Archive for March, 2011

March 31, 2011


by Decemberbaby

Wanted: A new Haggadah for a family tired of the red-and-yellow Goldberg edition.

Must possess the following qualities:

  • Reads right to left, regardless of the amount of English translation. Haggadot that open left to right need not apply.
  • Mostly uses traditional God-language. None of this “we bless the womb of all life” business. My family and guests will laugh that kind of thing right out of the room.
  • Good (not awkward) English translation.
  • Some new/alternate texts (in English) that may generate interest among a crowd of jaded agnostic Jews.
  • A layout that allows for easy reading of the text (no sidebars), i.e. we could go around the table taking turns, and everyone would know exactly where to start and where to leave off.

Attractive layout, illustrations, and pages that don’t absorb wine stains would be preferred, but not required. Wait, scratch that last one. Wine stains give the haggadah character.

See? I’m not asking much. Just… a haggadah.

March 30, 2011

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – March 30 edition

by Decemberbaby

Gee, it’s Wednesday already? I’d hardly have known, what with the oozing eyes and the coughing and the general ick that has descended on our house. Did any of you guys put a pox on my house? ‘Cause seriously, this pox sucks. Maybe next time just leave a flaming comment, ok?

Time marches on, and fortunately I managed to finish last week’s WIP pretty early in the week. Was I the only productive one? I felt so lonely as the only WIP Wednesday participant… please join me this week. Misery procrastination hates company!

If you do want to participate, leave me a comment with a link to your own blog. In your blog post, try to include the following:

  1. What you want to accomplish this week.
  2. A “before” picture, if possible.
  3. A link back to this post, so people can find other WIP Wednesday projects.

And then next week, you get to post “after” pictures and brag about your productivity!

Completed: Play Mat!

As I mentioned last week, I wanted to put down our pretty playmats, but K was too fond of taking them apart. Paths of polka dots were strewn everywhere. I finally got smart and applied the stereotypical Canadian solution: duct tape!

Here’s a pic of the taped-together edges and seams:

And here’s a pic of the play area now:

The duct tape worked beautifully! The mats aren’t coming apart when we walk on them, or when N squirms a lot. K doesn’t try taking out the dots anymore since they don’t come easily. And my living room now has a soft, pretty place to play that doesn’t clash with the decor.

FYI – if you need duct tape for a decor or craft project, check the big-box craft store for Duck Tape. It comes in a bajillion colours.

Work in Progress: To Maternity and Beyond!

I’m going to out myself now. I’m pregnant. Apparently a history of infertility, poor IVF fertilization rates, and exclusive breastfeeding do NOT combine to form an effective contraceptive strategy. Who knew?

As a result, I need some maternity jeans. Not satisfied with the fit of the jeans from the maternity stores, I converted a pair of Bluenotes with the help of a couple of internet tutorials. The results looked awesome. I wore those jeans so frequently that I wore them out! So here I am with a new pair of fabulous jeans and some t-shirt material, ready to convert another pair of jeans.

No before picture this time, but imagine me in a pair of regular jeans with the zip unzipped and the button being held to the button hole with a hair elastic. Classy, no?


To recap: Duck Tape good. Retail maternity jeans bad. You need to choose a project for this week, post it on your blog, and join WIP Wednesdays!

March 27, 2011

Is it that time already?

by Decemberbaby

Yes, it is. Purim was over a week ago and I only have three weeks before Pesach (Passover). Three WEEKS, people. That’s nothing! InĀ  that time, I’m expected to do the following:

1. Rid the house of all chametz (leavened foods), including the crumbs in the couch, pretzel bits in the board books, and stale bagel pieces hidden among K’s toys. Realistically, this means a really really thorough spring cleaning – even though I KNOW that dirt is not chametz (could someone please tell my mom that, btw?), the reality of toddlers is that there’s probably chametz everywhere. Sigh.

2. Switch over my kitchen, meaning clearing cabinets to make room for the passover dishes, pots, utensils, etc. In our small kitchen, this is a bit tough. Maybe I’ll stick to disposable kitchen stuff this year and save myself some of the headache?

3. Find new haggadot (plural of haggadah) so that our seder is not plagued yet again by awkward translations and dry text. In a related task, I need to figure out how to make our seder not suck. My initial suggestion (“let’s just not invite the people who think this is nothing more than an excuse for a family dinner”) didn’t fly, so I have to somehow accommodate the following attitudes:

  • the traditionalist who feels that if we miss any text, it hasn’t been a real seder. Particular peeves of the traditionalist include skipping the singing of “Dayenu”.
  • the serious guy who feels that “fun” additions like props and toys to illustrate the ten plagues are inappropriate since they make the Egyptians’ suffering amusing, which it’s not supposed to be.
  • the impatient one who really just wants to get past all the reading and eat, already.
  • the bystanders who will pretty much go along with anything, as long as they don’t have to make any effort

One year, my cousin (a rabbi, and a very engaging one at that) was at our seder. He took me aside during the meal and said, “man, this is a tough crowd. I don’t know how you do this every year!” Yep, it’s official. This crowd is a pain in the ass.


There are other things I need to do before Pesach, like making sure we all have nice holiday clothes and, of course, cooking for two nights of four-course dinners for twenty people (helping my mum. I am NOT hosting twenty people in my house). But the above are the big things, the stressy things, and three weeks is just not enough time.

March 25, 2011

I’ve never really liked pink all that much…

by Decemberbaby

K has pinkeye. A really, really bad case of pinkeye.

She was fine when she woke up this morning, and then at lunchtime she came home looking a little tired around the eyes. We sent her to bed. An hour later she was up, eyes weeping sticky yellow tears that started looking disgustingly like snot.

Thankfully, the doctor was willing to fit us in at the last minute and we’ve now got her on two kinds of antibiotics. The doctor said this was the worst case she’s seen in a long time. Amazing how it only came on in a matter of hours.

We were going to my parents’ house tonight, and to a neighbourhood potluck tomorrow. I think we’ll be staying away from both now that K’s highly contagious. I think my left eyeball might even be itchy.

Off to disinfect everything now. Shabbat Shalom.

March 23, 2011

It’s back! Work-in-Progress Wednesday!

by Decemberbaby

The sad thing is that I don’t even know where to start. Do I cull the children’s clothes (again) so that their drawers aren’t overflowing with three sizes of stuff? Finish taping together the foam playmat so that K can’t dismantle it to play with the “polka dots”? Do something about the awful mess that is my kitchen? Or maybe declutter my bedside table again?

I’m not even mentioning the creative stuff I want to do, like sewing a felt omer calendar for K or making some placemats for the dining room so we can stop messing up our nice table. Or, you know, getting things ready for the garden. So much to do, so much procrastination. You can see the bind I’m in.

Are you a procrastinator? Join me, and we’ll get stuff done together! Leave a comment with a link to your own blog, where you’ll post the following:

  1. A description of your work-in-progress, including a “before” picture if possible.
  2. A clearly stated goal (“I will finish organizing and putting away all of the kids’ clothes”, not “I’ll do something about my kids’ messy closet”)
  3. A link back to this post, so that your readers can get inspired by other WIP Wednesday projects.

Next week, we’ll all post our progress and (hopefully) our new goals.

And without further ado, here’s my submission:

In Progress: Living room playmat

Long story short, these playmat pieces have been in storage for at least two years. It’s time to break them out, since N is starting to work on crawling and walking and would probably appreciate a softer landing.

These tiles are pretty, but they don’t stay together as well as your standard puzzle-piece mats. To keep K from dismantling it, I’m going to use duct tape on the underside to secure the seams. Depending on how that affects the traction of the mats on the floor, I might also need to glue some non-skid fabric to the underside so that the mat doesn’t slide.

Here’s a “before” picture. Notice how some of the dots don’t fit in their circles so well, and how the tiles can easily separate from each other. I might have to do some hand-picking of pieces to make sure it looks good. And while we’re on the subject, should I keep the yellow (there’s no yellow elsewhere in the room), or should I stick to the blue-brown-white scheme I already have going?


Your turn now. What are you working on this week?

March 22, 2011

You know you’re mainstream when…

by Decemberbaby

… you get a police RIDE (Report Impaired Drivers Everywhere) checkpoint on Bathurst Street on erev purim.

For those who don’t know, purim is a fabulously fun holiday that includes costumes, delivering treats to family and friends, and a religious obligation for all adults to get seriously drunk. It’s a crazy, carnival-like atmosphere that is awesome as long as you don’t try to operate heavy machinery.

According to my parents’ next-door-neighbour, some of the Toronto rabbis requested that the police set up a RIDE program. It was (apparently) announced in synagogues in order to discourage anyone stupid enough to drive home after imbibing a whole bottle of schnapps.

Hats (or kippot) off to those rabbis, for having the foresight and the guts to arrange this!

March 20, 2011

Penguin costume!

by Decemberbaby

Happy Purim, everyone!

This year, inspired by the movie Happy Feet, K decided she wanted to dress up as a penguin. Here she is:














Want to be a penguin too? You’ll need:

  • a large black t-shirt (Mr. December donated an old shirt for the cause)
  • a second black t-shirt, tank top, or some stretchy black fabric
  • a triangle of yellow felt
  • some elastic (I poached some from an old fitted sheet)
  • a piece of white fabric (felt or fleece works best if you’re not sewing, but I used the aforementioned sheet)

What to do:

  1. Have the child model the t-shirt for you. Place pins or chalk marks to indicate how big the wrist openings should be (at the end of the t-shirt sleeves). Also, use chalk to mark the approximate area that will be the penguin’s white belly.
  2. Turn the t-shirt inside out. Using the marks or pins from earlier as a guide, draw a wing-like shape on the underside of the arm, from the side seam of the shirt to the end of the sleeve. Sew along this line, then cut off the excess fabric. Turn the shirt right-side out.
  3. Draw and cut out a large white oval for the penguin’s belly. Sew or glue it to the front of the t-shirt.
  4. Make a small slit in the bottom hem of the t-shirt. Put a safety pin through the end of the elastic, and feed the elastic into the slit, through the entire bottom hem (i.e. all around the shirt), and out again. Decide how tight you want it to be, pull the elastic to that length, tie a secure knot, and cut off the excess. Now the t-shirt will be gathered around the bottom.
  5. Measure around your kid’s head. Cut a rectangle of stretchy fabric about 2 feet long, with a width a couple of inches smaller than your kid’s head circumference. Sew the long sides together to make a tube.
  6. Take the felt triangle and fold it along the midline. Sew a seam a bit in from the fold. It will keep the beak in shape.
  7. Cut a length of elastic to hold the beak on. Sew the ends to the corners of the beak.

Voila! You’ve got yourself a penguin costume! Wear the t-shirt over a pair of black pants, wear the tube over your head and neck (like a hood or a hijab), and put the beak over your nose.

Oh, and don’t forget to waddle.

March 14, 2011

DST: Daylight Savings Tantrum

by Decemberbaby

Okay, so K was tired to begin with. A trip downtown on the subway followed by an hour in the park will do that to a kid. But whoa, did I not expect the tantrum we had today.

“K, it’s time for dinner. Come to the table, please.”

“But I don’t wanna… we’re not supposed to eat dinner in the DAYTIME! We’re only supposed to eat dinner in the NIGHTTIME!”

“Sweetie, it is nighttime. It’s dinnertime. But the clocks got changed, remember, and the sun is going to stay up later in the evenings now.”


Look, I’ll spare you the seventeen repetitions of this exchange, in slightly different words each time, and each time with a more frantic response from K. Daylight Savings Time is totally lost on her.

It’s going to be a loooong summer.

March 13, 2011

it begins…

by Decemberbaby

Mr. December’s paternity leave, that is. He’s taking five months off work so that he can, in his own words, “spend more time with my possessions”. Yeah, that’s what he told the guys at work. He’s also been really clear on the fact that he doesn’t want to do any extra parenting while he’s off – this is just a government-sanctioned, job-protected way of taking off a huge chunk of time for the first time since he started working 12 years ago.

And I was cool with that, really, because it’s his job and related benefits that enable us to live the way we do, where we do. His salary supports us all so I can get on with the important things in life, like mothering and laundry and napping and blogging. And yet, if he thinks he gets to sleep through the morning getting-out-of-the-house routine, he’s got something else coming.

What I’m looking forward to is being able to work on the important stuff with him at a time of day when I’m mentally fresh. Seriously, he still doesn’t get that discussing our budget or investment options does not work when I’ve already been up and functioning for 12 hours. It’ll be nice to be able to do social things, just the two of us, while K is in school and the babysitter is here with N. It’ll be nice to not have to cram things into our evenings… maybe that will help us get to bed earlier.

And… I don’t know about you, but I work better when there’s someone around. You know, someone who would know if I was just sitting at my computer all day surfing blogs and eating bonbons. (On a side note, what exactly are bon bons, and where do I get them?) Anyhow, I’m more likely to be productive with Mr. December at home… so stay tuned for some great projects.

March 10, 2011

Take public opinion polls with a grain of salt.

by Decemberbaby


DB: Hello?

Lady: Hello, am I speaking with Decemberbaby?

DB: Uh, yes.

Lady: I’m calling on behalf of [insert some polling company’s name here] and we’d like to ask whether you would consider voting for the federal Conservative party in the next election?

DB: When is the next election?

Lady: Well, none has been called yet, but we-

DB: Don’t you think this question is a bit premature, then?

Lady: Ma’am, it’s just a public opinion poll.

DB: Oh, fine. Could you please repeat the question?

Lady: Would you consider voting for the Conservative party in the next federal election?

DB: Would I consider it? If I was a halfway informed voter I’d have to at least consider each party before making a decision, wouldn’t I? So, yeah, if you’re sure you want to word the question that way… I suppose the answer is yes, I’d consider it.

Lady: Thank you. And what issues would you like to see prime minister Harper work on during his time in office?

DB (now very tired, giggly, and slightly irritated): Listen, unless he’s putting together a social program to teach my kid to use the potty, I really don’t care what he does.

Lady: Oh, I’ve been there, dearie. You just have yourself a good night.