"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

I know I said "blog like no one is reading" but it's nice to know these people are

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

10 Things That Would Make Me Happier

1. A cleaning lady twice a week
2. A big deep bathtub
3. My kids getting along
4. My husband being happier
5. Having my hair done monthly
6. Losing 10 lbs
7. Finding my passion
8. Getting regular massages
9. A room of my own
10. A regular date night

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tips for MOB's

I have decided that we Mothers of Boys, must stick together, so I, therefore, am starting the definitive list for MOB survival. Please feel free to add to it if you have anything, other than a good Cabernet, to suggest.

1. Buy a Air Popcorn Popper - air popped corn is healthier, cheaper and you can make vast quantities when each of your boys bring home another boy or two after school.

2. Buy mitts, gloves & hats in bulk. They always get lost.

3. When someone offers to take one of your boys off your hands, always say "Yes!"

4. Every once in a while buy your middle or youngest something brand new. It doesn't have to be expensive, just something that is only for him.

5. When in doubt, go with the flow. If they all want to take off their clothes and run through the sprinkler, let them. Anything goes - within reason.

6. Keep anti-bacterial wipes near every toilet. Enough said.

7. If your boys want a pet, consider a gecko. We have one and she (they swear it is a girl, for my sake) is great, no smell, no noise, a very Zen pet. Note of caution though, they do eat live crickets.

8. Encourage each boy to try his own sport or activity, so that they are not always competing with one another. Our eldest is a jock, the middle into music and drama and the youngest, well, we're not sure yet.

This post will be on-going, but I would really love to hear other MOB's input. So please feel free to add your ideas.

Remember - Strength in Numbers!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rebecca Eckler is Back!

Oh, how I have missed cringing at the musings of dear old Rebecca. I am quite sure that the National Post's imminent demise is as a result of her focusing on novel writing and being a "yummy" albeit single, mummy rather than on her column. But she did pop back into my Saturday morning reading with her piece on crashing the Giller Prize Bash. The Giller Prize is Canada's richest literary award and the party is the "must have" invite of the year for the literati. Poor Rebecca's "Toddlers Gone Wild" was somehow left off of the short list and her invitation lost in the mail. But she decided that as a member of the press corp she should attend.

Of course no one stopped her from walking into the reception and she was even so brazen as to find an empty spot at one of the tables for the dinner. After which she cruised the room until she spotted Margaret Atwood, Canada's literary lioness. Eckler quickly honed in on her and reported that Peggy (as Eckler refers to Ms Atwood) told her to stand up and commented on how "skinny" Eckler is. Code in Rebecca's rich fantasy life for great writer.

There you have it in a nutshell, Eckler once again points out to her nationwide audience that:

a) she is still a size zero and
b) Margaret Atwood loves her writing?!

Oh, how I have missed Eckler's self absorbed prose.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rock Canadian Voters

I know we don't have as a deep political divide here in Canada as has developed in the U.S. and maybe that is why we have become so complacent, why it seemed no one even bothered to vote in the last election. But, of course, we will have another one sooner rather than later since that is the way minority governments inevitably come to an end. So what can we do in Canada to get voters out and "Rock the Vote?" We have movie stars and musicians who are cool and who young people listen to. I probably couldn't name current ones at my rapidly advancing middle age but but I know they are out there. Why can't we make it cool to vote, cool to care about politics? I know we won't have a inspiring "Yes We Can" candidate like Obama. But hopefully the Liberals will be able to choose someone from their rat pack who can speak both official clanguages and who will be able to challenge Harper.

It seems like the NDP always seems to have a leader whom people agree would make a good Prime Minister if only he was the leader of the Conservatives or the Liberals. Remember Ed Broadbent? I think he had the highest approval rating and got the most seats ever in the house for the NDP, but of course he was head of the NDP which, in our left-leaning society, is pretty far left. And while they have managed to govern successfully in a number of provinces, let's just not discuss the Ontario NDP governement. But how can we not when Bob Rae, the NDP Premier of Ontario, namesake of the hated "Rae Days" is running for the leadership of the federal Liberal Party. That is Canadian politics for you. Party lines do become blurred quite often which, Belinda Stronach aside, isn't always a bad thing.

So finally we have one of those good guy NDP leaders in the running for the chance to be in the running for PM. His main rival? A former Harvard prof. Not a bad match for Stephen "Reach for the Top Contestant" Harper.

See, we Canadians, have always (well, almost always) had smart people running for office, they just aren't always the most inspiring. Trudeau aside, and I don't think that Justin or "Trudeau Lite" is quite up to the challenge and I definitely think that Ben Mulroney should keep his day job. But if our leaders can't get us excited about voting then maybe Jim Carrey could, or Mike Meyers, or the guys from the Tragically Hip or the Bare Naked Ladies or a few hockey players. I hope that when the next election rolls around someone out there in the marketing world figures out that if we are going to keep this democracy thing going that we are going to have to get the Gen Xers or Yers or whatever the 18 to 30 year olds are called, excited about the polical process in our country. Let all those smart university students who are away from home, often in another province, know how they can still vote. Make it easy for them. Make it exciting. I know we don't have computerized touch screens or levers to pull like at a casino, but the old "put an X next to the person you want to be in government" isn't such a bad system. At least our elections, of late anyways, haven't ended up being decided by the Supreme Court.

We have seen, leading up to and during the past eight years, what can happen when people stop caring who is running their country. The Americans got what they deserved in George W.
Twice. But this last time they woke up and people got out to vote because they believed it mattered. The change may not come about right away, as Obama has said, but they have taken the first step and hopefully, for all our sakes, it will come.

In Canada we can sit by and complain that we don't have a leader like Obama but someone once said that voters get the leader they deserve and until we start acting like we care we will be stuck with just that.

Friday, November 7, 2008

This makes me want to cry

When asked about the new Amazon Kindle product, Steve Jobs CEO of Apple computer had this to say: "It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

This is the saddest statistic I have ever read! My friends ask me how I have time to read so many books? I have never tried to count the number I read in a year, 100 maybe? I say, how can I not find the time to read them? I get antsy when I don't have a book on the go. I read very fast and yes, I do skim through the bits that don't interest me, but if a book is well written I read every word. I do reread some books, but mostly because I haven't got a new one to start. I love everything from literary novels to essays to non fiction to British chick lit. See some of my all time favourites on my bookshelf, I'll add more as I read them.

My biggest challenge right now is getting my boys hooked on reading. My Number 1 son who is 10 is finally reading on his own every night but he is only interested in books about hockey. Fortunately there are a couple of series, the first is the Screech Owls by Roy MacGregor and we just found a new one called the Mitchell Brothers that he seems to like. He even picked up the biography of Walter Gretsky, Wayne's father and has been slogging through that for the past six months.

Our middle son (age 8), who is a better reader but still only wants to be read to, has a flair for the dramatic and I know that once we find something to hook him with he will be like I was as a kid and read non stop. He just found the set of the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis and I am hoping that since he has seen the two movies he will get right into the book. I also have the most amazing collection from my aunt of the original Frank L. Baum "Wizard of Oz" books which go far beyond Dorothy and the Scarecrow that I know Number 2 will love. The real challenge is Number 3 (age 6) who is struggling in Grade 1 with learning to read and I think that it is causing him to act out in class. I know he can do it but his teacher is using a Whole Language program and, as a former Montessori teacher, I know that the only way to give kids confidence in reading is to learn phonetically. I guess I will have to dust off my old teaching aids and get going with him.

If stranded on a deserted island I would gladly give up almost anything to have a supply of books. I almost went crazy when I was on an Outward Bound 18 day canoe trip and since we had to carry everything ourselves I couldn't bring too many books with me. But I did manage to bring a few and was able to trade with other readers in my group. I also smuggled one in my sleeping bag when we were each dropped off at separate campsites for our 48 hour "Solo." I wasn't worried about bears, although the thought did cross my mind as I sat in the middle of a blueberry patch, but I was scared of 48 hours alone with my thoughts and no one to talk to. I wrote in my journal and we were all encourage to write a letter to ourselves that they sent to us a year later. This was 20 years ago right after I graduated from university, I should dig around and see if I can find that letter. I did read on that trip and I haven't stop reading since. I don't understand people who go to a place like the doctor's office or on the subway where they have to sit and wait and don't bring anything to read (I will even read those 10 year old Reader's Digests.) For me a book is like some people and their cell phones today, I can't go anywhere with out one.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Coffee and Christmas

Okay, okay, so it seemed like a good idea, the giving up coffee but then I asked myself, why? I only drink about a cup and a half (okay it’s a large mug and a half) a day and I really like it. I think the reason why was because when we were travelling I didn’t enjoy the coffee at the different places we stayed at, or we were too rushed getting out the door so I couldn’t sit and read the paper (which I do try to do in the mornings, I just tune out the uproar in the kitchen and my darling husband makes the lunches some days now!) But I love having my coffee made in the mornings and for someone who doesn’t drink it, he does an amazing job.

So there, I think that is my blog post for today, it’s another spectacular day here, over 20 C and sunny. Last one though, I think, rain and then snow on the weekend. Oh well, at least I won’t be as pissed off that it is dark a half an hour after the kids get home so they hardly have a chance to enjoy it. Whose bright idea (no pun intended) was it to switch the time to make it darker during the shortest days of the year? I can handle getting up in the dark but I hate looking at the clock and thinking it must be dinnertime when it is only 4:30pm. It just makes me want to curl up in a ball and eat and drink more. But I am back into cooking soups and I think I might have to get the crock pot out soon.

On the bright side it is only 48 days til Christmas and I have said yes to having our house on the local Christmas House Tour on December 6th. Hopefully there is snow becasue this house looks perfect (on the outside) covered in snow. This will be the incentive I need to get out my paintbrush and touch up all the damage on the trim that the boys have inflicted over the past year since we moved in and had every board of knotty pine covered with Benjamin Moore "Cloud White."

And it is about time I did something new on the Christmas decor front, I have been very good at reusing and recycling old bows and ribbon but have basically had the same decorations up for the last eight years. This might be fun and then we will definately have to have a party.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Giving Up Coffee

I just realized that I need to update my "5 Simple Pleasures." I have, as of two days ago, given up my morning cup of coffee. For no other reason than I wanted to see if it made any difference in how I feel. So far the only thing I have felt is a splitting headache but I don't know if that is from caffeine withdrawl or the radical change in the weather. It is over 20 Celcius today. Too hot for November, no one knows what to wear. Of course my kids never gave up their shorts so now they are insufferable, "Gee Mum, you said we had to wear mitts and hats to school."

But back to my coffee detox. While we were away last week I was having all kinds of stomach pains which usually accompany me on long trips in the car and lots of rich food and drink but when we got to our friends' house in Maine I noticed that Chris was drinking straight out of a bottle of Bragg's Apple Cider, taking a swig before we went out to dinner. I asked why and he said it was all a part of his getting healthy routine. Last spring at age 45, Chris suffered a stroke. It was a real wake up call for a guy who has always been a big man and lived life large in every way. But since then he has recovered and has made a real effort to change his lifestyle. He still enjoys eating out and fine wine but he is taking care of himself so that, as he said, "I am around to watch my children grow up."

So I thought maybe I'd try the apple cider shot and amazingly it seems to be working, I took a swig three times a day for the rest of our trip and my stomach was fine. Now that we are home again I thought that maybe I'd try to make some other changes and cutting out coffee is one of them. Maybe not forever but just to see if after two weeks I notice any difference. I am not one to go whole hog about anything, diet or exercise but I did miss my Pilates classes and tried to do some stretching each day, especially after four or five hours in the car. And now that the time has changed and it is dark at 4:30pm it is harder to get motivated to do anything other than climb into bed and watch TV. So if I can give up coffee will I have more energy? I'll have to survive the headaches first.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Snow & the Stock Market

Yesterday was absolutely miserable. It snowed big, wet, yucky flakes on and off all day. It didn't stay on the ground and the wind was howling, blowing most of the leaves that were left on trees down. Very depressing and a glimpse of what is to come - November. There is nothing good about November except that my sister was born on the 2nd, but other than that there is nothing. No holidays to speak of, not even Remembrance Day, that is now reserved only for the banks and government types. The kids learn "In Flanders Field the Poppies Grow" and we all wear poppies on our lapels but that is about the only bright spot in a long and dreary month.

But, on the bright side, today is clear, cold and sunny. My favourite kind of day and now that I have stoppped listening to the news about the economy I can get out of bed each morning without too much trouble. I really think this is all such a self-fulling prophecy. Yes, I know times are tough and it is a mess down in the States and it has been a bit of a wake up call for everyone to realize that it is not their right to own a $4000 handbag or live in a $1,000,000 house. We have all done it, gone shopping and bought something totally out of our snack bracket but this time it has all caught up with us. We all have to be more realistic. It is scary to think that we will be the first generation not to have a higher standard of living than our parents. Mine set the bar pretty high and I love them for all the oppportunities it gave me and my brother and sister. But I am not convinced that going to private school, travelling to Europe in the summer and getting a car for graduation made me into a better person than I would have otherwise been.

I am so glad to have moved out of the city and away from a world where everyone was a banker or a lawyer and all they could talk about was private schools and real estate. I bet those conversations have died down now that houses aren't selling for $100,000 over asking and those school fees still have to be paid.

Oops, how did I get onto this rant? I started out saying that it was all a self-fufilling prophecy. Meaning the media got ahold of it and we all began to get scared and now it's all you hear about. The stock market tanks, no it's back up. It's rallying. No it's back in the toilet. Who controls this roller coaster? People who make money from producing absolutely nothing real. And the people who are out there making something that is worth buying are getting hurt. Small businesses can't get money from the banks to operate, to create jobs and to provide for their families. Big businesses lay off workers from the top to the bottom and everyone in the places where those people live are getting hurt. But there are still those who are making money off of all of this. It is crazy and I am sort of relieved that the constant drive to out Jones the Jones may finally be over.

We moved to have a different kind of life, away from the rat race and so far it is working. My husband is around more, we can get out and do things that don't require long drives, paying for parking and the kids are happy. They have a freedom and independance that we never could have allowed in the city.

Maybe more people will come to realize that there is more to life than renovating and buying more stuff. I just hope they don't all move to our town.

Monday, October 20, 2008

31 Things About Me

Here's the deal...one word answers to the questions below.

1. Where is your cell phone? On my desk
2. Where is your significant other? Woodshop
3. Your hair colour? streaky
4. Your mother? Nuts
5. Your father? My hero
6. Your favorite thing? Sleep
7. Your dream last night? Weird, because I remember it
8. Your dream/goal? To grow old with my husband
9. The room you're in? Kitchen
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Being forgotten
12. Where do you want to be in six years? With 3 happy teenage boys
13. Where were you last night? Home with three boys
14. What you’re not? Quiet
15. One of your wish list items? A laptop
16. Where you grew up? Country & city
17. The last thing you did? Make a fire
18. What are you wearing? Jeans & black sweather
19. Your TV? On too much
20. Your pet? Portugese Water Dog
21. Your computer? HP
22. Your mood? Ready to get away
23. Missing someone? My sister
24. Your car? Big, dirty Suburban
25. Something you’re not wearing? Lipstick, I never do
26. Favorite store? Bookstore
27. Your summer? Different
28. Love someone? Yes
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Last night
31. Last time you cried? A couple of weeks ago

Friday, October 10, 2008


There really isn't another holiday on the calendar quite like Thanksgiving. I know that we Canadians probably co-opted it from the American extravaganza but it is one of my favourites. It isn't particularily religious, anyone from long time Canadians to the newest immigrants can celebrate the harvest, a bountiful table and being together with family. It isn't fraught with all the expectations and excesses of Christmas or even Halloween. You don't have to buy gifts or make a costume or hide eggs. You just prepare wonderful food to eat and enjoy, go for a walk or two in the crisp fall air and wonder at the brightness of all the colours.

I don't think there is ever a time in the year that I find the colour of the sky, the leaves or the water clearer. It is as if the Earth turns up the contrast for it's last hurrah before it settles into the greys and browns of November and then the whiteness of winter.

I could never live in a place without the change in seasons. Just when I am getting sick of my summer clothes along comes fall with its cozy sweaters, leather boots and jean jackets. Then we hunker down in our winter coats, not to be seen uncovered again until that first glorious day in spring when the thermometer pushes up out of the single digits and suddenly everyone is in shorts and t shirts even though it is still freezing in the mornings. I know that I have S.D.D. (Seasonal Deficit Disorder) I tire quickly of too much of the same weather, whether it be hot and humid, cold and damp or bright and clear. I am always ready for a change, even for a rainy, dark day when you can't get out and do much of anything so you can just sit inside and read by the fire or putter around the house with nothing particular in mind.

I love fall because it is usually the shortest season. I was married in the fall, surrounded by the colours of the trees and the brilliant blue sky. I love it because even though I know that every day is getting shorter and the mornings are darker and soon the kids will come home from school and the street lights will be on that there is Halloween and the big build up to Christmas to look forward to.

So for now I will enjoy going out in a sweater without a coat and looking at the blue, blue bay and watching my garden slowly put itself to bed. And I feel like maybe it is a sign that the world needs to slow down and rest for a while so we can all rejuvinate ourselves for whatever lies ahead.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Exploring in our backyard

Think I peaked in grade three

Hemmingway was once famously challenged to write a six word memoir at a bar. So, on a cocktail napkin, he wrote, "For sale. Baby Shoes. Never worn." Smith Magazine launched a contest and published a book of the best ones.

I was quite taken by this challenge and over the course of the Easter weekend which I spent with my brother and sisiter, celebrating his 40th birthday, I (with some brother and sisterly help) came up with, "Think I peaked in Grade 3." Guess that's more of a statement than a memoir but it hits very close to home.

The scary thing is that kids today are all being forced to peak early. There is so much pressure to get them into sports, music lessons and other extra curricular activities early (Baby Mozart and Einstein?) that they are burnt out by the time they hit their teens and then they don't want to do anything. Someone gave me a book called "Slacker Mom" and I took it to heart. I don't want to be the mother who runs around every afternoon from hockey to piano to Kumon. My kids (ages 6, 8 & 10) play outside after school (we do live on a cul de sac in a small town) and even, gasp, watch TV for a while before dinner. They are involved in sports, hockey, soccer and skiing and one just started guitar lessons. They go to an old fashioned summer camp where there are no iPods or video games and they swim , canoe and fish at our cottage when they aren't at camp.

I kind of pride myself on the "Slacker Mom" label. Someone once said to me when she found out she was pregnant with her third son that while she was excited about joining my "Mothers of Three Boys Club" what she really thought was important about raising boys was not that they should grow up to be great, but that they should grow up to be good. Because, as she pointed out, the world has seen lots of so-called great men who haven't done much good for humanity and everyone could use another good man in their life.

So if I peaked in Grade 3 then I guess I can go for a second peak in mid life. I won't call it a crisis yet, the world has enough of those going on right now, but I am going to start working on another memoir. Working title, "To be continued ..."

Who is Cid?

Who is Cid?

- 4th or 5th generation Canadian by way of England, Scotland & Ireland

- highlights her hair but feels vindicated by her three blond sons

- finally, at age 42 is comfortable with her body and what she looks good in (most of the time)

- has been with the same man since she was 16 and loves him as much as ever and never wonders, “what if…”

- raised in the city and the country with horses, barn cats, dogs, three TV channels and a mother & father who let her and her brother and sister build forts and sleep in the barn, go riding bareback in the dark and play out of sight of the house

- a terrible procrastinator but who gets a great sense of satisfaction in finishing something even if it is only the laundry

- is called a “connector” by a friend, likes bringing people together, gets energy from others and loves to reconnect with people from the past

- a reader to the exclusion of most other things, could read while three boys were in the bath, read in the morning, far too late at night and anytime in between when it’s a good book, reads British chick lit, essays, Can lit and used to be, during her teen years, a huge sci fi fan (still loves apocalyptic stories)

- would love to travel again, but stay in one place for about six months like the south of France or New Zealand in a house, going to the market and living like a local

- can never get enough sleep, loves the idea of being a morning person but never seems to be able to wake up refreshed and ready to go

- lives in jeans and boots, wishes she had more style day to day but doesn’t want to look like she’s trying too hard

- loves the Fall because she get to wear the above mentioned jeans & boots, cool nights, great for sleeping, crisp sunny days and all the colours of the leaves

- has been at home raising three boys for the last eleven years and isn’t sure what to do next

- loves living in a small town with lots of interesting people to talk to and interesting things to do, where nothing is a chore to get involved in

- loves and likes her parents, brother and sister even if she doesn’t always agree with them

- loves the chaos of a bunch of kids and dogs running around while the adults sit and enjoy a glass of wine on the dock or deck especially when it happens spontaneously

- loves baguettes, good cheese, wild blueberries and fresh peaches

- wants to write but worries it is too solitary but thinks maybe doing this is a start

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