Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hand Towels and Fart Candles

Hi Folks,

Just a quick note to let you know I am not dead!

We are expecting dinner guests in about 45 minutes and I cannot help but reflect on, yes, hand towels and fart candles.

You know, if you invite people to dinner they are usually just so glad to get a night away from the kids and get a free meal, that for the most part, they really won't quibble about the state of your house. The only exception to this, though, is your bathroom. This is because, especially if you feed your guests a lot of beer, they will be visiting that little room of yours at least once or twice through the evening. As your lady guests sit on the pot, they will no longer be distracted by food and thrilling conversation, so they then have time to really check out your loo. Make sure that all surfaces that can be peered at at sitting-on-toilet level are clean (looking) at the very least.

When you have eaten at other friends' houses, do you always look for the spot on the hand towel provided, for the least likely spot that other guests might have used (yes, those yucky-poopy other guests)? If so, ensure your dinner guests are not left pondering the very same thing about your questionable hand towel. Hang a huge bath towel. Yup, that way they can feel that, somewhat, that they have a good chance of avoiding any cross-guest contamination because there will be more space to wipe on!

What is the fart candle? It is that lovely candle that you put in the loo to eat any of the emissions that can be had in any fine bathroom. It is not for atmosphere. It is to spare your other guests from that one fella who had a burrito at lunch time.

Gotta go light that fart candle now! Bye!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Daytime TV Bites!

OK, who out there just has the time to do this? Besides, other than sneaking in the odd Oprah show when I have to fold laundry, just about everything bites during the day. Most of those daytime time talk shows are warping the minds of our nation’s shut-in seniors. This vulnerable group probably thinks that all their neighbours are cross-dressers, polygamists, or Satanists! And all those ads that are always trying to get you to sign up for Medical Office Assistant School! Is there a shortage of medical office assistants out there, or something?

How do I deal with this?:
I just don’t bother turning the thing on. Life’s too short - and it cuts into my reading time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Do a Hug Bug

Best way to get to get your teens out the house (and OFF your computer!) during the summer holidays:

When they come into the room, start singing "Four hugs a day! That's the mininum!" and then demand those hugs. At least four, of course. Keep singing till you get those hugs, or until you repel them out of the house.

I love you Charlotte Diamond!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cheap Trick

This is a letter that I attempted to send to More Magazine regarding an article by Jennifer Allford, The Era of the Frugalista. It is a lite commentary about, because of tighter economic times, cheap now chic, and “frugal is the new black”. If you haven’t already guessed, Frugalista is a play of its antonym, fashionista. I wrote this comment on why I think being cheap has always been the cat’s meow for me. Unfortunately, my letter was too big and it was rejected from the magazine ‘s on-line comment box. Well, I didn’t want to shorten it, so I gave up on giving a More Magazine response. “That’s OK” , I thought, “I’ll just hang on to this and share with you guys.. “

I too, am of the sisterhood of frugality. And it's not just about saving money; it's fun. I cherish the challenge of finding a pair of $120 jeans for $14. I also enjoy giving myself the frugal gift of self reliance. I can colour my own roots and I streak my own hair at home. Last Spring , at a fancy party, I received many compliments on my hair and people kept asking for my hairdresser’s number!

Why so frugal? It's a hangover from my poorer college days. When I actually started getting a paycheque in the working world, I thought, "Why should I have to give up my treasure hunts?" This way of thinking extends well into the larger economic and environmental decisions in my life. When the folks who are now spending a small bomb to furnish their homes with pricey, trendy, modern furniture find it filling up the landfills 20 years from now, my quality, “second hand” antique furniture finds will still be looking great, and likely be worth more than I paid. Is this cheap? No, it's smart! Besides, I’d rather put the time into drawing, writing, or into my vegetable garden -not redecorating my house every five years.

This way of thinking has also helped shape the biggest financial and lifestyle decision of our family’s life: buying a house. We bought a cheaper, smaller home in a great neighbourhood, and we bought “second hand”. Granted, older homes present some challenges in terms of repairs and upgrading, but our 120 year old house is solid and will likely, in the very least, maintain its value, and outlast a lot of the poorly built, more expensive ,“luxury (leaky) condos” being built in BC, these days. And again, the environmental angle favours the frugal; we are not contributing to the tons of waste material produced to build a new home.

Recently, to save money on vacations, I’ve been looking into home exchange holidays. That is, free accommodation in another exchanger’s house in exchange for a free stay at your house. And please note: apparently, an older, cute little home filled with antiques, does attract other potential exchangers!

So be proud, my fellow frugal sisters. Our more thoughtful and careful spending ways teaches us to be more self reliant, environmentally-friendly, and when your friends stop spending long enough to see how happy you are, they may consider becoming “cheaper” too.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Teen Rhyme

The Age of Reason

Teenager, teenager,
Why are you so loud?
Why do you freak out?
To things not allowed.

Why do you get whiney?
And make so much noise,
To my “NO!” to a sleepover,
That includes girls and boys.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kids Book Reviews!

Hey, I love kids books, and as I hope to publish one myself, one day, I've decided to do the odd kids books review in this blog.

Both of the books I have chosen are not only new, but by first time authors. The writers both, however, have backgrounds in the children’s book industry. I think both their authorial debuts are successful enterprises!


By Ann Stott & illustrated by David Phelan
1st Edition, Published by Candlewick Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Early Picture Book, ages 3 and under

Ann Stott’s background is in book design and so she was likely well prepared for her first book which was inspired by her mischievous youngest son. One day, after a day of reprimands by mom, he asked her “Do you still love me?” The author then realized, “ important it was for him to hear I love him, no matter what he did.”

As a mom who has also dealt with a mischievous child, I can relate to how funny and trying a child can be when testing the boundaries of her parents love. For the child, the story offers up some funny and familiar scenarios that reassures her that she is not the only child, in the world, who has ever been naughty or forgetful. The simple and tender way the author shows that a parent’s love is unwavering, no matter what, is a comforting message to all small children.

As usual, what attracted to me to this book (besides being in the new book section of the library) was the artwork of David Phelan. His warm and simple pencil and water colour illustrations are both sweet and expressive. The interaction with dog and child is very endearing -especially when they sometimes become “partners in crime”. As an aspiring children’s book artist, I look to successful artists like Phelan for inspiration.

Something Wickedly Weird
The Wooden Mile

Written and Illustrated By Chris Mould
Published by Roaring Brook Press, New York
First Published by Hodder Children’s Books, 2007
A division of Hachette Childrens Books, UK
Middle Readers, ages 9-11

Chris Mould, an award winning illustrator, applies his creative talent to his first authorial debut, Something Wickedly Weird, The Wooden Mile. As the title promises, this captivating story takes the reader on an adventure with Stanley Buggles an eleven year old heir to the Candlestick Estate on the weird island of Crampton Rock. Even on the first night of his arrival at Crampton Rock, Stanley’s young mind burns with questions: Why won’t the housekeeper, Mrs. Carelli, explain the strange circumstances of his late Uncle’s death? Why is no one in Crampton Rock allowed out after dark? And did that stuffed pike at Candlestick Hall just actually speak to him? Later, Stanley also has encounters with a werewolf, and some scheming pirates. One is left wondering; will Stanley live out his life to enjoy his inheritance?
This a great book to capture the imagination of even the reluctant boy-readers!

Chris’s accompanying cartoon illustrations are richly rendered with pencil, ink, and possibly other mixed media. I also appreciate Mould’s sharp eye for historical architectural detail that he has somehow cleverly combined with a Dr. Suess-like defiance of gravity. Wickedly Weird makes for a very enjoyable eye-treat! I love the scrappy little crab that appears on each new chapter heading.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Meet Puberty Boo!

An Introduction to Puberty Boo...

Hi there to you people who have nothing else better to do than to read my mom’s very nerdy blog (hey, I almost called it a “blob”, oooops!). I am Puberty Boo. I am sort of real, but not. Theresa, my mom, who is real (have I lost you yet? I don’t blame you if I have) has created, me, a fictional teen aged daughter inspired by a mish-mash of her own teen kids, and their friends combined to create me, Puberty Boo. In this way, she feels she can preserve her kids’ dignity, but also to feel free to exploit their cute foibles and laughable teenaged antics to the world. She tells me poor Robin Milne who was the real Christopher Robin from the Winnie the Pooh stories, never got to live down his Pooh past through all his adult life. Theresa/Mom thinks she is sparing her kids, but, really, who is she kidding?
Mom thinks that because I am being newly introduced to the world that I should have a cute theme song. A cute theme song??? What the hell? Oh yeah, Mom will let me swear my head off, if I want. She wants me to be as “authentic” as possible. Since when is hell, even a swear word anymore? Geez. Anyway, back to this stupid theme song she’s made up. She thinks it’s quite clever. You be the judge.

It is sung to the tune of “Cruella Deville” from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.
Don’t know the song? Download it from YouTube, Neanderthal.

Puberty Boo,
She’s Puberty Boo,
She really grumpy,
And pimply too!

That greasy hair,
Really needs a shampoo,
It’s Puberty, oh,
Puberty Boo!

See you in future postings. Or not.

-Puberty Boo

Monday, May 25, 2009

Not Everyone Loves Your Kids.....

Just Desserts

My senior neighbour seemed so sweet,
She came by this afternoon,
She presented some fresh baking,
The gift of macaroons.

“For the children,” she explained,
“They’re such a lovely bunch,”
I thanked her for her thoughtfulness,
And the kids had them for lunch.

Later in emergency,
As the kids each took a turn,
Getting their poor stomachs pumped,
I began to learn.

Of how my children ran amuck,
In my old neighbour’s yard,
How they destroyed her prized rose bush,
And her lawn, they burned and scarred.

Of how they liked to trick her,
Oh what was she to do?
Like when they filled her mailbox,
With some smelly doggy poo.

Of how they always like to,
Chase her cat up trees,
And when they locked her out of home,
And left her standing there to freeze.

When we checked out of the hospital,
(They won’t be eating for a while),
We saw our neighbour in her yard,
She had an innocent sweet smile.

With all the things my kids had done,
To this neighbour from next door,
I say, I cannot blame this lady,
For settling the score.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stephen Harper the Squirrel; Today

Stephen Harper has been at it again. He keeps trying muscle out the chickadees at the bird feeder. I don't know why, as the feeder is squirrel proof. He is not very smart. I sent Daisy, my 12 pound wiener dog, out to chase him up and over the fence. Stephen Harper will likely be back, though.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SAHM Comments on Cleaning the Loo

Tub Cleaning

First of all, I clean the tub as infrequently as possible. Now that my kids are older they’ve taken to having showers like their parents. So, not too much fear of catching some major contaminates from sitting in a filthy tub to get worried about.
On the rare occasion I do clean my tub, I clean it with shampoo with a clean scrubby. No Mr. Clean in my tub. Why? Because on tubs with tiled walls, any soap will work if applied with a good scrubby and some elbow grease. And also, when, on the odd occasion I do have a real bath, I’d rather soak in soap that is meant to applied to human skin and not some cleaning chemicals. Sorry Mr. Clean, just be glad I still use you for the toilet (which I DO clean more frequently than the tub, rest assured).
I tend only to only trouble myself with the cleaning of the tub when I am expecting visitors whom, if they stay long enough would likely use the loo at least once. Remember, you wouldn’t want your guests contemplating that brown ring in the bathtub while biding their time on your toilet.
Well.... in a pinch, you can always just close the shower curtain –if it’s clean, that is.

Toilet Cleaning and the Apocolypse

Apparently, recent studies have shown that the water in our toilets is cleaner than we thought. In fact, in the remote case of a national disaster, we could safely look upon our toilet water as a valuable source of drinking water.
Now, as far as cleaning is concerned, you can look at this in two ways. You can ask yourself, “Well, if I clean it with Mr. Clean (or any other type of commercial product ) will I be potentially poisoning my emergency drinking water supply?” or you can wonder, “If I use shampoo, will that be enough that kill any nasty bacterial life forms in my toilet; and will I be risking my families’ health with ecoli or some other poop related germ?”
Well, my solution to this weighty problem is to just clean it as you always have and think happy thoughts so that our collective positive thinking vibe staves off any national disaster in our time, and then we will not have to ever drink from the toilet!

The Bathroom Sink

Unlike the tub and the toilet, I clean the bathroom sink pretty regularly. Why? Because it always has stray hairs in it. My stray hairs. Dozens of them. And because I can’t bear to face the fact that I suffer from thinning hair, I try to get rid of the evidence as often as possible.
So... um my best sink cleaning advice is to buy one of those tiny drain strainers from the dollar store so you don’t keep plugging up the plumbing with your thinning hair strands.
This housework tip is getting too depressing....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dark Queens Park; A Sampling of Rhymes

Hi, Everyone,
I had my very first, ever, poetry reading a few weeks ago. For those unfortunates who could not haul themselves into the basement of the library to come by for a listen, and in honour of Hyack Days, I am offering my first online debut of 5 of the poems from the reading. Here, just below, is a wee intro:

Dark Queens Park
A Different Kind of Neighbourhood Tour

A Sampling of Rhymes
By (me) Theresa Henry-Smith

Welcome to Queens Park.
And as neighbourhoods go, it’s a beauty. It has gorgeous heritage homes on streets lined with mature trees. It keeps a proud history alive by being host to annual events like the largest parade in western Canada, The Preservationist Society’s Annual Heritage Home Tour, and a May Day celebration in the neighbourhood park. I believe I am, indeed, very fortunate to reside there.

But I‘ve been musing lately... Is there a darker side to Queens Park? An evil lurking behind those restored bay windows? Please, join me in this sinister examination in:
Dark Queens Park. A Different Kind of Neighbourhood Tour.......

A Murder of Crows

The four and twenty Blackbirds,
That got baked in a pie,
Had it really coming,
They surely had to die.

Their caw is so annoying,
And they rip apart our lawns,
Let’s catch them and let’s cook them,
That will surely make them gone.

May Day Parade

It’s the pride of our fair city,
Our Hyack Days Parade,
Most spectators behave,
But not so; Tom and Wade.

Every year they show up early,
With their lawn chairs and their beer,
They block the views of little kids,
They wreck the atmosphere.

They loudly boo at boy scouts,
And the senior volunteers,
And to the startled May Queen,
They make suggestive leers.

Well, karma had its way this year,
The pirate float; it went off course,
And accidently killed those louts,
Not one soul has shown remorse.

Now parade day is much nicer,
We really can’t complain,
Except if you like watching,
In freezing, pouring rain.

French Immersion Line-up

Its 2:00 am and freezing cold,
They drink tea, no longer hot,
They lining for the program,
They want to hold their kids a spot.

They’ve all been there for many days,
They cannot take a chance,
They really really want their kids,
To talk like folks from France.

Stepford Tots

At the daycare down the lane,
The children never seem to play,
They always walk in unison.
They’re taught to just obey.

The children all have vacant stares,
They make me think of drones,
They call their teacher ‘master’,
In robotic monotones.

I want to tell their parents,
I was going to make a call,
But a note came through my door,
Written in a childish scrawl.

It said:
Ring around the Rosie,
A pocket full of rye,
Stay quiet, our dear neighbour,
Or you will surely die!

The Physically Fit Undead

They sprint out in the morning dark,
Disappearing in the mist,
The neighbours think they’re joggers,
But they’re zombies, I insist!

The Eternal Renovator

Here is Klaus,
With his unfinished house,
Where he drills, and he hammers, and he cuts,
He’s finds it so much fun,
So he’ll never get it done,
And the neighbours on his street,
Hate his guts.

Here is Klaus,
With his unfinished house,
Where the streets all echo with his clatter,
The sawdust never clears,
It’s been over twenty years,
Now we’re praying for a fall,
From a ladder.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Book Review: Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights
By Emily Bronte

A step by step story on how a family can become go from normal to “dysfunctional supreme” in just one generation. This wordy tome had me on the edge of my seat wondering what further emotional damage that jerk, Heathcliff, would inflict on his pathetic besieged family.
Also, this book is an example for why the women’s movement did us a heck of a lot of good.
I chose to read Wuthering Heights because of another book that I read by Thai author Pira Sudham; he referred to it so much in his book Monsoon Country, that I felt compelled to check it out. Also, I thought, “Geez, if a guy from Thailand is so passionate about Wuthering Heights, just what have I been missing?”

A good classic read. It reminded me of a 19th century version of Dynasty. Heathcliffe was the original JR.

Stephen Harper the Squirrel; Today

Stephen Harper broke the terracotta watering dish beside the bird feeder in my front yard. He probably knocked it over when he was attempting (yet again) to steal from the chickadee bird feeder. He is evil incarnate.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Mom's Blog Review & Voting

My mom thinks I look like "Suzy Nerdo" in my picture, my blogs are too long, and she cannot see any humour in them. I don't think she knows who Douglas Coupland is, so my name-dropping did not impress her in any way.
However, I might be able to get her onside if I let her publish some of of her mother's (Grandma Bertha) old housework and cooking tips on this site. They would likely be the only practical advice you'd get from SAHM i Yam, so stay tuned!

I hope you all voted yesterday (stern look). The news said there was very low voter turn up. The voting station I went to was practically deserted! Don't tell me you had better things to do!
(more mom-like stern look)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

List of Cool SAHM Band Names & I Love Douglas C.

You might relate to this kind of time-wasting fun, if you came from my kind of work background. You see I used to work for a large computer game company (as an artist, not a programmer -I can barely figure out this blog, for goodness sake!). We fellow workmates often had to work looonng hours to meet project deadlines. So, often, we gave ourselves a mental break by compiling silly lists (see below). Douglas Coupland (yes, super-funny-brainy-bestselling author, Douglas Coupland!!) worked briefly with us at our company. He describes the most ultimate and awesome kinds of time-wasting in his book, J-Pod. The setting in J-Pod is strikingly familiar to that gaming company I used to work for.... hmmmm. Anyway, enough blather; here is a fun SAHM time-wasting list to start. Participation welcome.

Cool SAHM Band Names (to start)

The Viagra Valentines
The Beautiful Laundrettes
The Balding Mullets (kids thought of that one!)
Invertebrate Housewifes
Stage Moms
I Love You, Now Shut-Up & Go to Sleep

Happy Belated Mom's Day & Stephen Harper the Squirrel

Sorry for the late tidings! Really, the most special day of the year for SAHMs and I turn slacker on you! Not even send any greetings out at all. No excuses, but I guess, like a lot of us, I was super busy that day spending time with my Mom, sister and the family.

It was also a super glorious weekend and I gardened my fanny off. Like last year, we are growing herbs, salad greens, peas, beans, carrots, leeks, squashes, pumpkins, tomatoes, and when Eric gets around to building a squirrel/rat/raccoon-proof raised container space, we'll try potatoes again. I want a raised container style potato patch so we can put a protective chicken wire cover on it as, last year, the furry pests ravaged our potato crop (pumpkins & tomatoes too!). They dug out the potatoes and gnawed on several a night. I HATE the furry pests. I am naming the big grey leader of the squirrel pack Stephen Harper. I will try and come up with names for the raccoon and rat pack leaders soon. Suggestions welcome. Also, every once in a while, I will report on the goings on of Stephen Harper, in this blog, and let you know about the shenanigans he gets up to in my yard. He really is rather annoying!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Teeny Tiny Rhymes for Folks Short onTime and Even this Title is Longer than the Poems

Heretical Musing
If Todd,
Was God,
It would be rather odd.


I run,
It’s not fun,
I have to do it for my buns.

For you Twilight Moms

I love Ed,
Even though he’s undead,
Wish he’d dump Bella,
And pick me instead!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

SAHMs Read

I think my book group suspects I’m a reading slouch.
That’s because I don't always have the book finished on time every month. But, I swear, the opposite is true. I may or may not finish my book group book because either I can’t get a copy on time or I am fully immersed in a book of my own choosing and do not want stop in midstream.
Actually I’m a book-a-holic. I read about 4 books a month. Some of my non-SAHM friends may very well attribute, the volume of material I manage to read, to the idea that I must idle away my domestic hours curled up in a comfy chair, nose in a book, while the dishes pile up and the kids starve. But that is where they are wrong (well, except for the dishes part). I actually ingest 3 out of those 4 books via audio books (the 4th one is actually read with my eyes). “But that’s not really reading!” one might say. But I say that, indeed, it is. Intellectually it all gets absorbed in the exact same way. Often, when I try to recall one of the many books I’ve read, I have a very hard time differentiating whether I had heard it or read it.

Now, think of all the mindless activities many SAHMs are saddled with in a typical day. What an audio book can do is, free up your hands to attend to those mindless things, while your brain is happily bathed a literary miasma because you are plugged into some amazing piece of fiction! This makes for a happier, more productive SAHM –although plugged in SAHMs risk starting to resent any daytime phone calls that might interrupt their stories, “Sorry honey, can you call back? I’m in the middle of an Elizabethan execution...”

Here is a list of the typically dreary activities that I now enjoy because of audio books: all housework (goes without saying!), cooking, long car trips, gardening, crafting, working out at the gym, dog walking, etc, etc. I bet, if I read more, I’d have a pristine home (but not bloody likely).

There are couple times in a SAHM’s life when “audio-reading” is hard to manage; when your kids are still small and not yet in school, and when they are on school holidays. It’s then when you feel obliged to pause your audio book or take your headphones off to actually listen to the little darlings -and sometimes your husband too (sigh, the sacrifices we make!).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Welcome to SAHM i Yam!

What's with this weird name SAHM i Yam?
‘SAHM’ is an acronym for Stay At Home Mom and, ‘I yam’, has been happily appropriated from, that vintage cartoon macho-man, Popeye; “I yam, what I yam”. I love Popeye’s simple style of self affirmation. I am happy to adopt it. Throw in a little bit of fun from the brilliant Dr Seuss and you get the picture.

Why start SAHM i Yam? Well, admittedly it was a way to get me off of my duff and learn how to create a blog -and (maybe) get some respect from my techno-savvy kids. Another reason is to help keep the creative juices in my brain from becoming stagnant. Sharing them with you will give me just that much more incentive to be creative (and write more!). Perhaps, it could serve a deeper purpose of allowing the world to see that a lot of us stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) might have something interesting to say -or at least something funny!