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Showing posts from 2013

I've got a friend (in a low place)

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater I have a new friend. You may have met her. In fact, if you’re a woman hurtling through her 40s, then I can pretty much guarantee the two of you have crossed paths - at least once. For me, the first time we encountered one another was at the bookstore. In the children’s section. On a Tuesday. She was wearing a pink feather boa and she flipped her hair in a carefree way as she manically pointed out a young mother with her nursing newborn, cuddling together in the teacup chair. Then, she elbowed me - hard - in the left boob. Not long after, I ran into my new friend at the grocery store. Within minutes, she convinced me I was freezing to death and sent me running to the car to lay down on the seat heaters. From the day my friend and I first met, she has given me nothing but grief. And facial hair. Problem is, I can’t just shake her. She's worse than glitter. My friend is a powerful dame and her omnipotence is enough to give me heart palpitat

Shhh... it happens

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater I’m the first to admit I’m not a perfect mother... I’ve fed my kid no name brand marshmallows. For breakfast. I’ve let her pee down the shower drain on the deck of an upscale hotel pool ( yeah, you knew that was us, didn't you Courtyard Marriott? ). I’ve backed away – quickly - after she wiped her nose on a fake cashmere scarf in a clothing store ( sorry Old Navy, but it's not like you’ve never sneezed ). But none of that really compares to what I did - or rather, what I bought - on Wednesday. I'd like to say that it is totally out of character for me to pay $19.95 for a plastic dog that craps itself. But I'd be lying. Mostly because there was that time I bought my kid a stuffed toy mole with poop on its head . Mind you, that was entirely by accident.  In any case, Doggie Doo - the game - is now at our house and the 5 year old is in love. And why wouldn't she be? It involves a dog, that dumps. If you're not familiar,

Vacations will do that to you...

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater Traveling is exhausting, partly because ( as you already know ) I am unskilled in the art of packing light and so - much like an Asian Weaver Ant - I inevitably end up hauling 100 times my body weight. Only instead of dead flies, I carry luggage. Most of the time. Also, keeping a 747 in the air by using sheer mind power alone is exceptionally draining for me, especially around hour seven. As is watching each and every passenger. Did that guy ever come back from the restroom? Why is that woman pacing back and forth? Is that the pilot? Why is he back here? Where did Geoff get that croquette? Is that a child drinking whisky or is that just a remarkably petite man? Why does that flight attendant look worried? Is that man watching porn on his iPad? Did he just notice me staring at his lap? Grueling. Still, the holiday happened without a hitch ( except for the obvious ) and so we topped off our 4 weeks overseas with an additional multi day jetlag-fueled fa

Under thug, see me

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater We were visiting Volendam - a town of around 23,000 - where wooden shoe makers and cheese factories abound. It’s pretty touristy with a good amount of shops selling typical cookie-cutter Dutch knick-knacks like miniature wooden shoes, tiny windmills, carved tulips and ceramic cows that spit koffie melk through their open mouths. As we sat in the back of an open-air cafĂ©/bar, eating kibbling and drinking koffie, we watched as several tour boats emptied out on the waterfront, delivering eager bodies into the tiny maze-like streets. Later on, our food finished, Geoff wandered and Jan shopped while I stood with the 4 year old admiring the big brown boats. That’s when I noticed a Japanese couple taking turns snapping photographs of one another standing in front of the picturesque harbour. Because I’m a nice girl with poor instincts, I offered to take a picture of the two of them together, using their camera. They looked at me, confused. If not slightl

Don't follow us, we'll follow you

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater I have a pretty terrific imagination, and by that I mean I can be a wee bit paranoid. It is this innate bent towards suspicion that recently drove me to convince my entire family that we were being followed while visiting a small town in The Netherlands. It all began when, while exiting a shoe store, I passed two smartly dressed men wandering through the narrow streets. I’m a visual person. I notice things. No more than 10 minutes later, I walked into a clothing shop to look at jackets. There again, were the men. The cheese shop, the bakery, the electronics store. The men. At first, I chalked it up to coincidence. But later, when I spotted them right beside my mother, my 4-year-old and I in the supermarket, I began to feel nervous. No, that’s not true. I FREAKED THE F*#K OUT. Me : Psssst . My mother (intrigued): What?! Me :  Don’t look now but I think those men are following us. Mom (believing me immediately): Okay, where are they? Me (tu

Sleep tight

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater Geoff, Jan, the 4 year old and I are visiting Holland. It’s the birthplace of both of my parents… a country where everything feels familiar, and most every face I see, is like looking in a mirror. It’s a country where my possibly abnormal devotion to all things black and brown makes perfect sense. Also, you can buy croquettes from vending machines. Croquettes! The shopkeepers address me in Dutch. I nod for a while before realizing I only understand half of what they say, and can only reply in English. I smile and tell them so. They say,   “But you look so Dutch!” It’s a compliment, I think. Which was not so much the case when a boy named Dave used to call me “Dutchie” in high school. Of course, he also called me “Inga, from Sweden”. And sometimes: “that cute but dopey girl”. On second thought, maybe he was flirting with me. I was never very good at picking up on signals, mostly because I was usually too tired to think straight. The thing is, I

Stop me if you've seen this one before

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater There was a major crisis at our house this morning. We’re all okay, but are still reeling from the impact. I’ve since had a chance to regroup and am now able to talk openly about the ordeal. Here’s what happened… I couldn’t find my carry-on luggage. My bag was missing. Gone. For an entire hour and a half. I accused everyone in the house of stealing it. And then, I found it. The thing is, we’re about to embark on a trip that we’ve been planning for almost a year. And as a result, I’ve been impossible to live with. You know, more than usual. Full disclosure. I’m a terrible traveler. Mostly because I’m a wee teensy bit anxious. Case is point: This is me, in the car, at the beginning of a journey… “Did we lock the door?”  “Do I have my wallet?”  “Is there a roll of paper towels in the car?”  “Who has the house keys?”  “Did someone grab that red container I set by the door?”  “Is it sitting upright in the back?”  And that’s just a 20 min

Clean up on aisle 5

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater You know how whenever you stub your toe, you inevitably spend the next few days whacking said toe into table legs and bed frames before running over it with your office chair because you aren’t paying attention, mostly due to the fact that you are stuffing chocolate chips in your mouth before your preschooler figures out where you are hiding? Maybe it’s just me. How about when you’re about to walk into a crowded room, wearing your new black pants, feeling rather Sophia Loren, only to have your old lady briefs slip up where they shouldn’t, right after you catch yourself tripping over your own heels? Not that either? Well, trust me, it is inexplicable and also magical – but not in a good way. I think it has something to do with magnets. Or maybe sound waves. I don’t know, really. My memory is fuzzy when it comes to Grade 10 Physics. In fact, I may not have taken that class at all. In any case, I had one of these magnetic moments at the grocery store th

With a cluck cluck here and a cluck cluck there

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater “Do you want to know how to rest a chicken?” The 4 year old was in the back seat of the car, busting with new found barnyard animal knowledge. The answer was yes. Geoff, Jan and I did want to know how to rest a chicken. Because, why wouldn't we? Let me back up… If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my daughter in the short time I’ve known her, it’s that she loves critters more than chocolate, jellybeans, avocados, onions and canned sardines combined. Yeah. I don’t know whose child she is either. And she’s not choosy. Insects, amphibians, invertebrates, crustaceans, rodents, canines, felines, bovines, equines and poultry all generate the same level of adoration from the tiny person who, since she could speak, has consistently declared, “When I grow up, I’m going to be a veterinarian, because I take good care of animals.”    If I could, I would fill our home with as many dogs and cats as we have rooms. But I can’t. And here’s why. My kid is

Don't touch it! DON'T TOUCH IT!

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by Andrea Mulder-Slater Jan, the 4 year old and I were in the car - approaching the stop sign at the end of our road - when a dark roundish object in the middle of the pavement caught our attention.   We're a gang. We solve mysteries. What? Me : I think it’s a baseball glove. Also me : Or, half a watermelon. Me again : Maybe it’s a giant cow patty. Jan : We don’t have cows on our road. She was right, of course. We may have three hundred and fourteen chickens living amongst us in our little rural neighbourhood (yes, I’ve counted them). But cows? Not so much. Still… The 4 year old : There’s a cow?! On our road?! Where’s the cow?! Stop!!!! I want to seeeeeeeee it! Since it was garbage day, it seemed reasonable that a chunk of something or other had fallen out of the truck that dutifully hauls away whatever the raccoons, coyotes and feral cats haven’t claimed. It wasn’t until we came to a full stop at the end of the lane, that we realized what was lying i