Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tea...For Just One

Lately I have been freezing. The boys are peeling off clothing until they're sitting there in their underwear while I throw on layer after layer and huddle under multiple blankets. They're opening their windows and I'm sleeping with socks on.

A few weeks ago, I was out for dinner with a very thoughtful friend and she ordered tea so I could wrap my hands around a warm cup. I have always disliked warm beverages (except occasionally hot chocolate but only if there's Bailey's in it). But I tried a sip of tea and it wasn't as horrible as every other tea I had ever tried so I thought perhaps there might possibly be a tea out there that I could enjoy.

Yesterday I went to a local tea place and told the girl behind the counter what I was looking for. I said: "I'm looking for a tea with a woody flavour, like how you think a tree might taste, but not a pine tree cause that's gross." And I said: "You know how when you're eating a bag of sunflower seeds and there's always that one seed that tastes different than the rest but it's really, really yummy? I want it to taste like that." She just looked confused and scared.

After pulling about 20 canisters down off the wall of tea, I managed to pick four that smelled good. And I tried them all last night and this morning. I'm pretty serious about finding a tea. Every couple of years, I think I should try it. I'll think that raspberry tea should be good because it has raspberries in it. Then I'll realize, as I'm discreetly spitting it back into the cup, that raspberry tea in no way resembles raspberries.

These are the four I tried yesterday:

1. Fantasy Island - a black tea with coconut and raspberries. It wasn't awful but not exactly the flavour I'm looking for.

2. Glitter & Gold - Chinese black tea, sugar crystals, gold sugar balls (so it looks cool), vanilla, orange peel, and cloves. Again, not horrible, but I'm thinking the black tea part is the part I'm not responding too. Cause how do you dislike a tea that has little gold balls in it?

3. Checkmate - It's a white tea. But it also is a black tea. And it has coconut and Roman chamomile (I have no idea what that means). It's ok, but still...say it with me...not the flavour I'm looking for.

4. Movie Night - I wanted to love this one. It's a green tea with apple and popcorn. Popcorn in the tea leaves! I'm drinking it right now actually. And I've had about half a cup which is more than any of the others I tried. But it's still not perfect.

I told my mom about my search for tea and she sent over three other kinds to try. And I'm going to another friend's house this morning and she's got an assortment she thinks I should try. How much tea is too much to drink in one day? Is more than eight sips too many?

Anyway, let me know if you have any suggestions.



Friday, February 15, 2013

3-2-1 Dodgeball!

It has now been four weeks since I stated playing dodgeball. The first week was nice. I'm glad we started with that team because the two teams we played after them would have certainly convinced me never to go back if that's what it would be like. I'm quite certain that both these teams were made up entirely of professional pitchers looking for something to do in the off season. I came home both weeks with bruises and possible internal injuries; I could not feel my liver or my spleen.

I've realized in the last few weeks why I've never been an "athlete." It's not because I don't enjoy the activity, because I really like breaking a sweat and the sense of camaraderie I have with my teammates. What I don't like is the idea that I could get hurt. I was watching the boys play basketball last weekend and Twin A jammed three fingers on the ball. His hand swelled up to twice its size and I thought "how is that fun?" Or how in football the whole point is to run into each other as hard as you can. Or how in lacrosse, a good portion on the game is people hitting you with a stick. Seriously, how is that fun?

My strategy for playing dodgeball, for the most part, is to stand in the back jumping around with my hands up to make it look like I'm ready for anything. But really I'm hiding behind my teammates. Occasionally, if it seems safe, I'll pick up a ball and throw it. The problem being that I'm not very good at throwing and the balls leaving my hand tend to travel in slow motion. Giving players on the other team plenty of time to throw they ball they have, plot my ball's trajectory, stand under it, and wait for it to fall in their hands, causing me to be out.

My non-aggressive strategy means that sometimes I'm the last person left on my team. Sometimes I run out of people to shield me and there are blood-thirsty people on the other team pitching projectiles at me all over the place. Which leads me to the game we played last Wednesday.

This team was so much nicer than the last two we played. Their aim was sometimes a little off as it's not ok to take head shots, but for the most part, the balls they threw weren't causing any discoloration of my skin and the level of intensity wasn't so extremely high. Every game has to be played in a maximum of five minutes. We'd never actually taken that long to play a game before but it happened a couple of time in this last match. And one of those times, I was the only person left on my side, the last other person getting out at four minutes and twenty seconds. All I had to do was last forty seconds and the game would go into sudden death (which means the rest of my team comes back on and I can go back to jumping around in the background).

By thirty seconds, both of their players have taken a shot at me and my lack of wanting to get hurt makes me a pretty good dodger, so I'm still in. I can hear my team chattering in the background and as I lean down to pick up a ball, I hear someone say: "Just dodge; you don't need to get them out."

But now there's a huge problem. (29,28,27) Because I now have a ball in my hand and the rules say I have to get rid of it within ten seconds. And I can't just drop it, it has to go over the centre line. (26,25,24) But we all know if I throw it, they'll catch it so the idea is to throw it as low as possible but not actually at someone. (23,22,21).

So I throw it! And, in slow motion, cause that's how I throw, (20,19,18) it lands six inches short of the centre line. With 15 seconds left until sudden death, I have just lost the game.

What was nice was that all five of my teammates was sure to high five me and giggle as they walked by me to set themselves up for the next game. And in that next game, the one time I picked up a ball to throw it, the whole gym erupted in cheers when I got it over the centre line. So supportive and sweet. You know they are thrilled to have me as part of their team.


Monday, February 4, 2013


They were born on a Sunday. That means all kinds of good things according to that old poem. "A child that's born on the Sabbath day is fair and wise and good and gay." Their due date was a Tuesday though: "Tuesday's child is full of grace." Either way, they were bound to be pretty cool.

Some other stuff that happened 16 years ago:
  • Princess Diana and Mother Theresa died.
  • Michael Jackson's first son was born.
  • England gave Hong Kong back to China.
  • Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield's ear off.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published.

This was the first time in a long time we were in town for their birthday. I usually pull them out of school and go somewhere. But, we just came home from Mexico and their birthday was on a Saturday. So we stayed in town and they didn't go to school.

The day started with an 830am basketball game.

Then we went for breakfast with another player and his family.

Then we came home and rested until some friends showed up.

I took 7 teenagers, 3 adults, a toddler, and a baby out for dinner. It was awesome. There was live entertainment. And the boys had fun.

Then all the teenagers came to my house. And I don't know if I've ever told you guys how much I love my sons' friends. Seven 15- and 16-year-old boys are known to cause problems: to sneak alcohol in, to break things, to just be all around troublemakers.

Three teenagers are upstairs hanging out while the other four are in the basement talking about music.
One of the upstairs kids: Let's draw pictures and colour them. Do you have any crayons? What should we draw?

Later on: Let's get the downstairs kids to judge them. We won't tell them who drew which one.

The other kids judge them. And they deliberated. They locked themselves in the bathroom and we could hear shouting and arguing. I won! 

But only because of this little guy in the moat:

When obviously the winner should have been:

But the judges didn't like how the dragon was sleeping on a cloud. Crazy judges.

And then we switched where the downstairs group drew and coloured their own pictures and the rest of us voted on them. I, sadly, did not get a picture of these ones. But the winner drew a crocodile in his too.

And then the boys all disappeared into the basement and I didn't see them again until morning.

 The table didn't look like this for long.

Happy birthday Twin A and Twin B. Thanks for being so fair and wise and good and gay and also full of grace. Mama loves you.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Suburban Mouse Goes to Mexico

This was the lobby of my resort.

I swam with dolphins. I wasn't sure about doing that, but if you know me at all, you know that I'm all about showing my kids how to be brave and trying new things. So, I swam with the dolphins. It wasn't horrible. The dolphins were nice people and I think we got along well. I did that thing where they push on my feet and I fly through the water. And I learned how hard dolphins' noses are, cause my feet hurt after that. I got a cramp in my foot as I was swimming back to where my people were, so I was hanging on to my foot, which made it somewhat hard to swim with just the one foot and one arm. Luckily, I've had some training in funny swims. I had a friend with a pool when I was young and we made up a lot of different ways to get across a pool. My favourite was the monster swim where we'd hold hands. It was kind of like a three-legged race only with arms and in water.

I watched my little cousin get married. It was a beautiful wedding. It would have been beautiful even if the bride was ugly (she's not) or the groom had two heads (he doesn't) because they got married on the beach and that is a beautiful background. Except there was this large, weird, shirtless man wandering around the beach taking pictures of the wedding. So that was a little creepy.

I went on a catamaran and swam with the fishes. That last sentence might sound a little mobster-ish but I really did swim with fish; I wasn't dead or anything. The catamaran trip was about three hours total but at least half of that was spent snorkelling in different locations.

I exercised. My favourite cousin has a new goal where she's decided that she'd like to run a marathon on every continent. She is currently training to run the China Wall. So I woke up at 6am and went for a run or worked out in the gym a few times. For some reason, I enjoy running on holidays a lot more than I enjoy running at home. Twin A told me the other day that the difference in weather between here and there was 72 degrees (Celsius). Perhaps that's why I'd rather run there.

Anyway, those are the highlights. I also spent a lot of time by the pool drinking fun alcoholic concoctions and visiting with family members that I don't see often. And, when I was tired of people, I did this: