - not torture it. I have a conscience. So then it went all vigilante on me and hurled itself into my head. I turned the light on in the hopes that the brightness wou

2, 4, 6, 8 - How do you procrastinate?

By Andrea Mulder-Slater My mom offered to take the girl to the aquarium today. A welcome gesture considering... I have an online quiz to take before Monday, two assignments due next Wednesday and a blog entry about needles (syringes - don't ask) that should have been posted days ago. Meanwhile, because I have delusions of grandeur, I am applying for a freelance job - the rather unusual application of which needs to be submitted by month's end. Oh yeah, then there's KinderArt.com. I was all set to get to work and say goodbye to the girls when... it happened. "Are you coming too mommy?" I wanted to say no. I wanted to explain to my daughter that I was just too busy to accompany her and her nana to what she believes to be the coolest place on earth. "I can pick up a starfish and give it to you moooooommmmmy."  By this point I'm fairly certain that my 3 year old is psychic. Certainly, she knows how to manipulate me. Life is short - I thou

Clogs float, don't they?

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater As kids, my cousin Glenna and I had a knack for getting into trouble. We often spent summers together and though while apart, we were both fairly levelheaded people; together we magically morphed into a couple of numb-skulls. Case in point… the clog incident. We had a certain amount of freedom at Glenna’s house. We could walk to the corner store, to friend’s houses and to the Wendys restaurant. All were within minutes of home. But, we were forbidden to go near any of the nearby waterways and we were never, ever permitted to wander close any bridges. We were no more than 10 years old when we set out on our adventure. It was a spur of the moment scheme that was unquestionably ill planned. We had no money, no snacks and I was wearing slip-on-clogs… Abba (yes, that Abba) clogs. It was the early 80s. Cool looked different back then. blog.urbanoutfitters.com There was a footbridge that Glenna knew about. It wasn’t big, but the drop

Yeah, that's a puzzler all right

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater My daughter is an inquisitive child.  From the time she was born, her hands were moving – grabbing hold of anything and everything within her reach. When she learned how to walk, baby proofing became a full time job. At times, our dog's life depended on how diligent we were. (I still remember seeing her chubby hands clutching mounds of  Bodie hair). We recently stayed in a holiday rental home in Florida where the owners had provided guests with oodles of books, board games and puzzles to help pass the time on rainy days.  My then 2-year-old was busy playing in the living room with her toys while we were in the nearby kitchen unpacking a load of groceries. The milk wasn’t yet in the fridge when it occurred to me that the girl  was being awfully quiet.  With good reason... Within a matter of minutes, she had attacked nearly all of the puzzles and games and mixed the pieces up sufficiently enough that there was no hope of

A cluster of flies on a sunny afternoon

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater We've had many nightly rituals at our house. In recent years, they have included everything from baths, books and nursing to snacks, pjs and dance-a-thons (don't judge). Lately though, with all this warm fall weather, our evening ceremonies have expanded to include hunting. Some folks around here hunt deer - others fire off at ducks. We prefer prey of a smaller sort. And within our walls, we don't use guns - we use bug whackers (and vacuum cleaners). Things will become perfectly clear once you read below...  ---------- Houseflies have become a hot topic of conversation at our house lately. It all began a number of days ago when, after spending the morning away, we arrived home to find a sold out housefly convention taking place in our living room. The place we are living (a rental while we build new) is a recently constructed log home with large south facing glass. It is here where the flies congregate. I’m not certain but

Ticky Tacky

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater When I was a little girl, my parents used to sing a song which has forever stayed in my brain. Little Boxes , written by Melvina Reynolds in 1962 (and later made popular by Pete Seeger), is an anti-conformist ditty which makes reference to suburban housing as little boxes made out of "ticky tacky" all looking just the same. I can trace my desire to "go against the flow" directly back to the lyrics. Geoff has been singing this tune to our girl from the time she was born and now that she's nearly three years old, she is regularly reciting the words. It's not uncommon to walk around the corner to hear her singing, "There's a green one and a pink one, and a blue one and a yellow one..." My dad would be so proud. The other day, the kiddo spotted a colorful card in a British craft magazine. "Can we make that mommy?" she asked. "Of course," I answered. We cut, we glued, we colored and when we

Never bite a skunk's trunk

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater When I was a kid, it was not uncommon to see wildlife wandering around the country roads. When this happened, we just turned around and walked away slowly, giving the animal a chance to find its way back into the woods. But on one particular morning, my friends and I were mesmerized while - when waiting for the bus - a skunk appeared, with an empty soup can stuck on his head. Someones parents called "animal control" and within minutes people came out to "help" the skunk as us kids watched the action, now from the safety of the school bus. " It was just a tranquilizer gun ," said our parents. And we believed them, until we became older and wiser, at which time we mused... why didn't they wait until the damn bus pulled away?! This potentially scarring childhood memory (we were in kindergarten - what were the adults thinking?), along with a recent roadkill sighting and the strong smell of Tim Horton's

Don't stick that junk in your mouth...

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater As a youngster, nothing was more exciting than watching Harry the hardware store man divvy up flat headed nails. Moving with the grace of a newborn calf and the speed of an earthworm, Harry, who was approximately 125 years old, would spend his days counting, sorting and color coding his nails. " Yeah it's a good day, no rain coming soon. " he would say whenever anyone entered his happy hardware emporium. Of course, he also said that when someone asked him where to find the sand paper. Harry was a smart man, known to all the neighborhood children as, "that crazy guy who cleans his glasses with paint thinner". Harry was our hero, mostly because he was the only grown-up we knew who enjoyed Silly Putty as much as we did. Hanging on a peg, between the electrical plates and the washers, were always three packages of the wonder goo. It didn't matter what day you went into the hardware store or how many times you bough