Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{January 22, 2009}   Welcome To The World, Teddy!

Congratulations are in order for Sarah, the Resident Historian and Chief Political Correspondent here on Not To Be Trusted With Knives, and her husband, Dave, who welcomed their son, Teddy, to the world on Jan 20!

I’ve seen a few pictures and have to say that he’s pretty damn cute.  Also, he looks just like me when I was born1 . Which totally makes biological sense. I mean, I’m his Aunt Beth2, after all.

On the left, Teddy, in a photo I stole off Dave’s blog. On the right, me, a mere 32 years, 11 days ago.
1Yes, I realize the arrogance of that statement. I have a category of rampant narcissism for a reason, you know!
2where “Aunt” = honorary aunt as we are in no way genetically related.

{December 20, 2008}   My Granny

This morning, my Granny died.  She’d not been well for some time (having heart disease (including some heart attacks in recent years), suffering from type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and debilitating osteoporosis), yet I still didn’t expect when my dad called this morning that he was calling to tell me that his mom was gone.  The last few times I’d been there to visit, she’d told me that she’d had a good long life and that she was tired and was ready to go when “the good Lord was ready” to take her.  I would always tell her that we liked having her around and that we’d really miss her when she was gone.  And even though we knew it was coming, it’s still hard to believe now that it’s happened.

My family thought about not telling me right away, since I’m leaving on Mondayfor a week in Mexico and they didn’t want to ruin my trip.  But they quickly realized that they had to tell me. I mean, what if one of my cousins mentioned it on Facebook (which, of course, one of them did. And why wouldn’t they?) and I saw it there.  My dad told me that even though the funeral will be next week, I should still got to Mexico rather than canceling my trip and heading to Ontario for the funeral.  “You can’t get your money back, right? Granny was always so careful with money and she’d be really upset with you if you wasted money! Grampa said to tell you that he knows you are with him and that he’s surrounded by family and that you should go to Mexico.”  After talking to my dad, I talked to my mom for a bit and she told me about the dress they’d picked out for Granny to wear.  I asked to make sure they’d picked nice shoes because Granny, like me, loved shoes, especially high heeled ones. My mom said they had thought of that and chosen a nice pair, with heels, that go with her dress.

I’m sure that over the next few days this will become more real to me.  It’s hard to believe that she’s gone.  I’m very glad that I have a lot of happy memories of my Granny –  for some reason, the first one that comes to mind is how she used to put orange juice in the blender to make it frothy for me and my cousins.  I remember how she pulled me aside the first time I saw her after I told my whole family that I was getting divorced and she told me how sorry she was about my marriage breaking up and how she was proud of me for doing what was right for me and that she knew I was strong and that she wanted me to be happy.  I remember how she complimented my platform sandals that I bought on eBay, saying they were the type of shoes she would have worn in her youth.

Last year, when I was in Ontario for Christmas, my dad’s whole family got together to take a big family photo and my Granny was really happy to have the whole family there in one room.  Here’s the photo (which is already out of date as we had two new babies in the family this year):

My Granny is survived by Des, her loving husband of 65 years; five of her six children (predeceased by her beloved son, Bob); her nine grandchildren; her twelve great grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.  I’m proud to share my Granny’s name.  I love you, Granny.

“It’s as clean as a button”1.

“She’s so tired that her head could pop off!”

“Mommy says a lot of bad words.”  To which my dad asked, “Does Aunt Beth say bad words?” To which my niece replied, “No. Only your other daughter.”

And my personal favourite was this conversation that we had while she was painting and I was uploading pictures to Flickr:

“Lugubrious,” she said, pretty much out of nowhere.

“What’s that mean?” I said, thinking that it was a word she’d made up, sort of like the name Sposheila2.

She looked at me very seriously: “Lugubrious3 means miserable. My teacher taught me that.”

1Apparently she likes to attempt similies, but doesn’t always get them quite right. My sister tells me that one day she walked into the living room, which had just been cleaned and said, “This living room is as clean as a horse in a living room!”
2Her toys are often named Sposheila. Or Sholo.
3Pretty much everyone I’ve told this story too has said, “Lugubrious is not a word.” But it is. I looked it up.
2I love that “miserable” is the word she uses to dumb down the other word to explain it to people. Because “miserable” is a pretty big word in itself. Especially when she could just say “sad.”

{November 23, 2008}   Pig Party!

Today was the day of my niece’s pig-themed birthday party!


The menu included “pig slop” (a.ka. soup) and pigaroni and cheese.


with a pig-in-the-mud cake for dessert:


The birthday girl blowing out her candles!


And gets to enjoy the pig cupcake!


Happy birthday, little piglet!


{November 21, 2008}   My niece can spell IKEA

Is that normal for a 4-year-old?

{October 17, 2008}   Oink!

Plane tickets have recently turned mega-cheap, so my sister booked a flight for me to go to T.O. for my niece’s birthday weekend in November.  Madeline is turning 4 when, apparently, she is going to be a big girl.  And have a pig-themed party.  So excited!

My niece asked my sister that the other day.  “Mommy, did you know that mosquitoes drink blood?”

“Yes, I did know that,” my sister replied.

“Well, you know what I think?” Madeline said. “I think that they think they are drinking tomato juice.”

My sister and my neice, off on a canoe ride. Photo copyright 2008 Jeff Kramp. All rights reserved.

My sister and my niece, off on a canoe ride. Photo copyright 2008 Jeff Kramp. All rights reserved.

My sister and her bf took my niece on a camping trip last week.  On the way, they were drilling her to remember her name, Nancy’s & Jeff’s names, and their campsite number, in case she got lost.  My niece loves rules and memorizing stuff, so I can imagine that this is something she’d consider to be a good time.  Upon arriving, there were more rules: what to do if you see a bear!  So then they taught her what to do if they saw a bear: stay calm, back away slowly, don’t turn and run, tell the bear “Don’t eat me! I don’t taste very good!”

Later on at the campsite, my sister says, “Pop Quiz, Madeline! What will you do if you see a bear?”

Madeline’s response, “I will tell him that my name is Madeline Zammit and my campsite number is 462.”

And I already miss her to pieces!

I meant to mention this yesterday, but totally forgot what with the sleepiness and all: I didn’t forget to write about the next Prime Minister in my Sunday series on Prime Ministers. Rather, I chose to take the quasi-long weekend holiday off from the series. Sure, Canada Day is Tuesday (tomorrow), so it’s not a real holiday weekend, but I’m pretty sure no one actually went to work today because who wants to work on Monday when Tuesday is a holiday? And the next Prime Minister in my series is Brian Mulroney and I just couldn’t bear to write about him on Canada Day weekend.

In completely unrelated news, a squirrel fell out of a giant tree in my sister’s backyard today. They have this mullberry tree that is constantly dropping berries, so we are used to hearing (or getting hit by) falling berries when we are out there, but something massive (massive relative to the size of a mullberry anyway) fell with a giant thud. And for some reason, my initial reaction was “oh my god, a coconut just fell out of that tree!” Because apparently I think I’m in Hawaii. But the squirrel got up and scurried away; coconuts, not so much with the scurrying.

And, in even more unrelated news, Almost Dr. Dan came up from Guelph to join us for dinner and we went to this vegetarian Indian buffet and I ate so much that I think I’m going to barf. So. Freaking. Good.

So, in conclusion, the Prime Ministerial series will resume next Sunday with an entry on Brian Mulroney; I ate so much Indian food I want to barf; and hallelujah it’s raining squirrels!

{June 29, 2008}   I am sleepy

Now, I like to run, but I’m not used to running *everywhere*. And when you hang out with a three-year-old, it’s all about the running. And the jumping. And spinning spinning spinning. And if the three-year-old is running, you best believe that you are running too. If the three-year-old is jumping, then so too shall you jump. And if the three-year-old wants to spin… well, you will be spinning until you fall down. Or maybe it’s just me and I’m a complete sucker and will do anything a three-year-old tells me. Including – if you can believe this – looking at a spider. A SPIDER! “Hey Aunt Beth, come look at this spider!” And I did!

But who can blame me? I mean, look at how cute this kid is:

And now I will go to bed. Because I’m sure I will have a full day of running, jumping, and spinning in circles ahead of me tomorrow.

{June 27, 2008}   Blogger’s Block

Conversation earlier tonight:

My sister:  I’m tired.

Me:            Me too.  But I need to blog something.

My sister:  What are you going to blog about?

Me:            I don’t know.

My sister:  You could blog about how awesome our backyard is.
               Or how about the delicious Thai dinner we had tonight.
               What are you going to blog about?
               You could blog about how you don’t like veggie food items that pretend to be meat.
               Hey, how about how peaceful our backyard is?

I can’t blog under this kind of pressure!

Oh wait, but I do have to tell you about my niece, who I may not have mentioned is the coolest kid ever.  Last night I went out for dinner with my friend Jen in the Po Cred and by the time I got back to my sister’s place, everyone was already asleep.  Including my niece, who was asleep in my bed.  Apparently she had declared “I’m sleeping in Aunt Beth’s bed tonight” and, because it’s too hot to wear pajamas, “I just want to sleep with my body on.” She cracks me up.

I woke up in the morning and she was staring right at me, about an inch from my face.  “Good morning Aunt Beth!  I slept in your bed!”  Too. Freaking. Cute!

{June 26, 2008}   A Blog Post in Pictures

Had a burning desire to write a blog post on the plane on my way to Toronto, but there were no electrical outlets in which to plug my laptop. And my laptop battery sucks. Hence, I give you this:

Props to my sister’s bf, Jeff, for (a) lending me his camera to take those pictures and (b) fixing my damn computer and it’s messed up DNS so that I could actually get on to the internets to post this.

Now I will get back to my regularly scheduled lounging in the backyard.

No, I don’t have plans to cut my hair. Nor to stop being a girl. That’s a quotation from my wee niece. My sister asked her if she wanted to get her hair cut and Madeline said, “No, I want to have long hair like you, Mommy.” And when my sister said, “Well, I’m thinking of cutting my hair,” M paused and said, “If I cut my hair, will I still be a girl?” I swear, I used to think stories about kids saying stuff like that were made up.

Only 11 more days ’til I get to go see my niece!  Decided it was time for an impromptu trip to see the fam and work on a top secret project with my sis.  Other plans including seeing some friends, seeing the parental units and having as many dinners as possible in the park.

{December 22, 2007}   Peanuts

So, it appears that my blog will now be an aunty blog1, at least until I head to Ottawa on the 26th. I can’t help it though – my niece is just so damn cute! I’ll try to throw in the occasional cougar reference, lustful thoughts about the Canucks or snarky comment about David Emerson that “Not to Be Trusted with Knives” readers have come to expect2, so as not to lose my readership completely as I oooh and ahhh over my niece’s brilliance.

IMG_3087Today, we baked cookies. In our pyjamas3. These are to be the “best cookies that I ate in the whole world.” I think the secret is that my niece was rolling the dough “back and forest.” Right now the cookies are cooling and my niece is napping, hence the opportunity to do the blogging, although I should be cleaning up the kitchen, which is a right disaster. There was also a pre-baking song and dance – the song went something like “I can do it all by myself! But sometimes it’s OK to ask your parents for help if you need help because sometimes you are too tiny and you can’t do it but it’s OK because you can ask for help to get some milk and you can feed your pets if you have pets at home I have two IMG_3082cats at my home and they are named Pakita and Monkey and I can feed them but sometimes it’s OK to ask for help from your parents.” And the song must be sung while shaking maracas, must be sung completely out of tune and must continue on until Aunt Beth nearly collapses from exhaustion with all the dancing around the kitchen. I have no idea where the hell kids get that kind of energy!

But the really funny thing she said4, I wasn’t actually there to hear. She went up to my sister last night and said, “Girls have vaginas. Boys have peanuts.”

1Not unlike “mommy” bloggers, just with less responsibility.
2I’m on vacation so, much to the disappointment of my email subscribing friend, I won’t be talking about thigh highs.
3My pyjamas are hospital scrubs. They are very comfy.
4Are you totally sick of this yet? Is anyone still reading?

et cetera