Friday, 15 June 2012

Words of Wisdom (?) When Travelling to Hot & Foreign Locales.

Hot & foreign. Sounds saucy.

In fact, I am still reeling from the memories of the stifling heat of India on our last trip. Scientist husband would say that I have a tendency to dwell on the negative aspects of everything, but I do have good reason. Very few funny stories have ever come from a purely blissful event; the good stuff comes as a result of mishap and a little suffering. ("Oh, haha! Look at this picture of me in labour - I look hilariously miserable, haha!") Or something like that.

The last time we visited India, it was their winter season. Waltzing into 20 degree weather was no major feat. I had the brain capacity to focus on all the new experiences, tastes, and sights of this beautiful country because I was physically comfortable. This time, however, I was warned that "it's going to be hot" and I should "pack for summer". Ok. I've got t-shirts and flip-flops.



This wasn't "hot". This was suffocating. This was sweating profusely for almost two weeks. We're talking nearly 40 degrees, plus the sticky humidity. But, as I was told, everyone in the country was sweating. No one will care that you smell like a chronically un-showered gym rat. The locals admitted that it was unusually hot ("lucky Canadians, ha-ha"). The only time I stopped sweating, quite literally, was when I was physically inside the shower. I'm actually not even sure that I stopped sweating in there, because the minute I stepped out, it started all over again.

I learned a few things that I thought I'd share. At some point in your travels, you will likely find yourself in my shoes (slimy flip-flops) and you'll need solutions. Not just for keeping comfortable in the heat, but also for avoiding intestinal slaughter. Just trust me on this one.

  • Talcum (baby) powder. If you didn't bring some, buy some. Now. Bathe in it immediately after you shower. Show no mercy and discard all shame. Put it everywhere. If you decide to wear black (and, you shouldn't ... it's freaking hot out), make sure you check your look in the mirror for any embarrassing traces of powder on your clothes. Like near your butt crack.
  • Drink loads of water. I know, it sounds obvious. But when you're sweating constantly, the amount of fluid your body needs to replenish can be deceiving. Drink only bottled water. You want to feel like you fit in and live like a local? Then welcome salmonella and god-knows-what-else into your gut ... and out the end for days to come.
  • White people: sunscreen. Seriously. There's nothing funnier for locals than a pasty person gone pink. Except for a pink person with diarrhea. See above.
  • Remember those paper fans you used to make in elementary school? Make one now and carry it in your pocket.
  • Wet a scarf or rag and tie it around your neck. You'll probably look like an ass, but you'll feel better.
  • If you get intestinal issues (didn't I tell you to stay away from the lettuce?), fast for a day. Drink lots of water. You might need an anti-biotic if it persists for a few days. In India, getting your hands on antibiotics is easy and inexpensive. If you need other medicines, you may as well grab those, too. Like bismuth. 
  • The power is probably going to go out and the ceiling fans and A/C will stop running. Do yourself a favour and just stop moving.
  • Don't wear TOMS shoes; they have no ventilation. I know that you are a globally conscious hipster and you also like comfortable foot wear, but swamp foot is gross. Wearing those puppies in tropical weather will make you feel like a wet seal on a Slip N' Slide.
Obviously, you'll be drawn to places where the air conditioning is in full swing - like malls, taxis, and some restaurants. Luckily for this girl, the rains finally came on our last day in India. I may have danced. And, suddenly, I totally understand this:

Not completely. But enough.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Little Sir's Woodland Retreat

My son turned two in April and has already ditched one side of his crib for a more grown up sort of bed. And, pathetically, I'm just now putting the finishing touches on his "nursery". Maybe I'll have a sophisticated tween room complete by the time his wedding rolls around.

 Before my son was born, I had a clean slate of a bedroom to do pretty much anything I wanted. The walls were purple when we bought the house, but it was a shade that could easily be covered by two coats of paint. How I wish I could remember the exact make and name of the paint we ended up using. But, I do know we purchased five whopping gallons of it. We figured we would use it to paint other properties and it sure did come in handy. On the chip in the hardware store, the colour was pretty grey, with some subtle cool blue undertones. Once painted on the wall though, it became a lot more blue, especially since this particular room faces north. As an aside, this room will always remind me of Springsteen's "Darkness on the Edge of Town" because a) I painted the whole room to that album, and b) I've turned a few songs off that album into soothing lullabies. Parenting: I'm doing it right.

 Anyway, I was really digging the idea of a calm woodland theme, without all the matchy-matchiness of store bought bedding and it's coordinates. Honestly, the inspiration came from my son's first toy: a free brown bunny stuffie that I received when I completed the baby registry at Sears. So, I started with the little brown bunny, threw in some birds, and a little texture.

Colour palette.

Second-hand store dresser that doubles as a changing station; tiny mirrors can make changing diapers more fun for baby; a deer head toothbrush holder became a pacifier hanging station.

Simple bedding and a soft flokati underfoot; personalized art and baby's portrait hang over the crib.

A birdie friend watches over baby from his little house.