Monday, July 25, 2011

The 2011 Canadian Chronicles: What Did You Do On Friday?

Here is my Friday blow by blow:
1. Wake up at 5:30.
2. Ruth asks what that terrible sound is. Turns out our bazillion year old beer fridge (which actually holds more meat than beer) is making a sound loud enough for the neighbors to hear. This sound can only be described as a pre-EXPLOSION sound.
3. Transfer all food and drinks out of unplugged beer fridge and squeeze everything into our kitchen fridge.
4. Round up donations for the Salvation Army, four bags of garbage, luggage for three, dog food and road trip breakfast snacks. Put all of that stuff in the car.
5. Drive two hours to Ottawa. Almost run over a bunny somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
6. Stop for gas.
7. Scope out random locations to put garbage in different garbage bins. One at Quiznos. One at Harveys.
8. Make a u turn for a donation drop box. Darn, it only took clothing! Still driving around with 4 boxes of books.
9. Stop and visit an ATM.
10. Battle construction and arrive at the dog groomers early.
11. Hit a greasy spoon, find two hairs in our food.
12. Walk around neighborhood, decide to drive to a store.
13. Drive 15 minutes & get call from ready!
14. Maneuver second u turn of the day.
15. Drive all of the way back.
16. Can't find parking, give girls $60 to run in and get dog.
17. Dog's bath actually costs $63, but the guy was feeling nice???
18. Drive to parking structure.
19. Check in early (thank you Westin!)
20. Go for walk with dog, eat lunch at Memories.
21. Pass out at 1:30
22. Freshen up, make a dinner reservation and out to dinner.
23. Get to dinner, no reservations to be found?
24. Watch the Lion King at the NAC.
25. Walk dog.
26. Fell into bed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Past Canadian Chronicles: Travel Compatability

The first holiday debate ended amicably years ago. We chose a civilized approach to the holidays and trade off celebrating with each side of the family each year. It is very predictable and works very well for all concerned.

The other classic debate we have is over travel: do you fly the red eye or do you take the 6 am flight?

I get no sleep either way, so I might as well fly the red eye and have my kids at least sleep while we are making time to our destination.

I think this is much the same debate that parents have about night drives. Do you drive all night to take advantage of the peace and quiet of sleeping children? I grew up with a night driver, so I, of course like this idea.

George is a day driver. He is a speeding, maniac day driver. He has the tunnel vision of a coal miner with a headlight. He points the car in the direction of the destination and it takes a medical emergency or natural disaster to steer him off course. This includes use of the bathroom and eating.

If you need to go the bathroom, you have to make it abundantly clear that it's an emergency and you have to do it at the first twinge. If you are not direct and clear on this front, you could wind up trying to pee into a ziplock bag, and this is very tricky and mostly doesn't work.

In my family, eating is one of the best parts of a road trip. You buy all of the secret forbidden snacks and proceed to eat them randomly and continuously for the duration of the road trip. Of course, rules dictate that the trip must be over four hours in order to buy entire bags of doritos and assorted childhood favorite candies that you no longer allow yourself to buy in public daylight.

Shorter trips beckon fast food restaurants with poutine, onion rings and double cheeseburgers with bacon. I used to buy my snacks on the road from shady gas stations, but now I have to pre-hoard. There is no hairy eyeball to contend with from George if I pre-plan my menu.

This man believes in not eating the whole trip. You don't get the big gulp or the supersize fries, because then it warrants the aforementioned stop at the bathroom. Why would one leave their speed train and have to pass all of the semi trucks that you just got around again? You eat when you get there, even if it takes 7 hours.

Over the years, I've corrupted him a bit. He's put me more on the straight and narrow. The best thing about 15 years plus of marriage is that you can prepare and strategize for the arguments or roadblocks ahead of time.
I'll tell you one thing: if you try to pee one time in a ziplock bag and it doesn't work, your husband is more likely to make a genuine pitt stop in the future.

Monday, July 18, 2011


If you are reading this thinking that it will be about vampires and werewolves, you are barking up the wrong tree. Sorry for deceiving you.

This is about the light in our cottage closet.

I love this light. It has the most gorgeous glass and ironwork. It is from before the turn of the century. I saw it at my favorite antique lighting store and instantly fell in love. I tried to find a place for it somewhere in our light fixture void and came up with the perfect locale, the walk in closet.

However this light, it…it…it…doesn’t give off much light.

However, every time I see it, I sigh and feel romantic.

People that know me might say, especially my husband, that I have a light fixture fetish. It could possibly be less bad than other kinds, right?

Now, as I search for my clothes in the twilight of my very own closet, feeling romantic, I have something to blame mismatched socks on.

Afterall, we all look better in romantic lighting, am I not right?

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Princess and the Perception

There is something funny about perceptions. We just finished a nice dinner (with a lot of coaching on the art of having kids cleaning the kitchen), and my in laws stopped by after attending a party.

They were talking about their world travels—you know, the usual stuff, spelunking through caves, water travel trips that are billed as adventures where you are never dry, torches, malaria, sleeping with strange families in the jungle.

Good Lord, once again, I was reminded just how different people are. If I knew that I was marrying a descendent of India and Indiana Jones, I would have given this family fair warning.

They all looked completely shocked when I said that I am pretty sure that I will NEVER take any trip where I am in the wilderness in a full bug jacket with two sets of clothes: one wet and one dry.

This shock still gets both sides of the equation—on one hand, after almost 20 years of marriage I am shocked that they do not know me any better than this. On the other hand I think my in laws are shocked that my husband found me, dated me and proposed marriage.

I am not a princess. I do not crave twenty mattresses not piled on a pea. I am just damn tired. I like to have a shower from time to time. Although, if you ask anyone I know, I am not a fashionista girlie girl, I do like some girlies things, like baths.

I grew up dirty. I roamed the countryside. I rode horses in the sun, dust and grit. I mucked stalls daily. I baled hay. I waded in creeks. I swam in ponds, oceans and lakes. I picked wild raspberries. I am over it.

For goodness sake, I was working a full schedule of shifts as a waitress from the age of 12 to 25. I have three kids who are just now getting old enough not to have constant supervision.

I’m ADHD, I can barely find my car keys, let alone manage the schedule and ever shifting possessions of a family of 5.

And then there’s my husband. He is high tech and lives at high speed. Everything comes down to the wire. Our life together is fast paced and ever changing. I have to be ready to pull a bobby pin out of my hair at a moment’s notice to pick the lock when I’ve lost the keys for good.

Yes, I don’t know why I’m still surpising anyone at this point. I’m as transparent as transparent can be, and I’m the first one to admit that I am just too tired.

Note that the sleeping vacation that is my ultimate goal. I am tired. I want to be bored gosh darnnit! I want to wake up and say, “Wow, I have nothing to do today, what should I do?” Then I would go back to bed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sitting at the Fun Table

9.999 times I am sitting at the Fun Table. You know, if there is an event, and the entire room is full of stuffed shirts, I can be found at the loud, rambunctious table that is being shushed.

I seem to be a small-time trouble magnet. I'm not usually getting arrested or anything, but I drive the people who are not having a very fun time in life insane. This includes crabby drivers, whom I love to smile and wave at while they are having a fit, and gnarly curmudgeons that complain about both rainy AND sunny days.

My glass is always at least half full, and if I'm grouchy, maybe my glass is half full of wine. I would never have described myself as a party girl for the first 30 years of my life, but let's take a look at this...

Most of my life, I spent with my BFF sidekick from preschool all the way until college...right on down to skipping down the wedding aisle. She thought nothing of our days spent in the freezer section of the grocery store at lunch time, choosing a Sara Lee frozen cake. Then it was two girls, two forks and frozen cake in the car for lunch.

We went to concerts and found that if you go the night before a final exam, you can just stay up, go to class and ace that test the next morning. Who said that hip hop isn't educational? Or maybe it was our late night stop at Denny's on the way home for the all nutritional brain food called Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae?

In any case, maybe I didn't go to the fun table, but the fun table came to me. Whatever, I just hope my place card keeps ending up there!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Greetings from Ottawa!

Here we are. We made it to Ottawa, drove like gangbusters to Plevna. Did a little bit of work getting our lives out of boxes and bins.

Now we're back in the big city. The boys went to the Ottawa Bluesfest to see Cage the Elephant, Rage Against the Machine and the Black Keys perform in concert. Last I heard, the fans were enjoying the music, but were very wet.

The girls went shopping and then had dinner at our favorite Ottawa restaurant, Sante. Then we got to see the movie, Zookeeper. It was cute. The young girls enjoyed it--for a jaded 42 year old, it was better than I expected.

Tomorrow we forage for food and head back to the lake.

I'm back to blogging from the iPhone. Typos and crazy phrases are surely found above!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Circle of Friends

We had a fabulous gathering of friends last night. The weather was post card perfect. It really was a gorgeous, gorgeous night. It is in those occasions that I really feel blessed by the family that is our "friend" family.

When I was growing up, it was my cousins that I saw at each and every holiday and event. At these gatherings, my aunts and uncles chattered in the background, while the kids ran amok. Most of my relatives ALL live within a 15 mile radius of each other. There were, and still are, only a handful of exceptions--uh, like maybe 5, including me.

Food was always homemade and potluck. Everyone had their signature speciality. Every once in a while a fantastic new dish would appear, and the recipe was instantly shared on recipe cards. They still all do this for birthdays, graduations and holidays. That is a very hard part about living across the country from your childhood home.

When we moved to the west coast, I had to leave behind the occasions that defined my ideas of celebration and family. I also left behind the network of support that you don't really realize is there until you don't have it. Especially, after I had my first baby, I realized that I was alone. There was no one to bring over a casserole in the special sharing basket. There was no one to hold that baby while I had a shower.

Last night, I looked around the late night circle of faces on the patio in the candle light. There was so much big history in that little circle. We were all comfortable, the way that family is comfortable. There is a comfort and grace that is so reassuring.

If I had a baby now, there is no doubt that casseroles would appear magically on my doorstep. There is no doubt that any woman, or man, in that circle would hold my precious newborn so that I could take a shower.

We are not afraid to call each other out on the good. the bad or the ugly. There is no fear. We all have seen the highs and lows, and we know that these are solid, friends for good. These, are our west coast family...and we love you!