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Showing posts from 2012

The most read posts of 2012 and a Christmas present from me to you

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater Christmas is just a few days away and, well here's the thing. I didn't get you a gift. I started to do some baking but after making several batches of cookies for my neighbors, I ran out of cinnamon and honestly, going to the supermarket to buy more is just hard. Here for you instead is a list of my most read posts from 2012. By most read, I mean that they were viewed by more people than you might find in a grocery store. On a Saturday.   Except for this one particular Publix in Tallahassee. A LOT of people shop there. Enjoy. Maybe? And Merry Christmas. Everyone. Also, I lied. I did get you something. It's at the bottom of this list. You're welcome. How to out-crazy a school bus bully Cozy up while I explain how apeshit is way worse than batshit. Is that a stye in your eye or are you flirting with me Where my eye took a leave of absence from my head. Tampons are not toys Seriously. They aren't. What kind of parent are you an

Cinnamon Girl

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater It was supposed to be an enjoyable afternoon of crafting. The 4 year old and I decided to make homemade play dough – as we so often do. The ingredients are few: water, salt, flour, cream of tartar and oil, with a touch of food coloring thrown in for fun. The play dough making process goes a little something like this: Me :   Ok, now pour in the salt. Careful – don’t touch the pan. The pan is hot. Don’t touch the pan! The 4 year old : Ok mommy. I won’t touch it. Me : Perfect, now pour in the flour. The pan is hot. Don’t touch the pan! The 4 year old : I won’t touch the pan. And on it goes. Until I burn my hand on the hot pan and my girl eats a handful of salt, hoping it might taste like sugar. There are times when I look at the wise little person before me and see the mature grown up she will soon become. Then, there are times that send me hurtling head first into the imaginary corner of my mind where bluebirds sing, ladybugs dance

A couple of paintings...

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater When I'm not busy trying to be funny, I'm busy making art. Which reminds me... I have two little paintings (8" x 8") currently available for sale (hint, hint) on Etsy. Where the River Meets the Sea is an acrylic on canvas painting of the mouth of a river. The actual location is where the St. Croix River meets St. Andrews Harbour - Passamaquoddy Bay (part of the Bay of Fundy) in St. Andrews by-the-Sea. It can be yours for just $60. I know, right?! http://www.etsy.com/listing/116429849/where-the-river-meets-the-sea-acrylic Moody Weathered Lighthouse is an acrylic on canvas painting of a lighthouse. A really old lighthouse. The actualbuilding  is Pendlebury Light in St. Andrews by-the-Sea - prior to restoration. It too is only $60. What a steal. Seriously. http://www.etsy.com/listing/116428944/moody-weathered-lighthouse-acrylic?ref=v1_other_2 Thanks for looking. No, really.

Can you spare a square?

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater In the time it took for me to wrestle a Brazil nut out of its shell, my three-year-old daughter stealthily transported 7 rolls of toilet paper from the bathroom to the living room.  When I pulled myself away from the nutcracker, it was too late. She had created a pathway of "wipe-away" in the living room, around the corner and down the hall. She even used tape. The amazing thing was that all of this had taken place, in a matter of mere minutes. It was highly creative – and really, I couldn’t bring myself to scold her for such an imaginative performance. Instead, I let her continue to play – to see what else developed. After the path, the toilet paper morphed into a dog named Max. Later, it became ribbon “like the ballerinas use”. Eventually, my daughter became a orchestra conductor - throwing Charmin shreds in the air with gusto, while singing the Wonderpets theme song.  I was reminded of when I was a kid and my parents and I flew out t

Food safety, circa 1974

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater So I was sorting through some boxes today and came across one of my mom's old go-to guides. The book is called "Your Freezer and You" and it contains tips and suggestions on how to properly handle and freeze your groceries. It was written in 1974, which might explain the publisher’s cavalier approach to food safety. I mean, just look at the cover. Do you notice anything - oh, I don't know - unsafe? Here's a hint, or two... Muffins and apples are touching a piece of RAW STEAK. And, oh hey. Look at the loaf of bread situated on top of a BLOODY ROAST. And what is that round thing under the strawberries? Shrimp pie? Please let it be apple. Nevermind. Whatever it is, it's in contact with the uncooked meat too. Of course - as Jantje pointed out - this book was printed during the days when folks didn't think twice about sticking raw ground beef in their mouths to see if more spices were needed for the burgers. Raw eggs we

Objects on movie screens are smaller than they appear

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater Geoff and I were in Paris. It was getting late and we were hungry so we decided to venture one street over from our hotel to the Champs - Élysées because someone told us that the Champs - Élysées is where everything happens in Paris. Also, it is the street where vacationing pedestrians provide motorists with comic relief. I've heard. It was early November – slightly cool but mild enough for lightweight jackets. Still, we walked quickly so as not to catch a chill. The street was busy and in spite of the late hour, there were people all over the place and every shop and restaurant was open. As we walked along the sidewalk, we came upon a particularly large crowd. Because I am paranoid cautious, my first instinct was to run as thoughts of murders, robberies and rumbles (yes, rumbles) entered my brain.  The Champs - Élysées - but not on that night because on that night we had no camera. Or common sense. Geoff explained to me that

Lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes. And find them somewhere else.

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This is kind of like a sequel to my previous post about boobs . That is, if my posts were movies and I was an actor – or a producer or a screenwriter. Which I’m not. But I do have boobs. This is relevant.  I’m the first to admit that my body is not what it used to be, y’know, before the giant baby. That and the getting older. And possibly the consumption of massive amounts of chocolate. Whichever. Either way, I’m 20 pounds heavier today than I was in college. This is not entirely a bad thing considering that back then, I was once mistaken for a feather that had fallen off of a 3rd year jewelry student’s boa. Drinking coffee nonstop and eating nothing but dry popcorn will do that to a girl. My friend Sharon agrees. She too followed the supermodel waif diet back in the day. Caffeine and air with a side of nicotine. What were we thinking? Not much, because as it turns out, the brain requires fat in order to function properly. This might explain several of my choices during the 90s. St

I didn't take a babymoon. You're welcome.

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater I first saw the word babymoon printed in a guilty-pleasure - trashy magazine - along with photographs of a bikini-clad celebrity gallivanting in the sand during a pre-labor getaway with her pelvic affiliate and her diminutive ankles. It's kind of hard to ignore the concept, what with circulars like this shoved in every other newspaper.    But here's the thing. The babymoon trend has me feeling completely unconvinced. I’ll be honest here. When I was pregnant, the furthest thing from my mind was cherishing together time while experiencing a romantic fling on the beach - or anywhere for that matter. Reason being,  I was far too busy working out the logistics of ejecting a small-but-mighty organism through a part of my body I hadn’t been able to get a clear visual on for months. Between my ever-expanding feet, my wildly indiscreet chest and my puffy reality-television-star pout, I was more concerned with just trying to appear human while I was

Hello, are you at Walmart?

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater Yesterday I called my local Walmart store to see if it was open. Walmart is always open, just like gas stations, amazon.com and that guy named Slippy who sells acetaminophen at cost. Still, I felt the need to call because I am philosophically skeptical. Unlike Slippy. I held the phone to my ear. There was no ring – only some muffled noises somewhat reminiscent of the sound a cocker spaniel makes when he licks a goldfish. I’m only guessing here. As so often happens to me, I was dialing out, while - at the exact moment -  someone else was doing the same. Only, the man on the other end was not aware of this phenomenon and instead thought I was his wife. Or God. Whichever. I on the other hand, grew up in the country - with a party line - so hearing confused strangers on my telephone line is nothing new to me. ME : Hello? Is anyone there? Voice : Margaret? Is that you? ME : Are you at Walmart? Voice : How did you know I was at Walmart? ME : I ca

You need to leave now. Fortunately, you have train tickets.

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater My husband and I were in London, waiting to board the Eurostar train to Paris. We were happy to sit - after making it through customs - and with the pause had a chance to scan our travel mates. Some were sleeping. Others were reading newspapers. A few were deep in conversation with imaginary cats. One gentleman in particular was doing all three at once. My husband offered to get me a snack in an effort to help ease my fears of traveling deep beneath the English Channel with potentially delusional companions. He returned within seconds. "Show me our tickets," he hissed. " Why?" I questioned, " Are we at the wrong station? Did we come on the wrong day? Are we going to train jail?" " Just show them to me, will ya?" I did, and from there, our trip took an exciting turn. We had First Class tickets, which meant we would be fed during our journey and possibly secluded from the masses. Wh

Do not call us. Seriously.

by Andrea Mulder-Slater The telephone rang. Geoff picked it up... Geoff : Hello. Caller : Yes, hello. My name is Steve. I am calling to you to let you know your computer is broken. Geoff : That's amazing . Caller : Yes. We have scanned your computer. It is full of viruses. I will help you remove the viruses. Geoff : (silence) Caller : Sir? Hello ? Geoff : What is this about again? Caller : Viruses. Geoff :  I'm not sick. Caller : Your computer sir. Your computer is full of viruses. Geoff : That's impossible. Caller : But, we have done a scan on your computer. Geoff :  I don't have a computer. Caller : You don't have a computer? Geoff : No. Caller : But, everyone has a computer. Geoff : I don't. Caller : (silence) Geoff : I have a tractor. Caller : (stunned silence) Geoff : My tractor is broken. Maybe you could help me fix it. Caller : I. Um. I'm not sure I understand what you... Geoff : It's the front tir

11 free toys every child should enjoy

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater I've been stockpiling the funny stuff in my head, but in the meantime, have a peek at my latest post for Today's Parent magazine. It's all about creativity folks... http://www.todaysparent.com/free-toys  No, really.

Yeah, this is a rant. Minus the bitterness. Mostly.

by Andrea Mulder-Slater Several weeks ago, I received a letter of request from an organization, written by me, sent to me, yet signed by someone else. My words, my writing style, my heartfelt pleas were all there - in black on white. They were staring at me. Taunting me. As if to say, “Look, I’m sorry. You gave us up sweetheart, and so now we belong to someone else. Someone with better hair than you.” You know that feeling you get when you think you’ve lost your keys and so you look around the house frantically until you finally give up and make yourself a cup of coffee only to realize, once you’ve sat down to drink your brew, that you don’t have any coffee cream in the house and worse yet, you still haven’t found your damn keys and so you get up to look again and by the time you find them a full hour later you feel like a perspiration-drenched fool because your keys were in the bottom of your purse the entire freaking time? Yeah, that’s how that letter made me feel. Irritate

The lights of Paris

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater It was the first time Geoff and I had ever stayed in such luxurious surroundings. Ornate furnishings, a marble sink and endless lengths of cascading fabric filled our Paris hotel suite. Of particular note were the plush velvet curtains that reached clear up to the 14-foot ceilings. After our first full day of sightseeing, we were eager to get some sleep. We tucked ourselves under the blankets and turned off the bedside lamps only to find the room still flooded with light. We must have missed a switch, I thought while getting up to find it. Then I realized… the light was coming from outside our room. As it turned out, we were positioned at the precise location of the hotel sign, which was awash with intense, white light. It was so bright; we could have performed open-heart surgery (had we the tools, knowledge or patient). “It is the city of lights,” Geoff joked. I was not amused. Because he knows me well, Geoff pro

Tampons are not toys

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater Because not everyone enjoys impromptu discussions about poop, our local coffee shop features a not-so-secret upstairs room where mothers of toddlers congregate to have conversations punctuated by phrases like, “What happened to your other shoe?”, " How long has that worm been in your pocket? " and "Can you please take that dolphin out of your brother's ear?" without disturbing the street-level caffeine imbibers below. The other day, after a chance meeting on the sidewalk, my friend Sharon and I made tracks to “the room” to swig copious amounts of coffee while our kids ate giant ginger cookies. Two seconds in, our children asked if we had any toys. You think they would know us better by now. The only remotely kid-friendly items in my purse were a marble, two Band-Aids, a hotel pen and a miniature Spirograph toy that can only be operated by someone with Barbie doll sized hands. So, you know, I’ve given up on any aspirations of beco

WTF Sears?

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater The arrival of a new Sears catalog is usually loads of fun at our house. We all love looking at all the items we don't need, at prices we can't pass up. But this catalog was different from others we've received in the past. For one thing, the models appear as though they are dead. Or rather, undead. Which begs the question... WTF Sears? Am I wrong? I'm not wrong. Be afraid. Be very afraid. No, really.

It snot what you think

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater While cleaning out my purse this morning, I found the usual items... Receipts, tissues, wipes, marbles, one sock, a mystery toy from a Kinder Surprise egg and other assorted bits of stuff were mingling amongst the spare change and raisin box escapees. Then, I discovered a small plastic bubble - a forgotten gumball machine acquisition, the contents of which had remained unknown. Until today. I’ll admit it. I regularly fall prey to the lure of gumball machine booty and I’ve passed my  penchant on to my 3-year-old daughter. I blame my mother. Time and again she and I have dropped quarters into the colorful contraptions at the supermarket in the hopes of obtaining a hacky sack, a glow ring or a tiny porcelain mug emblazoned with the face of an ex-President. Instead, we typically end up with plastic mummies, temporary tattoos or little alien figurines playing soccer - all of which delight my daughter to no end. However, inside the forgotten plastic bubbl

Do they serve that at Dennys?

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater This morning, I asked my 3 year old daughter what she would like for breakfast. It's a pretty safe bet since her response is usually "Goldilocks porridge" (oat bran with cinnamon) or "ice cream" (healthy homemade version made with banana, avocado, fruit and rice milk). But today, she hit me with something entirely new. Her request was (get ready for it), "Squash miracle garden yuck." Now, I don't know about you, but I don't have an effing clue what squash miracle garden yuck is. Nor do I have any idea where she might have heard of such a delicacy. Is this kid sneaking out to roadside diners while I'm on Twitter sleeping? Perhaps Max & Ruby have been cooking on Netflix again. Why not? They've got no parents to feed them. Either way, I was up for the challenge. And so, I served up this delectable treat. Squash miracle garden yuck I scooped some leftover butternut squash into a glass. It mig

Remarkably good penmanship - for a deer

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater From time to time, Geoff disappears on his mountain bike and heads off somewhere -  into the wilderness. I used to worry but now, truthfully? Meh. Nine lives. Maybe even ten. Meanwhile, the major highway near us has been under construction for the summer. It's being twinned. Y'know to help folks who are passing through our province get out a little bit safer. And quicker. We're coming Nova Scotia! Ready the highland dancers and save us some scallops! This highway business has put a damper on Geoff's exploration. Where once he was able to just "hop across" the road, has been barricaded with a long stretch of deer fence. Not that the engineers haven't planned this project out exceptionally well. They have. There are gates, leading to tunnels and pathways - all designed to let Bambi and his mother (and, I suspect - ATVs) travel safely. I think they may have even pumped in some ambient moose music. It's like freakin' Disne

I may have reached my chicken limit

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater By now, you probably know how I feel about chickens. If not, let me remind you. I don't like them. They freak me out. So you can imagine my horror when I came across this. movoto.com It's a game created by a real estate blog in which you can calculate how many goats, sheep, guinea pigs, cows or ( shudder ) chickens it would take to keep your yard  manicured. And covered in crap. Now that we've moved to the country, we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 acres of land. That's a lot of mowing. Assuming we had grass. At some point -  once we've been out here a few years, removed from society as we know it, living like recluses, growing our own food and braiding each others hair while wearing orange jumpsuits - we might in fact turn to the animals for help. Mostly because by that time, no one else will be brave enough to come near us. I had to try it. I selected chickens. Of course I did: I entered my acreage: And was

That time I was discovered...

by Andrea Mulder-Slater I was sitting at the downtown art studio, on one of the comfy Adirondack chairs. The sun was low in the sky - the day drawing to a close.  I had dragged the chair to the side of the studio, so it faced the ocean. And, as it had been a rather warm day, a large bottle of Evian water was sitting on the ground next to me. As I contemplated whether or not to lock up a little early, a man wandered around the corner.  He glanced at me - several times - before gazing out on the view. Then he turned around, looked me up and down and asked if I would be okay with him taking a few photographs.  Here's what I thought: "Photos? Of me? I'm being discovered! This is just like in the movies!" Here's what I said: "Sure, okay." "I'll be back in a bit with my equipment," he said, "I hope you don't mind waiting." As soon as he disappeared from sight, I headed for the washroom to make sure I h

Another reason to keep my mouth shut

by Andrea Mulder-Slater We went to a classical music event held at a community college this past weekend. No sooner were we in the door and someone had to pee. It might have been me. I left the 3 year old with Geoff and headed to the restroom. There were three stalls. The door on the left had an Out of Order sign taped to it and the stall on the right was wheelchair accessible - so I walked to the middle door, grabbed hold of the top edge and pulled. It was locked. "Oh, I'm sorry." I said, backing up. There was no response. I glanced under the door - because that's always my first instinct in a public restroom. I think it might be an inappropriate reflex. I saw no evidence of a shadow, so I assumed that it too was out of order. Either that or some college kid had locked it up and crawled out as a joke. I briefly wondered if I might fit under the metal partition - mostly because I’m weird like that. Instead I went behind door number three. Literally. Af

Vroom vroom (photo)

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  Seen on the parking lot while waiting for our car to be repaired. Must be the practice car. Daily Snap - 07.10.12 | by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Stay small (photo)

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Lately, the 3 year old has been worried about getting bigger --- as in: "If I get bigger, I won't be able to sit on my dad anymore." Stay small kiddo. Daily Snap - 07.09.12 | by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Potato chips and antiseptic

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater “I think I broke my ankle.” The words slipped out of my mouth almost as fast as I had fallen down the stairs. Here’s the thing. When I walk down a set of steps, if I don’t suppress the urge, I flap my arms – not so much like a bird… more like an excited toddler, or a 1960s housewife who has just spotted a mouse. It’s neither a safe (nor particularly effective) habit. It’s a genetic flaw. My mother does it too. And so, as I raced from upstairs to down with an oscillating fan in one hand and nothing in the other (flap, flap) I didn’t stand a chance when my flip-flop festooned foot slipped tidily off the second last step.  Sitting at the base of the staircase, I could hear the voices of my family members somewhere off in the distance. Geoff was chatting with a delivery driver about the death of Andy Griffith while Jan was trying to convince the 3 year old to “set that damn frog free.” “Hello. Anyone. My foot just went numb. Is that bad?” I thought abou

The sky is falling (photo)

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It was a sideways rain kind of day yesterday. Mid-afternoon (while in town) the world went from sunny to scary in a matter of seconds. Geoff was caught on his bike somewhere out in the ridges while Jan, the girl and I were flooded in our downtown studio. Then, as fast as it came - it was over. Until later that day when (while at home) I looked out the window to see this. Daily Snap - 07.08.12 | by Andrea Mulder-Slater

After the storm (photo)

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There's just something about kids and puddles. Mine would sleep in one if I let her.  Daily Snap - 07.07.12 | by Andrea Mulder-Slater