Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Away by Jane Urquhart
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
February by Lisa Moore
Two Solitudes by Hugh McClennan
The Age of Hope by David Bergen
If you have any other suggestions please let me know.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
- My lovely friend Alexa Reigh of the fantastic blog Your Inner Gosling introduced me to the Vancouver indie band Said the Whale and their video which is so cute although a wee bit creepy at times. But creepy in a good way.
- My eldest son left for Colorado this morning, lucky guy and made his first solo flight due to my OH screwing up the dates he was flying. Luckily I was printing out all his paperwork on Monday and noticed that the flight down was booked for Thursday not Friday with the rest of his ski team. I panicked, called my OH who said that someone else messed up. To which I replied, "Doesn't matter whose fault it is, he's going to get to Denver 24 hours before everyone else." I emailed an old friend to have her on standby to pick Ben up at the airport on Thursday and bring him back on Friday to meet the rest of the group but was actually able to switch his flight and unbelievably, it didn't cost me anything, they even owe me $30! The only down side was that he was on his own but would meet the rest at the other end. And he wasn't alone going through security and customs in Toronto as my OH had to head back down to Florida for another boat show and he timed his flight to leave just after Ben's so they could go through together.
- I went to my younger sons' school Remembrance Day assembly which brings me to tears every year. We have a military base nearby and there is always an active soldier who speaks to the kids. This year there were only three WWII veterans attending this year and I guess soon enough there will be none. Unfortunately there are still far too many younger veterans who can represent our country's military.
- I love the Lest We Forget movement which asks people not to put up their Christmas decorations until after the 11th. I've never been much of a early glitter and tinsel girl so our decorations don't go up until the first week of December and I was thrilled when I heard that customer complaints forced Shoppers Drug Mart to turn off the Christmas music they began playing as soon as the Halloween candy was off the shelves. They are waiting until Monday to start Jingle Bell Rocking although they have already Decked the Halls, of course.
- Better get my act together to face the weekend on my own with Sons Number Two & Three.
Monday, November 5, 2012
"Because of your age." It's okay now to deck out and turn up as the village idiot. Hooray! I am old enough. How does this happen? Over a certain age, do you become invisible? There is considerable evidence for this in movies and television. But mainly, I think, you're not expected to know the rules. Everyone knows you're operating on software that hasn't been updated for a good while."
That just about sums up how I am feeling these days, like my software needs an upgrade. Of course the rest of the address goes much deeper into where our world is headed and she is rather prophetic seeing what has been happening in the last few months.
Monday, October 29, 2012
- How do I want my home to feel? Calm and natural.
- How do I want my home to look? Interesting, cozy but uncluttered. I don't want it to look overdone.
- What purpose do I want my home to serve? To welcome everyone from my boys hanging out with their buddies to grown up dinner party guests or a big group of kids and adults together.
Friday, October 26, 2012
- The round up metaphor is apt as I seem to have a real country and western theme happening, or is it called just country now? Which ever, it is a bit of a fetish. Not sure the exact date that it started but it may have coincided with CBC Radio Two playing a lot of Mumford and Sons whom, I know, are English but their banjo-playing music is my fav right now. So if you haven't heard them, here is their latest single.
- After listening to that song over and over (it replaced Of Monsters & Men's Little Talks in my rotation) my newly-countrified outlook on life seemed to expand like cornbread in a skillet (sorry, I really shouldn't try to talk the talk) Other examples of this rather strange direction for a Northern girl includes receiving regular emails from Country Outfitters after I signed up to win a pair of cowboy boots. Now I already own two pairs but they don't look like these gorgeous ones. Of course I'd want all of them so I could have my own rainbow of boots in the closet.
- I already mentioned my wee blog crush on Edie at Life in Grace and now I am addicted to watching Nashville which is a wonderfully countrified show about a fading country singer, played by Connie Britton who is trying to keep her home, family and career together against a young, Taylor Swift-like singer played by Hayden Pannetierre. I love how they wear boots with everything and that even when they are saying something nasty, it comes out all sweet in that southern drawl.
- On a personal level, we've got a lot going on right now, but so what else is new? Number Three has settled in at school and things seem to be working well with his teacher although he still isn't doing enough reading. Number Two has started working with someone on his anxiety issues and he seems to be calmer at home which makes the whole house happier. Number One isn't happy at his school, he is bored and not having any extra-curriculars due to a Teacher Work-to-Rule isn't helping anyone. But he leaves in two weeks for Colorado to train and they are calling for snow here on Tuesday which will make everyone in our house happy. It will be thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Sandy which is making things difficult for my OH who is in Fort Lauderdale at a boat show. Last night he got back to his hotel only to be turned away as the power was out, he was able to get back in later but the question is whether the hurricane which is forecast to head north up the coast and wallop the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Maritime provinces will keep people away from the show this weekend. It's a long drive and a lot of money invested for us to have no one come.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Friday, October 19, 2012
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
My Other Half and I had exactly 48 hours alone all summer and we packed in as much as possible. I finally got him on a horse and he survived. We went sailing and had dinner out. Too short but we are planning another getaway to celebrate our *gasp* 23rd anniversary next month. The four days we are away next week delivering boats doesn't count.
So now everyone is back at school and relatively happy, Numbers 2 & 3 have the teachers they want. No. 3 went through some educational assessment testing this summer and his teacher is working on an IEP for him which we are greeting with enthusiasm but also with some trepidation as I am wary of too many accommodations being made so that he can get through school. But I have also found a wonderful after school tutor who will be henceforth be known as his "reading coach." Already he is happier at school, doing homework and in general.
Of course now that it is almost officially fall the boys are counting down the days til the *brrr* snow started falling and they can get back on their skis. No. 1 spent 10 days on a glacier at Mount Hood, Oregon and is keener than ever (if that is possible) He will be heading back to Colorado in November and No. 2 to Vermont in December. We are, if nothing else, a ski-crazy family, much like I imagine football or baseball-obessed people are down south.
No. 1 survived the first week of high school. The bus, the older kids, the maze of hallways and timetable and seems to be settling in. The only problem for all the boys is that there is a work action (or inaction depending on your view point) by our public school teachers which means there are no extra curriculars being offered. No school teams or clubs or extras which is particularly tough on No. 2 Son who has waited for 6 years to be able to try out for a school team in grade 7. I believe that both the government and the teachers are at fault this time but of course it is only the kids who are being affected.
What else? Let's see, I am no longer cheese mongering but rather spending more time on supporting our own business through the website and of course, tagging along on deliveries to places like Maine and Rhode Island where I can visit friends. I have started going to Pilates again and hope to get, if not back into shape, at lease be less creaky and cranky. Unfortunately I seem to be suffering from "Chuck It Elbow" a common affliction amongst owners of ball-obsessed dogs.
And, while there are no guaranties that I will be posting with any regularity for those of you who might drop by, I will attempt to put up something new to look at every once in a while, in the meantime I am on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest far too often of you want to find me.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
- haven't felt much like writing at all lately but then again I haven't felt much like doing anything
- finally went to the doctor to see if there was anything serious with all my aches, pains and general crappiness. X-rays and an ultrasound results declared that the general crappiness is completely self-induced and there is not a magic pill to fix it although, on the up side, my doctor did recommend regular massages :-)
- so I have to do something about it myself which includes moving my body but not houses (see moving post)
- as a direct result of the above I have been getting out of bed when I wake up and going for a half an hour or so walk most mornings which I actually enjoy although the world's laziest dog opted out after the first few days
- I went riding yesterday for the first time in six weeks and it was glorious so that is back on the schedule
- I am still in denial about summer activities for the boys. No. One will have a few grass cutting jobs but other than that he's on his own until he goes to Oregon to ski at the end of August. No. Two has one week scheduled in July then he's off to a new camp with his west coast cousin. No. Three Has nothing on and he's the one I'm most worried about. We are in the midst of doing Educational assessments with him and he is having a tough time at school and at home. The level of fighting in our house between 2 & 3 is off the charts and No. Two doesn't leave for camp until the end of July *gulp*
- My in-laws are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next weekend with a renewal of their vows and a dinner dance. They are an amazing couple, have overcome so many obstacles and stuck it out whenever the going got rough (which it did on several occasions) I put together a photo album of their life together from about ages 14 to 71. Truly inspiring.
- No. One is off on his Grade 8 trip to Ottawa this week and then graduation is on the 26th. He is hoping to win the Math and Phys Ed award which was made for him.
- I have decided that after the summer my career as a cheesemonger will be over. I need to find something that fulfils my need to be with people (mid-week retail in the off-season is a lonely place), some flexibility as my kids apparently still need me to boss around and an ability to help keep the boys in new skis (or at least poles)
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
It's hard to feel sorry for yourself when a friend is looking at months and months of recovery but who is still insisting her husband sign her up for hockey next winter. I spoke to AM's sister, M yesterday and she feels the biggest roadblock to AM's recovery is that she won't let go of all her motherly duties and focus on herself. She sends texts and emails in the middle of the night reminding her sister about the kids' schedules, she is worrying about what they are eating, wearing and doing every minute of the day which, of course is what all we mothers do but she has to try and relinquish these things to her sister and husband. The kids are being well cared for although it may not be exactly the way she would be doing it. But, as M said, "Their lives are not going to be the same, their mother is in the hospital and things have changed." The question down the road will be whether it may even be a change for the better. Like most families we know, AM's was as active as active can be. Four kids, all in sports, music lessons, extra tutoring and I mentioned they had just gotten a new puppy, right? Dad commutes by train downtown every day, they have a country place they use year round. They are, in short, healthy, athletic and everything you are supposed to strive for except that it might have all been too much. The doctors don't know what caused AM's stroke, they haven't found a connection to the surgery on her leg but her sister's theory is that it was a sign that AM needed to slow down for her own and the whole family's sake.
My Other Half's reaction to all this has been a little surprising. He, of course, is up to his eyeballs in boat orders and deliveries, he just did a 24 hour turn around, driving from here to New Hampshire and back. But he has hardly asked about AM and I wonder if it's because he doesn't want to think about the what if's. What if it was me in the hospital or even, what if it was him? His life is as stressful as they come, running his own business, responsible for four dependents as well as eight employees. He has never handled this time of year very well. He just hunkers down and plows through it with little time to rest, relax or even smile some days. AM certainly wasn't as extreme as my OH, she allowed herself to have fun, unfortunately one of the things she loved to do for herself was the thing that landed her in the hospital. Of course we don't know whether she would have had the stroke whether she had broken her leg or not but for me I worry that my OH is heading for a breakdown every year about this time.
So, as well as looking after myself, I have to make sure I keep an eye on S. Our sailboat was launched on Sunday, rechristened with a more appropriate name (although according to marine protocol we have invited back luck by not getting a virgin to pee on the deck before she went back in the water) and I have made it my mission to get S. out in it twice as many times as last year. Meaning eight times which is completely doable from now until October haul out. Just because we are in the boat business doesn't mean we get to spend all our time on the water and it is out there that S is really able to relax and do nothing. So in the interest of our health and well-being I vow to keep walking in the mornings and get S to join me when he is home. We will have fun with the boys and not spend all our time running them around from activity to activity.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
- We're all still recovering from my Mum's Birthday Weekend. I call it PTCT - Post Traumatic Cousin Letdown. No. 2 Son had the staples taken out of his head by a friend of ours on Sunday but I still haven't gotten around to posting any photos of all the fun.
- Soccer starts up again this week but luckily for us No. 3 has been moved up to play U12 and will be on the same team as his middle brother. On the pitch is about the only place where they get along so it's a win-win situation as we will only have soccer three nights a week instead of four and there's less driving to away games.
- Golf season is in full swing and the boys are taking full advantage of their junior memberships at my Dad's club. I love golf. It requires the boys to dress nicely, behave apprpriately and be out of the house for three or four hours.
- Haven't been riding in weeks but heard from my Dad that there is a woman organizing a riding programme for disabled children who is looking for help which could solve a couple of my problems. Working in the cheese shop isn't what it was, I am by myself on the two quietest days of the week and that's no fun and I really feel like I should be doing something more. Another problem is that when it's quiet in the shop I am bored and when I am bored I eat and did I mention I work in a gourmet cheese shop. Nibble, nibble ...
- No. 3 Son has been having problems at school again and I am getting a little tired of the way things are being handled. It seems that yesterday they had a class meeting to talk about any problems. It was to be a time to air any and all grievances and as No. 3 said, "Mum, they're all hypocrites." I was shocked, first because he used such a big word and second because he used it correctly. It seems the kids love to complain about any perceived slights and are all quick to tattle tale on others. The culture of Standing Up to Bullying appears to have reached the tipping point, at least in this Grade Four class where, if you have the slightest problem with a classmate, you accuse them of bullying. I know bullying is a real problem for many kids but much of what they are talking about in my son's class is regular day-to-day bickering amongst 9 and 10 year olds.
- I spent yesterday afternoon going through my closet putting together outfits that I could wear out for lunch or dinner or shopping. In other words, if I had anywhere to go that didn't involve kids, a not-very-well trained dog and mud. It was fun but a little pointless and I couldn't seem to take any decent photos of the outfits like all those "What I Wore" bloggers.
- I had the chance to buy a week in an Irish cottage for $800 plus airfare this September but of course the week is one when my OH is at a boat show (surprise, surprise). It's just not fair (to quote any one of my children) that these damn shows not only occur during the winter, spring, summer and now, apparently not wanting to be left out - fall.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
"Sometime during the night, after the surgery she had a stroke. It affected her right side and she cannot move her leg, arm and is having trouble speaking."
I didn't process this right away. The phone rang and D was on the line and said, "How can this have happened?" We must have opened up the email at exactly the same time. AM is my age. She is an athlete, she doesn't smoke and she is, as I always describe her, the goodest person I know. How can she have had a stroke? Immediately emails started flying around and over the past four days more information has been passed along and this morning I called the hospital and was able to talk to her for a few minutes. She is improving, can speak and is able to move her right leg. Her husband is commuting the 45 minutes from home to the hospital daily and they hope to move her closer to home next week. Her youngest and the two month old puppy they just got are staying with friends for the short term and her sister has flown home from Greece to take care of the kids. In the words of one friend, "the hockey, soccer and school Moms have moved in and have the older kids continuing with their regular routines." Of course meals are being taken care of and they are doing as well as can be expected.
I think what really hit me was the thought - it's not what people will say about you when you're gone but they'll do for you when you're still here and need them. AM has a close knit family and an incredibly diverse group of friends, many of whom have know her since birth. I met her when I was 13 but my Other Half has known her his whole life. She is the sort of person who comes into any situation and makes everyone feel at ease. She is a connector, bringing people together from all walks of life. She is one of the few religious people I know but never makes you feel uncomfortable about it. I have often envied her her faith.
I know she is going to recover but it is going to be a very long road. All the things she and her family have taken for granted will have to be rethought and reprioritized but if anyone can make it through what is to come it will be AM and the multitude of people who will be there to help.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
- Definitely don't like the new blogger format but then we all know I hate change
- April 24th and it's a Snow Day. WTF?! And yesterday I laughingly said, "yes" when the boys asked me if could they stay home if it was one ... sigh
- Still not sure if I will wear the silver snakeskin pumps on Friday night.
- Oh, get over yourself and wear them!
- Should spend some time practicing all the cool stuff I learned in my Intro to Photoshop course although I think that it's very sad that the Number One use for Cloning in Photoshop is to take people's ex's out of old pictures. I'm going to practice putting people randomly in places they never were, kind of like Forest Gump
- Love the fact that No. 2 Son always speaks in some kind of accent with his best buddy
- Only two more sleeps until my brother and his family arrive for our mother's 70th birthday weekend. Don't know who is more excited? The kids to see their cousins or me to hang out with my sibs
- Found this fabulous retreat via Kyran's Planting Dandelions and I really want to go. It's a Yoga/Writing/Photography retreat and since I had to cancel going to the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop I wonder if I wasn't meant to go to this one? It's perfect for me except for the fact that it is June 28th to July 2nd which is over our Canada Day Long Weekend and usually when everyone who has ordered a boat wants it delivered so my Other Half is always MIA. But it's a Yoga/Writing/Photography retreat and I really want to go
- Big changes may be coming where I work part time. Not sure if maybe it's a sign that I need to find something else to do or if I should throw myself into it and take on more responsibility and hours.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Two nights out in a row, at my advanced age is definitely something to celebrate. And we did. (Un)fortunately there is no photographic evidence (that I know of) from either Friday or Saturday night or either of the mornings after. All I know is that I must be maturing (finally) because I did not drink tequila and wisely stuck to champagne. My Other Half always seems to know what I need for my birthday and this year was no exception, dinner with seven of our oldest (and bestest) friends. I am very lucky to have them all in my life.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
It seems I can blame the mid-life malaise I have been experiencing over the last few weeks and months on the stars. And as if this wasn't enough of a wake up call for me as I jumped up and over the mid-life hump yesterday and landed on the downward slide to *gasp* fifty (doesn't look as shocking when written rather than the actual number) but even the venerable Globe & Mail horoscope knows I have to get my act together and figure out what the hell I am going to do in the second act of my life.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
- 1987 - lived together for first time in a lovely garden flat in London, England.
- 1988 - first apartment together in Toronto, again a ground floor with patio but moved up to the second floor when someone tried to break in while we were sleeping.
- 1989 - bought our first house in Toronto with original dark, gumwood trim, stained glass windows, ancient kitchen but huge backyard, painted the living room hunter green.
- 1990 - sold first house, considered moving to Vancouver then bought second, considerably smaller house one block away (this was during mini recession). Again, original trim, tiny kitchen, smaller garden, two bedrooms. Painted living room blue.
- 1993 - sold and moved to Kennebunkport, Maine while OH studied boat building. No rentals to be had before school started so bought lobster fisherman's shed behind big house with only second floor habitable. Ground floor was already inhabited by squirrels. Renovated with help of boat builders and painted living room cream.
- 1995 - packed up truck and drove across the continent to White Rock, B.C. on the Washington state border. Rented fifties bungalow and sponge-painted living room. Faux finish era.
- 1996 - lasted five months on Wet Coast and packed up truck to drive across continent back to Ontario (truth be told, OH did the driving while I flew with the dog)
- 1997 - built timber frame dream home on property next to the farm where I grew up. Painted living room hunter green again because, as painter said, everyone with a house like this does.
- 2001 - sold dream house because country living wasn't the life for me and moved back to old neighbourhood in Toronto. Painted over original dark trim with Benjamin Moore Cloud White and living room Ralph Lauren Golden Retriever or Yellow Lab
- 2007 - sold house in the city and moved to small town. Painted every strip of knotty f**king pine panelling Benjamin Moore Cloud White much to painter's distress and living room Berh's Clotted Cream.
- 2012 - bored of house, walls and trim trashed from three boys and friends. Eighties almond fibreglass bathrooms unbearable. Exterior nineties sage green paint peeling and blond floors scuffed. All easily fixable (with money) but much easier to just leave it behind and start fresh, right?
Friday, March 23, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Sunday was that most dreaded day of the year - Club Championships for the three ski racers in our family. Luckily for me my Other Half gave up racing when he became the sole proprietor of our business. There isn't enough disability insurance in the world to cover us if he was hurt and couldn't work. As for me? I am waiting until I am in the over 80 category when I hope I will be the only one left standing or at least with all body parts intact. My competitors will either have to enter in the Bionic category or else won't be walking after all the injuries and joint replacements they are already enduring in middle age. As for the boys, it was a learning year. All three were in the lower half age-wise of their categories so even Number Three wasn't expecting to be on the podium as he has done in years past. But he and his middle brother acquitted themselves well, coming in fourth and fifth respectably. Number One who works the hardest still has yet to break into the top ten of his group and it has been a frustrating year. He started out with high hopes after he got back from training in Colorado in November when his coaches told him he was one of the top skiers but as the season progressed he fell back into his old ways. No anxiety attacks this year but over-thinking every race. He is conservative and cautious by nature just like his father and that coupled with the fact that many of his peers have bulked up considerably and he is still skinny as a rail he just isn't quite there yet.
Saturday night he wasn't feeling great but was still game to go in the morning. He had an okay first run but fell in the second and when everyone gathered for the prize-giving he really wasn't feeling well but I told him we had to stay and cheer on his buddies. He lasted about halfway through the awards and then finally said he had to go home. My Other Half and I both went with him and left the other two with my sister. When we were almost home my sister called, screaming, "He won! He won! You missed it. He won!" Every year they award a trophy to the athlete who best exemplifies good sportsmanship and dedication. Earlier that afternoon, as we were walking the dog, I had remarked to my Other Half that I hoped this award would go to a kid who really deserved it, not just to another top racer who won all the time anyways as it seems to have over the past few years. Those kids get lots of recognition but the ones like my eldest who love the sport and try their best every time but just don't have that extra something to get on the podium, they rarely get recognized. Until now. As my sister relayed what the head coach had said about it being a unanimous decision voted on by all the coaches and the club cheered as my son's name was called, I couldn't believe we had missed it. I know that for my very shy son it would have been agony to go up on stage but for me, as a parent, a field that hands out very few awards for raising a great kid, I would have loved it. We did receive lots of congratulatory emails from our friends and the two little brothers were, of course more than happy to accept on his behalf. And, I know, it's not about me but I am going to make damn sure when he graduates from Grade 8 this June that I am in the front row to take all the credit for my wonderful first born.
Numbers Two and Three proudly accepting on behalf of their big brother
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother: The Official Biography