"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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pay It Forward

Am I crazy or what? I was actually the first to comment on Harried Mom of Four's Pay it Forward post and now it seems I have to do likewise. Pay it forward means that I have to make something. Me make something? Does making dinner count? I guess since I have no idea where the first five commenters will live I can't really pop over to make them a meal. Although, that's not a bad idea - taking my blog on the road.

But back to the post at hand. Since I was one of Harried's first 5, the first as a matter of fact, I will, sometime in the next 12 months receive a little something made by her. How she will find the time to make anything with her four young'uns underfoot and training for who knows how many marathons I'll never know? But it does put me under the gun as I only have three and they are in school all day and the only running I do is to the grocery store. I can't wait, I love getting packages in the mail, especially surprise ones.

So, if you'd like to join in on the fun, all you need to do is:

1) Be one of the first 5 to comment on this post saying you'd like to join in

2) Post a 'Pay it Forward' post on your own blog, linking back to here.

3) Start getting creative and come up with something homemade to send out.

That's all folks, so comment away and you may receive a very special, yet-to-be-determined, hand made item by moi. Don't worry, it won't be this.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Dare I say it? All the signs are here - daffodils in bloom, canoe out of storage, wet, muddy dog. Yup, it's finally Spring!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pub Crawls, Gospel Music and Salmon

Our little town hosts the most amazing Music Festival every April. It is three days of jazz, big band and swing music and then some southern gospel on Sunday. Jazzmania was our introduction to the delights of smalltown living the spring before we moved out of the city.

The Friday night is a pub crawl. At least for our crowd it is. There are over ten venues. Yes ten, in a town that only has one stoplight. Well, two actually, but the second one only operates when the salmon are heading up river to spawn (seriously). The light isn't for the salmon to cross the highway, it's for all the tourists or "citiots" as they are affectionately called up here, so they (the people not the fish) can watch from both sides of the road as they (the fish) climb the ladder up over the dam, into the millpond and up the river to lay their eggs. It is truely inspiring to watch. But I sure as hell wouldn't practically kill myself to procreate. Then again, we do, don't we? Guess that's why women do the pregnancy and birthing.

But I digress, but it is Random Tuesday Thoughts, after all. So everyone meets at one house for a few pre-Jazz cocktails and then we all head downtown to the first restaurant around 9pm. The crowd there has already eaten dinner and is sedately listening to the trio when we all take over the bar. We listen, a little, but mostly we catch up with one another after a long winter of hibernation. It was warm last Friday so all the ladies were in shortsleeves, a few even showed off fresh pedicures in their sandals. Me, I stuck to my cowboy boots, always comfy to walk in and it doesn't matter if I spill a martini or two on them.

After a couple of drinks, our group, by now about 20 or so moved on to a real pub that is cozy and has three different rooms plus a great patio. Those who want to listen to the music can do so while the rest continue with the main mission - a few more drinks. So you get the idea, is just like in university, a perpetual motion party. We made it to about five venues, picked up more friends along the way and celebrated the fact that it was warm enought to be outside on the patio with lots of interesting people to talk to. Made it home around 1am, not too late but morning still came way too early. My boys don't seem to get that the door closed means don't come in. They were all up before 7am. Ugh.

We didn't go to the Big Band and Swing concerts but on Sunday Number Two Son and I took my mother to the Southern Gospel concert at one of the churches. I wasn't struck by lightening when I walked through the front door, but I do wish that church was always like this, lots of singing, laughing and even a bit of swaying and clapping to the music among the WASPy crowd. We listened to a wonderful singer, Shelagh Hart, backed by piano, bass and drums but the highlight, for my son was seeing his music teacher on stage with the Torchmen Quartet. They were fantastic, lots of joking and great harmony, sort of a cross between a Barbershop quartet and a 50's group. It opened up a whole new world of music for Number Two, he was fascinated by the bass singer's low voice, thought he sounded like Darth Vader. I think he might be persuaded to take singing lessons, he's already got the voice, first one in the family in a long time who can carry a tune.

All in all a good weekend, not very often I get to party with all my friends and go to church.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fourth Folder Fourth Photo (Say that 10 times fast!)

Since I am not feeling terribly inspired this morning and I also have a ton of work to do both for work and outside in the garden I am copping out on this post and putting up the fourth folder fourth photo from my desktop. This is Number Two Son about 4 years ago when I decided that if it was spring there should be skipping. The street we used to live on in the city had about 15 boys under age 9 and so there wasn't a whole lot of skipping going on naturally.
My friend & I bought a bunch of skipping ropes, both individual and for the group. The cheap plastic ones that we had as kids were much better than the rope ones with wooden handles which were too light to turn properly. As we taught them to skip and they got the hang of it we started to remember all the rhymes. Does anyone remember "Teddy bear, teddy bear turn around ..." or "Apples, peaches, pears and plums. Tell me when your birthday comes" Or " Just last night, not the night before, twenty-four robbers came through my door." I wonder if they were the same rhymes everywhere?
We had so much fun, the boys did it a few times after that but I was never able to get them to try double dutch, too little back then and too cool for it now. Do little girls still skip? I never see anyone in the schoolyard doing it. I hope so.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Very Own Chamber of Sober Second Thought

Kyran over at Notes to Self is writing "Blogging 101" for all us neophytes. She is sort of my blogging hero as she has been able to parlay her blog into paying gigs in actual published form. Check out her article in Good Housekeeping called "Mommy Wears Prada" and you'll see why. Anyone who can combine writing, mothering and designer duds is a goddess in my books. Her suggestions on how to keep your life off and on-line from intersecting in an uncomfortable way are something we should all consider when posting.

I know I have wrestled with this. How much information is too much? I know for some bloggers they are perfectly happy putting themselves and their families out there for all to see and I love reading them. Me, I am a little more reserved and no, it's not because I am Canadian. You've read The Redneck Mommy haven't you? And I have my sister-in-law to thank both for encouraging me to blog in the first place and for being my very own Senate. For those non-Canadians, our Senate is called "The Chamber of Sober Second Thought" and it is supposed to take what ever the House of Commons sends them in the form of legislation and give it another look. That's what Beth does for me and it works. I think she is the only member of my family who reads my blog and that's the way I like it. I do self-censor but sometimes I get so caught up in my desire to be witty and relevant (and get lots of comments) that I step over the line. As I did a few weeks back when I posted something about a family member that went too far. Don't bother to look for it, it's long gone, thanks to Beth.

I guess the best way to read your posts is by thinking what would so-and-so say if by some weird alignment of the cosmos he or she happened upon your blog on the very day you decided to post about his or her total lack of parenting skills or how much they drank at Easter Brunch or whatever. There is always a chance, however remote that the one person you have posted about will stumble upon your blog on that particular day.

I love blogging but I never want my words to hurt anyone. We know what we are talking about but to an outsider it may not come across quite the same way. And besides, if someday I ever hope to get a writing job that pays I had better be careful what any prospective employer might find here. Kind of like what we warn teenager about when uploading all those photos from last weekend's party on to their facebook page. Be careful what you put out there in cyberspace 'cause you can't take it back.

Wordless Wednesday

As you may recall my last Wordless Wednesday (okay it was Tuesday) was just two weeks ago.

As they say, "If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes." (The water was 42F/6C)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Sitting here at my desk seeing if I can make technology work for me. I'm not ready to Twitter but it would be great to blog from anywhere on my bb.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Random Tuesday Thoughts

What a great idea - no coherent sentences to form, no overall theme or content consistency, just pure randomness. Here goes ...

Damn, I can't think of one random thing.
Okay, how about the definition from the soon to be defunct Oxford Canadian Dictionary.

random adj. made, done, etc. without method or conscious choice.
at random without aim or purpose or principle (see Harper government) Sorry that was my addition.

The problem with random is that it always makes me think of a teenager saying, "that's soooo random." Random is really a state of mind, like the way I navigate my way through the blogosphere with no aim or purpose or method, randomly clicking on the highlighted words that some other blogger has chosen to lead me to.

I guess blogging and reading blogs is the ultimate in random.

How random is that?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Last week was a long one. Tuesday Number Two Son ended up in Emerg after wiping out in the skateboard park on his bike. Nothing broken and he was wearing his helmet but enough blood on the pavement that passersby were going to call 911. Luckily his big brother had the walkie talkie and although it was a half an hour past when they were supposed to be home I got there to find them sitting together, Number One holding a "ShamWow" that an older kid had in his car to Number Two's face. Luckily ski season is over so we got into see the doctor relatively quickly, the women ahead of us in Triage even offered to let us go first. After Natasha Richardson's death I know we are all way more careful about falls. So the helmet was a write off and he was home for a couple of days while the swelling went down and he stopped looking like something from the "Planet of the Apes."

But the week ended with the weather finally getting more spring-like and the most perfect day on Friday which just so happened to be my 43rd bday! I got the boys off to school, Number Two was more embarrassed at the scabs than still hurt but he went and I got to ride Jazz with three friends for almost three hours. I even got a bit sunburned. Oh happy day!

Later my in-laws arrived with our 16 year old niece who is having a tough time at home but is always happy to stay with us and hang out with the boys. Hard to reconcile the horror stories about her with the girl who loves to play Wii and do crafts with her much younger cousins. So I was free to get ready for my surprise. My friend and neighbour decided it was the perfect afternoon to sit on her deck and have a cold beer, first of the season. The kids decided that since the pool was open they would get their suits on and jump in. Big surprise for them - it was 42 F! But the hot tub was also open and close by. We had a ball watching their faces as they emerged from the water and reminded them to "keep breathing" when they insisted on swimming from one end to the other. Boys.

My Other Half told me I was to be ready by 6:30pm and then we headed out stopping at two local pubs to see who was staking out the patio - no one we knew so we headed to my Dad's where we were supposed to pick something up. Now I don't always expect a surprise on my birthday. Oh hell, yes I do and my Other Half has almost never disappoints me. He says he loves doing it, sometimes it is a night in the city or dinner at a great restaurant and sometimes is is a home cooked meal with a few of my nearest and dearest who had spent all week lying to me about their plans for Friday night. They are very good liars because, of course, I am always on the lookout for clues to my surprise. We had a great dinner, everyone helped out. As my Other Half said in his toast to them, "In the city when you invite people they wonder, Are you paying? Up here they ask, What can we bring?" Not entirely true but they all brought something yummy and lots to drink.

Now at age 43 I really no longer expect gifts (but I am always hopeful) and these friends know me too well and put such thought into the ones they chose.

- a bag of horsey-themed stuff which I love because it reminds me that after 30 years I once again have a horse of my own
- a homemade CD of songs from my teenage years, Bruce Springsteen, The Police and The Talking Heads, just to name a few. They all made me feel 16 again
- a book about Algonquin Park where our cottage is and my most favourite place on Earth
- a very sophisticated and grown up ice bucket with a bottle of Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine and my new drink of choice
- an iPod Shuffle (I know, I have very generous friends), bright pink so the boys won't steal it, to load up with the above mentioned songs to get me up and moving after a long winter of doing nothing
- a gorgeous necklace that is so simple and elegant that I can wear it every day and when I get dressed up
- and from my boys, they all went to the Tack Shop and picked out a new saddle pad and girth for Jazz, summer riding gloves and a little horse figurine that reminded them of pictures they had seen of Fire, my horse from when I was a kid

What more could a woman ask for? A husband who loves and keeps surprising me, kids who are excited about my rekindled passion and friends who are thoughtful and generous and don't laugh at how bad I am at playing pool. It was a glorious day and a very late night, one that I will remember when day to day existence takes back over.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Planes, Ferries and Firetrucks

The boys and I are off to Ottawa for Easter Weekend. My Other Half will be working at a trade show and left yesterday so we will be travelling without him and touring the capital on our own. The last time we were there was 3 or 4 years ago so the boys don't remember much.

No tulips or skating on the canal, too early and too late for that but we will visit the newly renovated Museum of Science and Nature and then take a trip across the river to Hull, Quebec to visit the Museum of Civilization.

But first we have to get there. Remember the John Candy movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles? Well, our trip is going something like this - first we drive two and a half hours to the city. Downtown to be exact and meet our friend who drove with my Other Half to Ottawa and flew back today at his firehall. He is the driver of the pumper truck which I understand is a very big deal. We are leaving the car with him and he will take us to the airport but if he is not in his fire truck he has to be at the hall. So he is going to drive us to the airport in the pumper truck! Yes, that's right, unless there is a fire, we will be taking a firetruck to the airport. Am I the coolest mother ever?

But wait - there's more, as they say on those info commercials. To get to the Island airport we have to take a ferry. It's only about 5 minutes but it is a boat. Then we get to fly on one of those little turbo jet planes to Ottawa where we will be met by my friend in her Volvo. Don't ever say I don't know how to show my boys a good time!

Happy Easter and Passover everyone. Stay tuned for how the weekend went next week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dear Family, I am inhabiting an alternate universe.

Dear family,

I just thought I'd let you know that I am inhabiting an alternate universe. So if I don't jump right up to get you another glass of juice or find the jar of mayonnaise that is right in front of you on the top left side of the fridge, don't worry. I just thought I'd let you know.

No, it isn't Second Life or something creepy like that. It is a universe where mothers are always right, always witty and pretty and kind. They are supportive of one another and they let non-mothers visit anytime they want. Some I admire from afar, others I have actually come face to face with, so to speak and others kind of scare me but much like a car crash I can't look away. But I can go all over the world and peek in on other's lives, kind of like driving around at night peeking in windows. I think it makes us all feel better that we are not alone in this universe.

I'm not leaving you - yet, but I do find myself spending more and more time there when you all are at school and work. The reason I haven't mentioned it is because you wouldn't get it. Kind of like how grown-ups don't get the video games you play. It is kind of like Webkinz world, which I know you don't visit anymore (oh, those were the days of carefree innocence) I meet new people from all over the world everyday and make new friends. I know you can't believe it but mothers need to have their own life too.

In this world, no one talks back. Well, they call it commenting and it is usually done nicely and anyways I can't see if their are rolling their eyes. No one cares if I have one more glass of wine, in fact it is encouraged and unlike facebook everyone usually uses correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Yes, we share pictures of our families because everyone wants to have a face to put with the detailed description of your potty training or first date or man cold. But we also share photos of places we have visited, rooms we would like to live in and the food other than hotdogs and Kraft Dinner we would like to have the time to make and enjoy.

Don't worry though, I have no intention of moving permanently to this world but just to let you know if you can't find me that's where I'll be.

I know it's not Wednesday, but ...

WTF? I am Wordless! I thought it was April.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Best Thing about being on the Road is the Groupies

Karen at A Day in the Life has tagged me for this Motherhood Worldwide Tour started by Her Bad Mother who put how she feel about being a mother so eloquently in her post The World According to Mom.

But you'll have to forgive me if five things don't come to mind very quickly right now. I am still waiting for the "Golden Years" my sister-in-law promised me would come between ages of 6 and 12. After "wipe my ass" and before "kiss my ass," as she put it.

Why? you ask. Well, where should I start?

Number One Son is 11, and showing far too many signs of preteen angst already, "I hate her Mum, I really hate her. She is always bugging me." Said in reference to the daughter of friends of ours who is in his class.

Number Two Son is turning 9 next week and he and my Other Half are constantly at each others' throats. Both are the middle child. Need I say more?

And Number Three Son isn't my cute, little 6 year old. He is the Tasmanian Devil. You know, the one from the Bugs Bunny cartoon - constantly in motion, knocking down everything and everyone in his path with spit spewing out of his mouth when he finally does come to a halt.

Nice eh? But I'll try to think back.

1. I love the fact that my 11 year still hold my hand when we walk to school - sometimes.

2. I love that my almost 9 year old crawls into bed with me every morning when he wakes up for a cuddle. "I can't start my day any way else," he says.

3. I love that my 6 year old still asks for "Hug, Mum, hug." all the time.

4. I love it when I get time to spend with them individually. They become different kids when they don't have a brother or two around vying for my attention. They talk, I listen, we communicate.

5. I love watching the relationship they have with their grandparents. We are so lucky to have all four young, healthy and close by. They love watching hockey with their Grandpa, doing crafts with Grandma, going fishing with Dippy and just hanging out, doing nothing with Geeya. Each one of them will make my boys better people.

I do love my boys, I just want to like them more.

Now I'll tag some of my favourite rockstar mothers from all over. Those who have inspired me and made me laugh when I just want to cry.

CDP in Maryland at Parenthetical

Barrie in California at Barrie Summy

Kyran in Arkansas at Notes to Self

Rachel en France at This Provencal Life

Kellan in Texas at On the Upside

Nell in Maine at Mama Goose

Tanis in Alberta at Attack of the Redneck Mommy

Hope I got everyone's names and locations right and that takes us in a few different directions. Enjoy the tour!

Thanks Karen for tagging me, it did make me think about why I do love my boys.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It was a Perfect Day

(Photo courtesy of the Toronto Star)
Jessica & Bella

Last Thursday the sun finally shone and I went riding for an hour and a half. For the first time since I met Jazz I wasn't wearing gloves, a down vest, Barbour jacket, a balaclava and toe warmers in my boots. I have been waiting for this day since Christmas and I didn't take a single picture. So I guess I will have to try and describe it.

We rode down from the barn along the road and spread out in front of us was Georgian Bay, as blue as the Mediterranean Sea. Off to the east we could see the ski hills still snow covered and the fanatics still skiing. The fields we rode past were brown with just the faintest tinge of the green winter wheat which stubbornly grows under the snow. Pussy willows were starting to bud on branches and the birds were singing up a symphony from all directions. We crossed the highway without too much trouble, cars slowed down to watch us, one father stopped and rolled down the back window so his young daughter could wave at us. We headed for the comfortable footing of the Rail Trail and a chance to stretch Jazz and Sultan's legs. It was bliss.

But this morning I woke to 6 inches of snow and a story that has taken much of the joy out of that ride.

Local police are investigating a hit-and-run involving one of Canada's top equestrians after she and her talented young horse – which had to be humanely put down by the side of the road – were struck on a rural side road earlier this week.

"Bella suffered so much," recounted Jessica Ruppel, who was riding the promising 3-year-old bay Hanoverian filly when a pickup truck smashed into them. "She was trying to get up and thrashing and whinnying. It was just horrible."

Veterinarian Jim Mitchell gave the filly medication for shock and fought for two hours to save her as she lay in the mud, covered with blankets. But when it was found she not only had internal injuries, but a shattered pelvis, the decision was made to humanely destroy Bella right there to end her suffering.

"I'm pretty shattered by this whole thing," Ruppel said in an interview yesterday.

Ruppel, who suffered a black eye and other bruising, said they were hit by a light-coloured pickup truck just 125 metres from the barn driveway Tuesday about 5:50 p.m. while out on a fun ride with friend Monica Wolfe on her appaloosa Kirby.

Ruppel, 25, is a fixture on the North American Three-Day Event scene and is currently on the list for Canada's 2009 team in the Olympic discipline, which combines show jumping, cross country jumping and dressage in a three-day format.

Just last year, Ruppel spent months recovering from a broken back suffered in a riding accident.
Ruppel said the truck was heading down the narrow gravel road at a high speed when she began waving her arms at the driver in an attempt to get him to slow down. The riders moved their horses to the far side of the road, but the driver made no attempt to slow, she said.

"He was going quite fast. I made eye contact, but he wasn't on his side of the road," Ruppel said. "He didn't move over, he just held his speed and his line and he hit us."

Ruppel said the truck, which had damage to its front driver's side, stopped and the driver and passenger got out.

"He yelled at me something like `what were you doing on the road?' and then got back in his vehicle and drove away," she added.

We were riding on that same stretch of road. How can people be so cruel and inhumane? I am going to spread the word throughout our little community in the hopes that the driver of the truck is caught and punished severely.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Happy 1st Birthday River!

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