a peek inside the fishbowl

30 May, 2007

This post is not really about yogurt

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Mark mentioned something interesting that has stuck in my head. I’m paraphrasing here, but he wondered why fun family events seem more fun in hindsight.

Is it because we’re hurrying through those events, and not stopping to give them much thought as we’re experiencing them?

Yesterday morning, Sarah and I walked to the Superstore. I needed olive oil and Balkan-style yogurt for that night’s dinner. I could have easily predicted the Superstore wouldn’t have the right yogurt in stock. The Superstore is a place where you can buy toddler-sized sport socks, canned sauerkraut, orchids, not to mention umpteen kinds of fat-free choco-cinna-whatever yogurt “desserts,” but if you’re looking for ordinary Balkan-style yogurt you only have about a 50 per cent chance of finding it. Whoever manages their dairy aisle must be asleep at the wheel, because they can’t seem to keep my particular brands in stock. It’s most annoying when I need to make a certain dish. In this case I was set to make tzatziki – and my recipe rocks and I NEEDED THAT YOGURT.

But the issue of yogurt availability isn’t the reason for my post. After we bought the groceries (including an inferior PC-brand 1% MF yogurt … hey, it’s not like I had a choice!) we made our way back home through Westboro Village. Our next stop: the hot dog guy outside MEC. We ordered two dogs to go, and happily proceeded to a sunny bench nearby.

I finished mine (onions, mustard, hot peppers) way before Sarah finished hers (ketchup, mustard, relish). She was doing more talking than eating. In fact, she supplied enough conversation and questions for the both of us:

“Look mom!”
“What’s that?”
“What is that man doing?”
“What is that other man doing?”
etc etc.

I watched Sarah’s hot dog getting cold. The shadows grew longer, my legs started to get numb, birds started to migrate southward (okay, just kidding about those last ones), but did I start to get fidgety. Time was TICK TICK ticking SO LOUDLY IN MY HEAD and all I could think about (a) that huge pile of work I had waiting for me at home (b) the state of our house (c) the gardening and yard work and the weeds, oh the weeds, they were growing taller and taller the longer I sat there (d) everything else.

And then, just as quickly as I started thinking about it, I stopped. I needed to change this. I forced myself to stop thinking, and to g.d. enjoy the moment already. I took a deep breath, leaned back, and listened to all of Sarah’s questions, answered as many as I could, and watched as she s-l-o-w-l-y ate the cold dog. All that remained was two pieces of bun. One was stained yellow with mustard, the other was red from the ketchup. She looked at it closely.

“It’s artistic,” she proclaimed happily, sizing up the colours.
“What is, the bun?”
“Yes. But I’m full, and I can’t eat it anymore.”

I wiped the mustard from her face, she put the artistic bun scraps into the garbage, and we went to school. We walked away, hand in hand. She was happy. I was happy. I am glad I changed the moment for myself.

9 Responses to "This post is not really about yogurt"

1 | a grrl with a blog

May 30th, 2007 at 10:00 am


That’s so sweet!

You’re right; sometimes we have to force ourselves to enjoy the moment. When we are able to do it, even in hindsight, the memory is all that much sweeter.

2 | katie

May 30th, 2007 at 10:43 am


your article makes it sound as if your daughter saw two men doing something? Huh?

3 | andrea

May 30th, 2007 at 10:48 am


Katie -  One man was repairing something next to the MEC building. The other man was dressed in biking gear and was doing stretches, but if you looked at him a certain way it looked as though he was trying to move a very tall boulder.

4 | Porter

May 30th, 2007 at 1:06 pm


hey, that’s exactly what i realized yesterday…but not so easily.
thanks for stopping by my blog…it was a rough day.

5 | Kirsten

May 30th, 2007 at 5:40 pm


This is so true – also one of the reasons that I stick with taking yoga classes (because it is *not* for the enjoyment of exercising and being sore!), because I have to stay in the moment, hear the teachers voice, concentrate on what I am doing and not all the to-do lists in my head. Hopefully that “being present” has translated into the rest of my life – sometimes yes, and sometimes no, I think.

6 | PrettyInTheCity

May 31st, 2007 at 6:59 am


What a precious moment. Cheers..

7 | liss76

June 4th, 2007 at 9:13 am


Not the point of the post, but I’ve found an excellent substitute for the Balkan style yogurt is the Hewitt’s goats milk yogurt. It’s full fat and wonderfully tangy. I use the two interchangeably, depending on what I have on hand. I find the goats milk yogurt keeps a lot longer, as well–I have had it up to two months past the expiry date without any signs of spoilage (providing the container was unopened up to that point, of course).

8 | Sharon

June 4th, 2007 at 11:14 am


I need to do that more. MUCH More.

Thanks for the lesson.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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