"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, April 24, 2012

Random Tuesday Ramblings

  • 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

This just about sums up my weekend

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

Sure Signs of a Mid Life Crisis

Here's the post that was supposed to go with the silver snakeskin shoes.

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.

The crisis began a while ago but escalated while I was preparing for my mother's 70th birthday. As I scanned old photos of her and we asked old friends and family to write something in her honour the emails began to pour in from her childhood, school, camp and life-long friends. Although she now has very little contact with most of these people they all contributed the most wonderful words. She was a role model for so many as a camp director. She did so much as a young mother at home and in our community - renovating a falling-down farmhouse, writing a newspaper column, organizing an after-school programme, bringing performing arts groups to our small, rural community. She tapped, trees, boiled sap and bottled homemade maple syrup and started vegetables from seed. Does anyone does that anymore? As I wrote in a previous post she created a home which everyone loved. My greatest fear is that I can't and won't ever measure up to either of my parents. I guess it's time to wake up and figure out what to do now.

But of course the real sign that I am officially in a mid-life crisis is that I spent over an hour in Winners yesterday trying on shoes and was completely incapable of making a decision. I need something to wear on a daily basis other than my Blundstone boots and running shoes. Something cute but grown up and I also needed a pair to wear with a black dress to a gala honouring my Dad (don't even get me started on his accomplishments, he retired at 44, for god's sake) I wanted something fun but classic and I was completely stumped looking at all the shoes. Most were way too high for me to even attempt to wear and the rest were just ugly. I finally found these and had to take picture and send it to my best friend who lives and works in the real world to see if I was way off base.

So, the verdict was that the silver snakeskin makes them fun while the classic style means they aren't tacky. Right?

I think I obsessed over them to take my mind off the horoscope.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What Makes a House a Home

I've finally changed the banner photo on this page since the snow is long gone and when we rode yesterday I noticed that the apple trees that were in the old picture are about to bloom. Time marches on whether we are ready or not. The photo I chose for the banner is one I scanned on the weekend when I spent the day at my Mum's house looking through old albums. We are putting together a Memory Book for her 70th birthday later this month and I was in charge of discreetly making copies of her pictures. I gave up on the discreet and finally told her I needed to dig out all the albums. We sat together as I scanned and laughed and talked about the pictures. She and her parents were avid photographers although, truth be told, they took fantastic nature shots but crappy shapshots. Many of them were original 3x3 prints and not great quality but my brother who is putting together the book assures me he can "antique" them or something so they look cool, not out of focus.

It was a bittersweet day, my parents divorced 15 years ago after 32 years of marriage and no one ever really understood why. It was hard going through all the old family photos especially the ones of them together. They were so young, my Mum was only 24 when I was born and I realized as I looked through the years that she only a year older than I am now when I got married.

The photo is of the farmhouse where I grew up in one of its earliest incarnations. It was added on to many times, the front porch was redone in a style more befitting its Georgian roots and the gardens became more and more elaborate. I love the photo because it shows how simple things were when my parents first moved us out of the city to what most people then considered the sticks (it's now hemmed in by subdivisions). Mum stayed there after my Dad moved out for a few more years before she sold it and built a new house. The farm was the most incredible place, the centre of our world no matter how far we travelled (see previous post). My Other Half and I moved back in several times in between houses and my Mum made sure we always had a room. She actually left our childhood rooms much as they were when we were growing up. My had the same striped wallpaper and floral trim along the ceiling, the only change was she put in a queen sized bed for us.

Last night I asked my kids for their memories of the farm where they spent weekends and holidays with their grandmother. It's strange to think that they don't associate it with my Dad even though he was one the one who physically created it while Mum gave it soul. He was the engine and she was the heart. He built the riding ring, taught me to drive standard in the back field while she threw wonderful parties and welcomed all our friends. We used to joke about the "broken wings" Dad would find and bring home for Mum to look after. People having a tough time in life who would come to the farm and stay for as long as they needed to. Dad would travel, climb mountains, write books about it then return home to sit by the fire and talk with us or be at the head of the table expounding on his views while she was close by in the kitchen with friends putting together wonderful meals or making sure there were fresh flowers in the bedrooms.

Now that I am a wife, mother and have my own house I appreciate all the more what my Mum created at the farm. As a high school friend of mine said when I asked a few of them for their memories of Mum,

"We always knew that everyone was welcome at the farm, you never knew who would be there as it was a place people passed through, stayed to heal or came to feel the energy of the fun nights. That spirit of acceptance that Swebbs embodied permeated the farm and meant that, by extension, we all somehow felt that you could be yourself."

I worry that our house and, by extension, me are not that welcoming and accepting place for my kids and their friends which I know is so important as we go into the turbulent teenage years. My OH and I say that we want the boys to always be able to call home for a ride or help and we wouldn't question them. My parents created a safe haven for so many people but most importantly for my brother, sister and I and it's so important that we do the same for our children. And I know it's not the physical place that is important, it wasn't the farm because it had lots of bedrooms for people to crash or an indoor swimming pool or a barn full of toys. It was the feeling that my parents created whicheveryone experienced when they visited whether for an afternoon, overnight or a month. I've used the phrase "A Sense of Place" as a label for some posts but it was more than just the place, a farm is just a farm, a cottage just a cottage and an house isn't a home unless someone makes it one.
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