"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

Monday, November 30, 2009

I've Been Making a List

I've been making a list and checking it twice but it hasn't helped me with my Christmas shopping so far. But then I came across this comment from Emily of Remodeling This Life on The Nesting Place's post Do Less, Be More and I think it is going to be my motto this year.

"I am buying the kids four things this Christmas - something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read."

It is right on the money, if you'll excuse the pun.

It is so hard to get Christmas right. We all say it isn't about the gifts but turn on the TV or open the paper with all the "Must Have" lists. How is a kid supposed to think that it's not about the getting?

So starting with something they want - that's tough, is it something they really want or something they just think they want? Number Three Son thinks he wants a cell phone, he's seven years old!? What he really wants is a Christmas party with just his friends, I have already agreed to it. So I will be sending the older boys out while he and five buddies decorate ginderbread houses and make "stained glass" candles with tissue paper and play road hockey in the driveway.

Number Two thinks he wants a new gaming system but he really wants is riding lessons so I will wrap up a helmet and give him the little toy horse they gave me last year when I got Jazz for Christmas. (I think that will be the fifth type of helmet he will have, none are multi purpose)

Number Three is a hard one, he says he doesn't want anything and he really doesn't so I will have to think a little harder for him.

Something they need ... hmmmm ... Number One needs a new ski jacket and the one he did say he wanted is expensive so maybe I can kill two birds with one stone with that one. Of course, it is also something to wear but I don't think I can roll them all into one.

Number Two needs a room of his own but that isn't going to happen this year but maybe I can make curtains to go around his bunk so that he has some privacy and he can keep his light on and read a little later than Number Three. And the youngest needs more one on one time with either of his parents so I have to find something that he and I can do together without the other boys.

Now as for something to wear - that's easy, they all go through ski socks, mitts and long underwear as if they were made of paper so I will stock up on all of the above and throw in some cool hoodies and hats to make it fun.

Finally my favourite - something to read. Number One is a bookworm but reads so fast and we are lucky enought to have a wonderful public library that he visits on the way home from school as often as he needs so finding a book that he hasn't read is a little harder. He loves series, devoured Pokemon when he was younger, then the wonderful Screech Owls hockey books by Roy McGregor and now is into the Darren Shan Cirque de Freak which the movie The Vampire's Assistant is based on.

Number Two hasn't taken to reading the way I thought he might but if I get that curtain made he might be more inclined if it means he can stay up later. There must be a horsey series with a boy for a main character out there.

And for Number Three, he is struggling so hard with his reading I want to encourage him with something that he won't find too young and will capture his interest without discouraging him if it's too hard to read. If you have any suggestions for any of the above, please let me know.

So that's the four things for the kids, as for My Other Half who always spoils and surprises me I am always at a loss. Maybe I'll go with the four things for him as well, not that that will make it any easier. Sigh ... let's hope we can stay up late enough on Christmas Eve so we don't get caught stuffing stockings again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Thank god it is Wordless Wednesday and I can just put up some photos and do not have to write a proper post. Enjoy!

Number Two Son off to bring Jazz up from the pasture for a ride
( I never get tired of that view)

Number Two and the Jazz King looking very regal in his purple rain sheet

Number Two has taken to riding my gentle giant like he was born on a horse.
To quote him, "Mum, I'm a natural just like you."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Meet Me

Hey, check out wenchwire's interview with yours truly. Then go and see who else is talking during the Great Interview Experiment by Citizen of the Month.

(Whew, that was an easy post)

Friday, November 20, 2009

An Interview with WackyMummy

A while back on one of my many, "I'll just click on another blog that so and so reads and see where it takes me" episodes I found myself on Citizen of the Month. It is a very clever blog by Neil Kramer and he started The Great Interview Experiment two years ago. I won't say too much about it as you should go check them out for yourself but I ended up meeting two very interesting bloggers - WackyMummy whom I interviewed and the Wench who interviewed me. Of course I haven't finished answering all of the Wench's though-provoking questions just yet so you will have to stay tuned to find out why I call myself Sybil and what one word describes each member of my family (I promise they won't all be four letter)

But on to Wacky Mummy and her witty answers to my Diane Sawyer-esque questions.

I started with any easy one - What is the difference between a Mummy and a Mommy?

A "u" instead of an "o" (Duh)

Next, a more personal question - When did you get your first camera and what did you take pictures of with it?

Answer? I don't actually remember, but the first one I remember was one that took 110 film. I got my first 35mm when I was 16. I have yet to get a "real camera", one that isn't "point and shoot". Yes, I'm a complete poser. (You'll find this hard to believe when you check out her photos)

Now for the question we all ask ourselves. When and why did you start blogging?

I started blogging about a year and half ago, trying to find a grasp on my life. I was going through a rough patch with feeling so isolates (living in the country, not having nearby friends, not being near anyone I know and loved) and not having a clue with how to be a mom ... I thought it was a shot in the dark to reach out and, through the medium of the internet and bitching about my life, I could connect with others and feel a real sense of kinship and community. And guess what? It worked! I don't subscribe only to so-called "Mommy blogs", but anything that includes humor/sarcasm/irony/photography/kids. I'm very eclectic. I'll ready anything that gets my attention. My favourite things to read right now, other than cereal boxes, are dinosaur encyclopedias (to my son).

And now we get even more personal - Who was your first blog crush?

You'll have to track me down sometime in the future and ask me again. I have yet to have it. I will say that my most memorable crush was David Hasselhoff back when Knight Rider was fresh and new (yes, I am that old ... and that weird), and my most recent (and current) crush is Enrique Iglesias. You can stop puking anytime now.

No puking here, historical crushes are far more interesting. I'll admit to a fascination with the brothers Cassidy. But on to the next question - When your son grows up you want him to be ...?

A major league baseball player.


Because of all the sports franchises they make the most money and have the least chance of dying from impact wounds. What will he actually be? Probably a paleontologist. That's a word he knows.

How would most of your friends describe you?

Friends? I have friends? Where are they? They would call me funny. And high-strung but easy-going. And easy to talk to. And quite neurotic.

How would someone who just met you describe you?

Weird. But easy to talk to. And sweet.

Are you a Maritimer (meaning from or living in the Martime provinces on Canada's east coast) by birth or by choice?

Neither. Is that an answer? Actually technically it's by choice, but in my defense I didn't know what I was getting into, and if I had known today I wouldn't have moved here. I would have stayed in sunny Southern California. But then I wouldn't have had by beautiful soon-to-be paleontologist or attempted blogging. And I've learned so much over the past almost-five years that I should probably be appreciative of that. But I'm not some days. Acceptance is a work in progress.

Thanks to WackyMummy for particpating in the Great Interview Experiment. It was fun meeting and getting to know another blogger working on acceptance and confessing to being neurotic. So go check out Citizen of the Month and read some more of the interviews. It makes the blogosphere a little bit smaller and a whole lot friendlier.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday at the Beach

Sometimes you might want to be alone ....

Or you might want to go swimming ....

Be sure to have a lifeguard (or two)

You never know who else you might find there.
(captions don't count as words, right?)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oh, what a night

It's finally over, the fundraiser I had been organizing with a friend for the past three months is done and it was fantastic. All my sleepless nights, almost cancelling when we though no one was going to come - all for nought. People came, over 150 of them and they ate, drank, bid at the auction and danced. Oh, did we dance. It has been far too long since my Other Half and I really let loose. The best part was that I didn't drink much as I was in charge of the auction that didn't start until 10 o'clock so I was sober and when I finally could have a drink or two, it really was only one or two, maybe three and I felt fine in the morning.

It was so much fun to get dressed up and I was even able to put together an outfit from the depths of my closet. A LBD that I bought at Target a couple of years ago fit perfectly and had a great swingy skirt, I threw on a sparkly black cardigan to start the evening in and quickly shed it as we heated up the dance floor. All I had to spring for was a new black bra and a pair of stockings. I was even daring enough to wear stay ups as I hate pantyhose, just had to be sure I didn't twirl the skirt too high. Of course I didn't get a photo of how great everyone looked but we joked that we could have done one of those "How to find the LBD that's right for you" articles. There were six women all different heights and shapes, all in great LBD's and everyone looked fabulous.

It was one of those nights when everything came together, even if it was at the last minute. Something I am, truth be told, known for. We had a great committee but you know the feeling when in the end it all comes down to the ones who said they'd throw the party. My co-host is the most laid back person and nothing phased her. When I thought we should postpone it as ticket sales a week ago were dismal she said, "Even if it's only 75 people, we're having a party." Others got involved, a band was booked and wine ordered and suddenly it happened. We raised about $20,000 for the Medical Clinic being built in our town and showed some community spirit. Even the older crowd who found the band a little loud got out on the dance floor and bid on the ski vacation and golf membership.

At one point I went outside to cool off and looked out at the half moon rising over the Bay and thought, this is why I live here - it is a place where I can be a part of things, help to make a difference and have fun doing it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Christmas Conundrum

I know Halloween has hardly been laid to rest and you south of the border have Thanksgiving to stress over but bare with me while I reminisce about the days when Christmas was about the boxes the gifts came in and the wrapping paper. It was about the shiny lights on the tree and going to the small town Santa Claus parade where the best float was the a flatbed truck with a couple of hay bales thrown on for Mary & Joseph to sit. Back when we had to stay up far too late Christmas Eve assembling the all wooden, Waldorf School-approved barn. When Christmas morning last hours because of all the dollar store animals I hid in the tree and the boys had to find. Now, my boys have never been ones for sleeping in but there was a time, not so long ago that we had to wake them up to open their stockings. (Actually it was their grandfather who had slepAdd Imaget over and had been awake since 4am waiting for them to come and get him.)

Back in the good old days the gifts were plentiful but inexpensive, some blocks, a toy car or two and a Thomas the Tank Engine video (Yes, a video. For a VCR. I told you this was a while back). Then we moved up the gift scale to dinosaur books and figures, stuffed animals and stockings were filled with more dollar store items like plastic tools and Christmas socks and although the Thomas Brio trains weren't cheap, they were made of wood and I have kept every piece.

Then we entered the LEGO era which while more costly at least kept them busy for hours, days and even years later they still play with it making even better ships than the 10 pages of instructions resulted in. Star Wars became the default gift for Christmas and birthdays replacing everything Bat and Spider Men. Videos were replaced by DVD's and the first Game Boy weaseled it's way into our house thanks to a seven year old's broken leg in January.

It's been all down hill since then. And the Inversion Equation of Gifts has begun to apply. The formula applied to all items means that they are getting smaller while costing more and the next generation of Nano or DS or Xbox is out before they even figure out how to work the damn thing. What is wrong with this picture? I got my first clock radio when I was sixteen and I "borrowed" the old cassette player from my Dad's workshop to take to university.

And to add insult to injury last Christmas Eve our eldest, at age 10 (turning 11 a week later) caught us in the act. Yes, The Act. Wrapping presents and signing you-know-who's name on the tags. We thought everyone was asleep, I even went up stairs to listen for irregular breathing. It was the proverbial (literarial?) "not a creature was stirring" hour. So we set to it, got out the separate wrapping paper for the presents from you-know-who and got busy. Not long after I had poured my third glass of Bailey's on the rocks (our traditional Christmas Eve beverage) I heard stirring, then whimpering, then full on wailing and it wasn't carollers outside. It was Number One Son in full melt down.

He really had no idea. This was his 11th Christmas and he still believed. I don't know who was more upset him or me? At first I though, "Aw, come on, you had no idea? No one had said anything at school? No hints or whispers in the playground?" If there were he didn't hear them. We were officially The Worst Parents Ever. It took him an hour to calm down and we gave him the spiel about being Santa's helpers and the spirit of Christmas being the giving not Santa and that he could stay up next year and help (but no Baileys for him) and most importantly that if he ever wanted to get another gift ever again he was, under no uncertain circumstances, to tell his little brothers. Ten months later and so far so good. Which leads me back to my conundrum. And sorry if this post is starting to look like a page from the Future Shop catalogue, I like to illustrate my rants.

What the hell do I get them for Christmas? Number One says he doesn't know what he wants. He lost his iPod which he had bought with his own money (he never loses anything) so do we replace it? And if it was a Nano do we get him the same one? Which, of course isn't the same because in the span of six months Apple has spawned two or three new generations of the damn things (kind of like the Star Trek Tribbles) which now cost almost the same as a iPod Touch.

Of course getting one of those would cause problem for Number Two who has my old iPod Classic and would flip if his brother got a Touch. And then Number Three would lose it because he is the only one who doesn't have one but he is seven for god's sake and doesn't even listen to music.

Now Number Two wants a PSP even though he already has a DS (I apologize for all the acronyms but I'll be damned if I am going to spell out all the brand names, so bear with me) and Number Three wants an xBox so he can play Halo?! Halo is one of those sniper shooting war games that I swore would never enter my house even if we are "the only ones who don't have it!"

We do have a Wii which I love because it doesn't have war games unless you count archery in Mario & Sonic go to the Olympics or the shooting in the Biathlon in the Winter Olympics. We also, I am ashamed to admit, have a Play Station 2 which is as old as the hills but came with Sing Star which is a karaoke game and we all love it. So needless to say our electronics quota is full and other than getting the new Winter Olympics game for the Wii there isn't much else I am willing to buy. Any thoughts other than unplugging everything and everyone and getting Monopoly 2.0? But you don't want to get me started on the so-called upgrading of classic board games.

Maybe I'll bust out the Thomas train tracks and set them up around the Christmas tree and see how that goes over?
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