"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, November 29, 2011

Getting Crafty

Two summers ago my mother sold her parents cottage and in the clean out process I came home with a bag of old wool blankets. I said then that I was going to turn them into pillows and now, two and a half years later I have. Hopefully I can post photos of the others that my grandmother wrote her name in black marker across the Hudson's Bay Company label on - twice. They are the perfect gift for my Mum and aunt who never want anything.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Simple Things - The First 25

I know this has been done many times before and has been and will be done in a much wittier or more creative way by others but it was a quiet day at work so here are my 25 simple things. Wish that I had the time to illustrate them with wonderful photos, maybe I will ... someday.

  1. Sleeping in a freshly made bed
  2. Opening the first page of a book I couldn't wait to read
  3. The first snowfall of the season
  4. Listening to my children laugh or sing together
  5. Laughing with my brother and sister
  6. Paddling through the morning mist on our lake
  7. Sitting on the dock with coffee, the paper and a warm sticky bun
  8. The smell of a wood fire burning on a cold night
  9. An unexpected message from a friend
  10. The smell and touch of a just bathed baby
  11. Galloping across a wide open field
  12. Peonies, daisies and lilacs
  13. Hearing the perfect song at the perfect time
  14. The quiet of sounds muffled at night by a blanket of snow
  15. The smell of freshly baked bread
  16. Looking at their baby pictures with my boys
  17. Being alone at the cottage
  18. Being with friends and family at the cottage
  19. Plain white china
  20. Fall colours, cozy sweaters and leather boots
  21. The smell of the barn - horses, leather and hay
  22. Afternoon naps on the porch in the summer
  23. Afternoon naps under a cozy duvet during the winter
  24. Seeing an elderly couple holding hands
  25. Hearing silence and discovering that everyone is reading
What are the simple things you love?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Look Ma! My hand

My lifelong dream to become a model was fulfilled this past August when my SIL, a very talented photographer (you can see her work here) asked me to model for Suetables. You can buy any or all of these wonderful bracelets here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

If ever I loved a book by its cover, this is it

I didn't wait for the paperback edition or buy it for my Kobo and I haven't even started reading it yet but I just know.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Monday Musings

Had a fun night out on Friday to celebrate a friend's birthday on 11-11-11. First there was a delicious dinner catered by Azzura (I will have to try to recreate the maple-glazed gnoochi) then we went out in search of a place to dance which up here in November isn't easy. We did make it to the pub where seven lovely women of a certain - shall we say middle - age were all told by the scruffy looking bouncer at the door that if at least one of us didn't have ID none of us were going in. Really? Of course not one of us had even brought a purse and carried nothing other than a credit card since we had very responsibly cabbed it over. We all looked at the barely post-adolescent man-child at the door and said, "Seriously?" It's November, shoulder season for the restaurants and bars in our resort area, the pub was empty and we were seven, count 'em, seven credit card-carrying women on a Girls Night Out. Finally he relented and said he's let us in that night but if we came back again we'd better have ID. It wasn't even flattering, just annoying and silly.

The place was quiet but by 11pm it started to fill up with people who should be asked for ID and the band was good. They got us up and dancing with some Stones covers and then jammed the floor with lots of great eighties tunes. But by midnight I was fading, only downside of cabbing over was that I either had to wait for the others to call it a night or pay for a cab by myself to get home. I began to pretend to drink my beer as the others kept downing theirs and I stayed out on the dance floor to make sure that I wasn't going to be too hungover in the morning. Most of the others were staying over at the birthday girl's place but I was going home and mornings still come bright (at least since the time change last weekend) and early with my kids. The strategy worked and we even scored a ride home with a friend so not only did the evening cost me next to nothing I really did feel fine the next day and I had a lot of fun. So (note to self) always dance at least 20 minutes for every drink consumed that way you burn off the calories and pre-empt the hangover. And that, I will point out the next time I'm asked for ID, is something you only learn with age.

A phone conversation with my mother gave me a bit of a pause when she asked how I was and I replied that I was a little blah but probably just pre-menstrual. She said, "Oh, you haven't started menopause then?" No, I hope I haven't. Of course, that isn't a conversation we have had at all and I guess, kind of like the one we had when I was 13, it should come sooner rather than later. So, instead of pursuing it with her, I went on-line and found this book to read instead. I'll let you know if it helps explain the blahs.

Another recent Amazon.ca purchase has been a real hit around our house. I am now an Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day convert. The only problem is that while it really doesn't take long to make - it takes even less time to eat! This afternoon I am going to show Number One Son (the big eater) how to make his own bread, but first I have to go and buy the 10 kilo bag of flour. I will post some fresh-baked pictures soon.

Number One Son made it home safely from Colorado and had an incredible time. As a friend of mine said, "Don't you wish you were your own kid?" Yup, skiing for ten days with friends, stalking Lindsey Vonn on and off the slopes, snowball fights in the hot tub, that's the life I want.

Still trying to figure out Twitter but really can't justify the time. I have a couple of friends and bloggers whom I follow but I just don't get the whole #hashtag thingy. And really, unless you're some famous person who has fans hanging on your every move then who needs to know what you are doing minute-by-minute in 142 characters. Or is is words?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Empty Fridge Syndrome

Kyran over at Planting Dandelions has written a very timely post for me. In it she talks about trying to set priorities in her home, family, work and the outside world. As a SAHM who works two days a week I find it very hard to prioritize these days. Especially since the number one thing at the top of my To Do List every day is grocery shop. As some of you may know I have three boys and while only the eldest has entered teendom recently he is already eating us out of the proverbial house and home. My days are spent worrying about what to feed him as he is an athlete in training and very concerned about the quality of the fuel he puts in his body - no junk food or other fast fill-me-ups, he expects meat or fish, vegetables and all in vast quantities. I buy carrots and potatoes in ten pound bags, pasta is the over-sized no name brand, multiple bags of milk (it is sold packaged in three one litre bags here in Ontario) and I have started to look more closely at the half-off meat section (I know, but I figure if it's good until two days later than I can freeze it right away and it will keep)

And this is only with one eating like a teenage boy. Because my Other Half and I were so regular in the reproductive cycle, our boys are exactly each two years apart from one another which mean when Number Three is 13, his brothers are 15 and 17 and all will still be at home. The eldest won't be off to university until he's 18 which means I have at minimum two years when I will be feeding them all and if any of them decide to apply a fabulous programme they offer at our high school which I sincerely hope they do, they could be home for a fifth year of high school.

Now math was never my strong suit but here is my attempt at the calculations (Beth, you can let me know if I am being overly optimistic)

3 boys - ages 13 to 18
5 years x 3 boys = 15 years of teenage boy appetites

I can't even begin to calculate the sheer volume of milk drunk, bread toasted, cereal bowls filled, steaks consumed, carrots and potatoes peeled. It staggers the mind.

So, as for the list of priorities?

  1. Re-join Costco
  2. Make friends with an egg and beef farmer
  3. Invest in a new bread machine
  4. Encourage the boys to go fishing after school (the salmon are running as I type in the river right at our doorstep)
  5. Teach them all to make scrambled eggs, spaghetti and grilled cheese to start

I have often said that I don't want to be the mother-in-law who my daughters-in-law hate so now is as good a time as any to start them in the kitchen, Number One Son has already mastered the BBQ and is learning to follow a recipe. Next stop? The laundry room. After all, it's all about priorities, right?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday, Monday. Can't trust that day

I have been on hold with Air Canada for the last 20 minutes trying to figure out why my son was charged $150 for his three bags while his friend who checked in at the next desk was charged $50 for the exact same number of bags with identical contents.

I had to drag Number Two Son out of bed this morning and force him to pack his things for a three day class trip to the Outdoor Education Centre. This is the kid who has gone to camp for a month for the past three summers but for some reason he didn't want to go even though the weather forecast is great and his older brother had a ball when he went in Grade 6.

My Other Half and I had a little couple time this weekend when my Dad took the two boys for Saturday night. We went all out, as old married couples do and rented a movie, got sushi and sat in front of the fire. Went to bed early and enjoyed the extra hour of sleeping in. And when we went to pick up the boys around 10am we found they had gone off on a adventure with their grandfather which consisted of driving down the highway looking for cool cars and ending up at the Bass Pro Outlet where they bought a giant stuffed fish. We went home and planted some bulbs, put away the boats, put compost on the vegetable garden and had lunch outside on a patio. Bliss for a few extra hours.

No riding this week as deer hunting season has started. Despite the gorgeous warm weather it's definitely not worth the risk of getting shot at by some yahoo who can't tell the difference between a rider on a horse and a white tail deer.

Numer One Son has called every evening and seems to be doing well despite some drama amongst his roomates. Apparently one of the boys has never been away from home and can't sleep so his solution is too keep everyone else up. His mother's solution is to move my son so her's can room with another boy. My solution? Don't send your son on a trip like this if he isn't ready to go.

I have now been on hold for 35 minutes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

And he's off

Number One Son and his Dad in Colorado - age 6

I'm up at an ungodly hour because my Other Half and Number One Son left an hour ago to head to the airport. He is off on his first solo trip with his ski team to Colorado for ten days. Of course after saying goodbye - twice - I couldn't get back to sleep but luckily neither of the other boys have woken up yet. I am so excited for him but unbelievably nervous. Nervous about the airport, they have 15 kids travelling with three coaches and travelling nowadays is so much more complicated than when I took my first trip alone. Then, of course, there's the worry about the fact that they are going to train for ski racing and will be spending all day, every day careening down the mountain at crazy speeds. He has a North American plan on his phone so he can call and text us when ever he wants which won't be often enough for me but at least I can remind him to brush his teeth via text. He didn't take my advice to pack a pair of underwear and his toilet kit in his carry-on bag since for him the only priority is that the airline doesn't lose his ski or boot bag. Clean underwear be damned.

Back when I took my first solo trip to visit a friend in Colorado for Spring Break things were very different. I think we arrived at the airport less than an hour before the flight and my Dad might have even been allowed to come to the gate with me. Today they will be checking in two hours in advance in the hopes that they all make it through customs and security in time to board the plane. We had to make sure he has enough cash to pay all the baggage fees at check in on the way home even though the surcharges added to the cost of the ticket were already well over $100. But Number One is a seasoned traveller, he knows how to stand in line, remove his shoes at security and hopefully they will have a few luggage carts to carry all the skis since manoeuvring three bags through the customs maze will be tricky.

Carry on bag circa 1980 (14 year old girl)
  • Seventeen magazine
  • paperback copy of latest Judith Krantz novel
  • toilet and make up kit with lots of hair scrunchies
  • Le Sport Sac bag to hold everything
  • laminated birth certificate
  • American cash to shop at the GAP (which hadn't yet come to Canada)
  • reminder to buy film, take pictures and send post cards to my grandparents
Carry on bag 2011 (13 year old boy)
  • Archie comic digest
  • Kobo ereader loaded with sci fi series, iPod, Blackberry with three different chargers
  • sandwich, granola bars (since the airline only takes credit cards to buy food on board)
  • Billabong back pack to hold everything
  • passport, letter of consent to travel alone across the border
  • debit card to shop for gifts for his brothers ;-)
  • reminder to take pictures and send them in emails to his grandparents

So I will be spending the day nervously waiting to hear they have arrived safely or at the very least I hope to get a text ;-)

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