Spring has sprung!

Happy Wednesday, Bunnies!
Spring is off to a crazy start here in the rabbit warren! As if the Easter preparations aren’t busy enough when you’re a Mama Bunny, we’ve had all sorts of other things going on to keep us hopping!

We celebrated a junior bunny birthday in March and as always, the big thing for the little bunnies is choosing the theme for the birthday cake. You just never know what requests you are going to get when the little bunnies make cake requests, and this time was a really fun challenge: little bunny jr. wanted a Plants Vs. Zombies cake! If you are familiar with the zombie-slaying mayhem of PvZ, you know that there are some great characters and a lot of potential for a really fun cake! So I sketched up some ideas and then off I bounced to St. Lawrence Market and my favourite kitchen store, Placewares!
http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/vendors/vendor_detail/89
Really?….Any excuse ;).
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A pound of fondant icing later and we were good to go! I was pretty thrilled at the results! I’m relatively new to the fondant, and this was a great chance to improve my skills. In the end, the effort was totally worth it and bunny junior was thrilled. I loved the zombies in particular, but was really happy with all of it! For a party, we met up with some of his bunny pals for a screening of the new Muppet Movie; Muppets Most Wanted. It was a fun film and I’ll get a review written up soon!

A couple of days after the birthday bunny-palooza, it was gum surgery time for Mama Bunny. Ugh. I have the unfortunate habit of grinding my teeth (or maybe it’s all the carrots!)and it has led to some gum recession which needed to be dealt with. The solution is called a Connective Tissue Gum Graft. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gingival_graft Luckily, my Periodontist is awesome, but it’s a really gross bit of surgery and I was, quite frankly, dreading it. I’d had it done on one side a couple of years ago and now it was time for the other side. So April 1st, in I went. Huh…April Fool’s indeed. It took about an hour to complete the procedure and then a couple of days of no talking, which confused the little bunnies no end! There was about ten days of no smiling and two weeks of soft food. It was pretty uncomfortable for those first few days but overall, the recovery was pretty smooth. The hardest part, once everything is healing nicely, is that you aren’t allowed to look at the surgery site. Augh! How can a curious bunny resist? Well I made it to about day ten before I peeked a little…it was all white and I was a little bit freaked out that the whole kit and caboodle had failed….the next few days were really, reeeeeeaaaaaaallllllyyyy…long.
On the 14th April, I went back for the big reveal and I waited with bated breath for the verdict…..and it was all good-YAY! Phew. Thankfully, it’s the last time I’ll need to have it done, or so they tell me….

While I was laying low for a few days, I finished another very large and very fun knitting project from the wonderful book “Huge and Huggable Mochimochi” by Anna Hrachovec. http://www.amazon.ca/Huge-Huggable-Mochimochi-Supersized-Patterns-ebook/dp/B00CVS2KNE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398901863&sr=8-1&keywords=Huge+and+huggable+mochimochi
Here is Sleepbot 3000!
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He is great for a cuddle and we keep the tv remotes in his pocket. It’s a big responsibility, but he’s up to the challenge!

We had more dental thrills in April when little Bunny’s big brother got his braces put on. Poor bunny 😦
Happily, the whole process was pretty painless and thankfully braces have come a long way since this bunny was a teenager.
Then he found out he needed glasses! He was actually quite excited about getting the glasses and luckily for him, having parents who suffered through GHASTLY glasses as little bunnies, we made sure that he got really cool glasses. He had a moment where he looked at me sadly and said “Mummy, am I a big geek now?” Before I could reassure him, one of his friends turned to him and said “Nah, man it’s cool to be a geek! If you’re a geek, it means you’re really smart and that’s awesome!” Yay for friends who can buoy you up like that! Nice one!

So spring rolls on, bunnies. My garden is coming up and the wild restructuring I did last fall seems to be coming in well. I’ll post some photos when it all comes up a bit more. Crocuses are gorgeous and we’re having lots of rain for the flowers and baby plants. The little bunnies are busy taking swimming, dance, doing some school concerts and generally getting into the spring of things after a long, dark, cold winter. More on dancing, planting and movies to come. I’m trying out some neat things with mindfulness with Headspace http://www.headspace.com and I’ll go into that more next time, too.
In the meantime, keep bouncing bunnies!
Happy Spring!

The mystery of memory.

Watching my boys grow up, I often think about what are the best memories from my own childhood. I find it fascinating how often my favourite memories are generally, not of an event, but rather of a particular smell or sound or feeling. Almost universally, it is moments of stillness that are my favourites. The sound of a wood dove on an otherwise quiet sunny afternoon, the stillness only interrupted by that soothing but also sad sound. Sitting in a quiet and empty classroom, with the sweet smell of burning as the school groundskeepers burned piles of leaves. Or what is perhaps my earliest memory, the sound of a jet passing high overhead as I sat in the back garden on a blanket. In that memory, there is the sound of the plane, the smell of the grass and the heat on the ground and even the feeling of peace. To this day, when it hear that sound, all of the other sensations associated with it from the one childhood event, come flooding back as if I am there again. Sitting on a blanket in the garden in the sunshine. I was three.

Some of my best memories are of songs: the happiness of being in the car, singing along with Ray Charles to “Hit the Road, Jack” or hearing my mother play Joni Mitchell’s “Clouds” on the stereo or the pieces that she would play on the piano after I had gone to bed. But these aren’t memories of specific events, they are memories of feelings, invoked by the song or what was happening when I heard them, the events themselves now faded from my memory. Universally, they are all the moments that brought joy or comfort. Hearing them now, regardless of what is going on around me, puts me right back in the emotion of the moment.

For me, other triggers for memory are objects. My mother always attached significance to things as anchors for memory. The things that she most valued were not always worth much, or anything at all, but she treasured them for what they represented, what they still held, echoes of the past. Not memories of specific events, but memory of how you felt at a certain time when that object was significant. I suppose I learned to do the same without even realizing it. One such object was a picture book that I had as a child. Lost in a myriad of moves from house to house and country to country, I couldn’t remember the title or the author, only the way it looked. It haunted me quietly, not all the time of course, but every now and again.
I had searched on and off for years, especially after my children were born, through picture books, looking for artists whose style was the same, trying to trigger any memory beyond that of the joy of the book itself.

Last night, I found it. Or perhaps it found me, as I casually browsed the shelves of a bookstore that specializes in publishers off-prints; those books that no one wants anymore. As I browsed the spines of vintage children’s books, not looking for anything in particular, there it was and all of a sudden all the memories came back: name, title, story, everything. The joy of that discovery was so intense, it was like reclaiming my childhood in that one lovely book.

There are so many types of memory. Short-term, for the day-to day things: which child has swimming lessons tomorrow, what do I need to buy at the grocery store. Deep seated memories: the sights, sounds, smells, feelings of childhood.
Apparently there is even evidence of inherited memory. But what happens when you have memories that you don’t want?

Looking at memory now, as I am prone to do, watching my boys grow up thinking of my own childhood and thinking of my mother who is no longer with us, I realize that my memory is rather like the Winchester Mystery house. I have managed to compartmentalize my mind to such an extent that many bad memories are virtually inaccessible. Locked away to such a degree that I can’t access them without a lot of effort. It is like the mind protects itself from the pain of bad memories by putting them away. Because if you looked at them often, you’d go mad.

When my mother became ill and eventually died, I compartmentalized everything. Emotion had to be kept locked down tight so as to allow my mind to cope with caring for my mother and then dealing with the aftermath of her death. People would, at the time, look at me strangely and ask why I wasn’t upset. Everything had to be tightly compartmentalized so that I could cope. But now, I find that there are leaks. Like cracks in a dam. Suddenly, with no apparent trigger, it’s like a door in my mind opens and ‘Surprise!’ there is an image: still or short scenes on continuous loop. It is rather like being sucker punched. And sadly, the images are never pleasant: my mother in her wheelchair, looking at me with horror at what she knew was happening to her, struggling to speak or eat. And always with these images comes the emotion that is associated with that moment. Every single thing that I felt at that moment. It is like being haunted, the images ghosts of what my mind had to put away. I often think of it like the brain bleeding memory. Perhaps it’s like a pressure valve, releasing images a bit at a time, so my mind can deal with them one at a time. Eventually, I imagine, my brain will be able to take out the box filled with these memories and open the lid and take them out and look at them without reliving them, perhaps learning to live with them.
In the meantime, I will cherish all of my memories, be they feelings, snapshots, constantly looping scenes or full events; be they funny or heartbreakingly sad, because in the end, all of those compartments are a precious and unique repository of life.

Getting Reamed Out.

Hey there Bunnies,20140311-002449.jpg
Well, I gotta tell you, it’s been a long, grim winter and I’ve been craving all things citrus for a few days now. Perhaps it’s an instinctive attempt to ward off scurvy after so little fresh, local produce. Okay, okay, a tad dramatic perhaps….we make good use of frozen and greenhouse-grown local fruit and veg 🙂 but still….
So here’s a kitchen gadget review from The Blue Bunny Blog.
This baby is a reamer. Sounds like something from a B-movie, doesn’t it? Dum-dum-dummmmmmmmm…it’s….THE REAMER….yeah. Dramatic.

Well, I used to struggle with a regular orange juicing gizmo for limes and if you’ve tried that you know it’s a pain in the…fingers…plus there’s juice going all over and I never feel as though I get much juice out. Not so anymore.
The reamer rocks. Spear and twist in your half a lime and let the lime juice flow! I use lime juice in coconut bread, banana bread, cookies and drinks.
I got this reamer at http://www.leevalley.com, but most kitchen stores will stock them.
Okay let’s be perfectly honest here bunnies. As I said, it’s been a long winter and most of my lime juice has lately been enjoyed in the form of a Kentucky Mule (thank you East Bay Gourmand)

http://eastbaygourmand.tumblr.com/post/43477970584/bulleit-bourbon-kentucky-mule

Drink responsibly, bunnies. A drunken bunny may seem funny, but lopsided hopping is no fun and our heads do not need to be any fuzzier. And I won’t even go into where baby bunnies come from.
‘Till next time, keep hopping on the sunny side of the street. Spring is coming!

Every thing really is awesome…or is it?!

Good Sunday morning to you Bunnies!
It’s been a super busy week, with lots of little bunny activities. The littlest bunny passed his swimming course and started a new class in creative movement at a local dance school. Good stuff all round. His big brother has finally found a genre of books he likes to read so he keeps disappearing into his room to read which makes Mama Bunny do the dance of joy! He’s always been a good reader, but not keen on reading books. Now he is finally enjoying reading and it’s lovely knowing how wonderful it will be for him to have all those book worlds to visit!! He contrasts the quiet reading with bouts of recorder practice that drive us all a little batty, but he’s practising and getting better so we can’t complain.

So I’d mentioned that we recently took the little bunnies to see The Lego Movie. I can say without hesitation that we loved every minute of it. From the opening credits, to the incredibly catchy (yes, almost to the point of annoyance) song “Everything is Awesome!”, to the brilliant live action with Dad and son and the tube of crazy glue. The animation completely embraced the limitations of Lego brick physics (perfectly illustrated by the hero, Emmet’s jumping jacks), giving the film the feeling that it was made with a keen insight into a Lego-playing child’s imagination. The dialog was brilliant, Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson were laugh-out-loud perfect as Vitruvius and GoodCop/BadCop. In fact, I couldn’t find a single piece of casting I’d have done differently.
What fascinated me the most though, was the message; but before we go there, let me digress a little.

Lego has been part of this Bunny’s life since birth. The first complete set I can remember was my big brother’s Moon Landing set. 

565First issued in the U.S. In 1975, to me it was untouchable. Literally. Sitting on my brother’s chest of drawers, I was not allowed to play with it. Detachable lunar escape module, rover, pre-mini figure astronauts with brick-based helmets that could be removed and replaced with large yellow heads. It was hallowed in the way that older siblings toys often were. But it was also a set. Made according to instructions and not to be changed in any way. It was to be played with exactly as intended. And not by me!
I grew up with a healthy respect for Lego sets. Mixed brick sets were for using your imagination to go anywhere. Sets were for playing pretend. Sets were not to be modified.
Fast forward a ‘few’ years and here I am with my eldest little bunny, now three, and his first non-duplo lego set: a little ambulance. We built it together and played with it, putting the little minifigure ambulance attendants and their stretcher in the back and driving it around. It wasn’t long though before he wanted to take it apart. Whaaaaaaatttt? No way, José. It’s a SET! I protected that little ambulance, telling my little guy that he could make other things with his mixed brick set, but he couldn’t take apart his ambulance! Over the next few years, many more sets arrived in the bunny home and eventually another little bunny boy arrived as well and through it all, sets were still preserved like holy objects.
Then one day I sat watching my older son take apart one of his ‘set’ vehicles. Ileaned in to stop him, when I realized what he was actually doing. “Look, Mummy! It’s a moose!” And so it was. He had removed key pieces from his set, to build a tiny and beautifully abstract moose. It was then I realized that he and I had silently been waging a tiny war between one kind of imagination and another: pretend play and creating. It was like an epiphany. What was the true spirit of Lego? I couldn’t help but think that it was giving your imagination free reign. Follow the instructions and then let your imagination fly, modifying to make your own creations,
That little moose changed things a bit. From that point on, sets were not protected as they had been and we were treated to all sorts of wonderful modifications: tiny laptop, vacuum, phone, TV characters, bands and a smorgasbord of fabulous vehicles, buildings and weapons.

The band Train, immortalized in Lego!

The band Train, immortalized in Lego!

Laptop, vacuum and phone!

Laptop, vacuum and phone!

The imagination was truly king again, and as hard as it was for me to let go of the “Type-A” beautiful organization of all those lovely sets, I had realized that I was holding back true imagination.
Then came the day I sat in a darkened theatre on a winters afternoon and watched as that same battle played out on the screen in front of me. It was as if Lego was pointing out its own biggest misstep. Fabulous sets including movie and pop culture tie ins were great for business, but did they reflect the spirit of the “Master Builder”? While superglueing sets together was tantamount to a criminal offence in our house, there was a time when we were as bad as Lord Business, acting as ‘set cops’, policing the policy of the complete and unchanged set.  It was absolutely fascinating to me that The Lego Movie was basically telling children old and young to think outside the box when the box is what is keeping their business alive.  Perhaps what they are actually advocating is what this bunny realised when I saw that little moose:  it’s okay to follow the instructions, as long as you are also free to go beyond them.  So cap the ‘kragle’, and take a deep cleansing breath as those lovely sets that you may have spent days helping your bunny to build (painstakingly following instructions as you went), are “reassigned” into the realms of the imagination!

I’m happy to say that the spirit of the master builder is alive and well in this bunny burrow, evidenced by the minefield of Lego all over the living room floor!

Olympic Hangover!

Hello again, Bunnies! And a special hello to all of you who have started following The Blue Bunny Blog!

Well, groggy and bleary eyed, we greeted the dawn (okay, okay, not quite dawn!) with coffee and o.j. in hand to watch and cheer as the Canadian Men’s Olympic hockey team won the last gold medal in what has been a very exciting Winter Olympic Games! Now was it just me, or did it feel as though we’d already won the gold medal in the game against the U.S.? Yay, Canada!!

(Oh, and we bunnies made Olympic-style short work of a batch of those famous malted milk pancakes-yum!)

all of us bunnies were so very proud of our amazing athletes!  They showed so much grace and spirit that they won our hearts, even if they didn’t win the medal they’d worked so hard for.

It was great to have the little bunnies watching the games during their recesses at school as well as here at home. They really got involved in 20140223-155038.jpg cheering our athletes on and loved many events that they had never seen before like bobsled and ski jumping. My littlest bunny thought that the bobsleds looked like “little spaceships” and he loved watching them speed down the track! The snowboarding and skiing events had us all on the edge of our seats…and the figure skating? Well we won’t even go there, but to say that Mama Bunny was nearly in need of the smelling salts by the end of it all. Cough {Gold} Cough…

The reporting team at the CBC and Cathal Kelly from the Toronto Star were amazing throughout added a social media dimension to the games that made us all feel so much more a part of it, so many thanks to them!  Cathal Kelly is hilarious no matter what sport he is writing about!

So now the Olympic Hangover begins and we return to whatever we were doing before the games began. As the t.v. addicts we are, we are very much looking forward to the return of some of our favourite shows, especially Murdoch Mysteries which begins the back half of its season on March 3rd. http://www.cbc.ca/murdochmysteries/
We’ve all been wildly speculating about what the future holds for William and Julia now that James Gillies has returned from the dead yet again-ack! And how about poor Crabtree?! Too nervous or perhaps feeling a little bit too far out of his league to put the moves on the lovely Dr. Grace and when he finally gets the kick in the pants he needs, there’s Leslie Garland all up in the mix. Sigh. Well the course of true love never runs smooth. Or something like that.

ArthurI spent the rest of the morning taking the littlest bunny to try a hip hop class, making some bread and finished knitting a new bunny friend. Shout out to http://www.mochimochiland.com and the folks at http://www.knitpicks.com ! Here is Arthur! And just as soon as I figure out how to get the app to let me insert photos and links, we’ll be off to the races!

I haven’t forgotten that I had some thoughts to share on The Lego Movie, but I think that might need another post. Until next time, keep bouncing!

Malted Milk Pancakes!

pancakesHello again, bunnies! Since I’m sure we’re all crawling out of bed very early to watch hockey (well, the Canadians and Swedes, anyway), here’s some breakfast inspiration from the lovely website The Naptime Chef! The malted milk powder (Horlicks or Ovaltine) makes them extra yummy. We keep a jar of the pancake mix in the pantry so that it’s a snap to toss them together on a lazy morning! Enjoy with or without carrots 😉

Malted Milk Pancakes!