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2010-05-24 - 11:12 a.m. to celebrate a birthday with the one you love...

Saturday was K's birthday. I've put a lot of thought into this year's birthday. But you should understand what it means for teranika to put a lot of thought into a birthday. I am not clever, creative, artistic, or romantic. And I'm busy and stressed. So my thinking about a birthday usually means mine thinking, "oh dear. birthday on the way again. what can I possibly do that will be nice?" and then I think about it for a few minutes on the skytrain in the morning, feel stressed, and then forget until a few days later. This usually starts back in April, sometimes March. And I continue to stress over it, and then finally make a decision at the last minute to do something, when it is genuinely too late for me to do something original or completely.

Poor K - who so thoughtfully and masterfully wraps the tiniest little present so it looks like he's been thinking about my present for months - usually winds up with a present wrapped in a plastic bag with a rigged cloth bow of some kind. Bad teranika. Bad.

So was this year any different? Well, at the beginning of May, I was hit with a brilliant idea. I was sitting in a colleague's office out at Island University, and I saw a paper tie - clearly made by his child - with painted hand and foot prints on it.

I realized that we have never taken Susi's hand and foot prints before. And I also thought that a paper tie would probably fall apart quickly. How cool to do this on cloth.

So I stored that idea away until the morning before K's birthday, and then went racing around after work at a mall along the skytrain, searching for paints and a tie. Fortunately, there were a lot of experienced mother- and grandmotherly types who took pity on me and showed me what a paint bottle and brushes look like. So I came home feeling somewhat proud of myself, having captured paints, a white silk tie, and a cotton t-shirt. Oh, and a bottle of Spanish bubbly, and a card.

I decided not to feel inadequate about not having finished the t-shirt and tie in advance and as a surprise. I'm virtually NEVER alone with Susi, so it wouldn't have been possible. Plus, I reasoned, it had to be much more fun to watch Mama and Susi covered from head to toe in acrylic paints.

Well, end result? Too cold, too windy, and too wet to paint outside. :-( So we had to come up with other activities. I started by fixing french toast for K (only to discover later that he wanted an omelette). For dinner I fixed chicken fajitas for the man who loves 'Mexican' (only to discover that he wanted beef). So he didn't QUITE get what he wanted for his birthday (so I made him an omelette on Sunday).

But the topper was the realization that this was our last weekend before going to Europe, and so we absolutely had to buy and install our rain barrel NOW. End result? K's birthday weekend wound up involving a trip to the Funcouver LANDFILL to buy and stuff a GINORMOUS rain barrel into the back of a too-small toyota. Picture 1/2 of a huge green rain barrel sticking out of the trunk of a toyota cruising up the streets of Funcouver. That was us.

Brought that baby home to discover that our labor was for naught - the barrel was actually TOO BIG to fit on the side of the house. So the next day we rented a co-op car and went bACK to the dump, returned the first rain barrel (our check will be mailed to us in six weeks), and bought a smaller one.

The only really cool thing about all this? We learned that the city's NICEST employees work at the Funcouver landfill. Wow, were these people friendly. Very very impressed.

So we rented the co-op minivan for 3 1/2 hours, spent the first twenty minutes wedging the big-ass barrel back into the car and moving Susi's car seat. Spent another half-hour driving to the dump and executing the exchange. Discovered that we were all of three minutes from the airport, and so we decided that we would use the time to show Susi the AIRPLANES.

Airplanes, Flugzeugs, and/or "Diddahs" (still on occasion) are Susi's absolute favorite form of transportation. Except now when she sees them she yells,

"AIRPLAAAAAANE! AAAALLL the people, up in the SKYYYYYYY!!!!"

This child is fascinated by them. So we went to the airport to the observation room and she spent two hours watching the airplanes go up in the SKYYYYYY. It was pretty darned cute. And good practice for next week when she has to say goodbye to her beloved Bada at the airport, and for the day after that when she gets to be one of AAAALL THE PEEEOPLE getting into an airplane and flying off to Europe to see Oncle, Auntie Hurricane, Blighty, Oma, Opa, friends friends friends, and finally Gramma and Grappa and Uncle and Aunt and Cousin in New York.

We spent a normal afternoon of Mama and Susi napping, K doing some cleaning, and then spent our evening at Home DeeePo collecting stuff to install the dang thing. (not as easy as it looks in the idealized photos they provide with the rain barrel instructions, especially if you've never done anything with gutters before..).

So. That was K's birthday weekend. We are still waiting on the whole T-shirt making process as it is still threatening to rain and freeze us out everytime I start to think, "hey! now would be a good time to paint the shirt and tie!" Oh well. at least it was a good birthday idea this year.

So today is an official Canadian holiday. After a morning at the little park at the bottom of the hill, I am holed up in my office near home (i.e., a coffee shop), listening to 80s music, and pretending to work while updating this blog. Speaking of 80s music, you know that Michael Jackson song,

"Give a hug. To the postman? Don't stop 'till you get it on."

Somehow I just don't think those lyrics are right....Ok, back to work..toodles.

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...a small ripple on the big wave... - 2011-02-04

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