Tuesday, June 29, 2010


While the world still lay in slumber deep with only harmonious chirps and whistles from our feathered friends providing the soundtrack, I pick up my trusty Canon and set out to greet the day head on down to the lake.

Those first breaths of air in early morn somehow seem fresher; unspoiled.

The lake is a mirror; a majestic reflection of the beauty and stillness. Awesome in duplicate. I sit on the rock, just to be; to inhale deeply the reverence of the morn. I am momentarily hypnotized by a dragonfly who lightly skims the glassy surface, creating delicate ripples. My senses are heightened and I view the world in technicolour.

Everything is beautiful. It is that simple. Beauty reveals itself when you look long and carefully enough.

Dawn has won me over, my favourite time of the day.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Feathered Welcome Wagon

You know when you move in to a new place and the unknown factor is the neighbours; will they like you and will you like living next to them? This extends to cottage country too. I think we got cocky with visions of us being alone with only our thoughts and our schnauzer for company up at the lake.

The cottage we bought has a vacant, uncleared lot on one side and an undeveloped lot with a trailer on it on the other side. Basically the vista is trees, trees and more trees with a view of the lake peeking through the leaves.

Enter Mr. Hawk. "Watching you like a hawk". I now know what is meant by this. It seems our closest neighbour is a hawk (don't know if it is a red shouldered hawk or not Pops) with a growing family and a humongous nest perched in a tree directly across from the cottage door. He  introduced himself the day we had the cottage inspected, by dive bombing the home inspector as he walked up the path to the septic bed. The inspector shook his fist at him and yelled profanities in French - and protected his head with a shovel. Hubby (AKA Dr. Doolittle) being the animal lover that he is was excited that we had our own hawk on the property. I think he had visions of feeding the feathered critters from his hand and living in perfect harmony.

Not so. It seems that our noisy neighbour is not too keen on having us move in. He swooped us a few times as hubby walked up the pathway and over the weekend as we explored, when that eerie someone is watching me" feeling crept in, it was cause someone was -- Mr. Hawk. He followed our movements, taking up sentry on the tops of the closest tree. Then he made his move.

As I followed hubby to our car I felt a gush of wind over my head and looked up just in time to see Mr Hawk bomb hubby. It was like a flash of feathers and wind. Hubby stood there stunned rubbing his head. Thankfully he was wearing a hat. "He just rang my bell good". For the rest of the weekend we paid close attention to the high squeal of Mr Hawk and tried not to get his way.

I think we are in for an interesting summer. I hope as time passes we can win Mr Hawk over and that we can become peaceful neighbours. If not, I'll be looking up bird recipes. Did I just write that??

What an UNwelcome, and what an adventure in nature.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Don't Eat the Daisies

Summer is officially here; it's as hot as Haiti and the daisies have exploded. The pool heater is broken but who cares? Tomorrow we will have a cottage and can swim in the lake. I will get in touch with my inner flannel; reconnect with my pencil; and forgo the Internet for the vintage rotary dial phone that hangs on the wall. I will scout for deer tracks (dinner!) and forage for berries. On second thought, maybe I'll just buy a pie on the way up to the cottage.

My Pops gave hubby and I some essentials - a machete, hatchet and blow torch (to fix the copper piping). I told him to watch for me on the news. If the police accosted a guy today just  for having a chainsaw in his car, and I get stopped on my way through a G8 security zone, they'll think I am loaded for bear.

Icing on the cake. We are headed for cottage country at the same time the world leaders. Our timing is impeccable. So needless to say we are just going with the flow as we meander down happy street. Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Today the earth moved under my feet - for about 15 seconds. I was chatting happily with my work friend, probably repeating a story that she's heard a dozen times before. I was just working up to the draw-dropping interesting point of my story when I felt something more than my bran flakes digesting - a strange vibration in my tummy that spread over my whole body. I was relieved to find out that I wasn't just having a hot flash .... our workstations swayed and it became apparent that we were having an earthquake.

I logged onto Twitter and tweets were just starting to come in asking people to tweet if they felt the quake. It  was only 5.5 strong but it was far reaching. It was somewhat ironic that one of the areas that felt the impact most was the G8 secure zone in Toronto.

Mother Earth was taking a little tantrum today. First she grumbled and then spun some damaging tornadoes and extreme thunderstorms. She made her displeasure known and fully exercised her right to protest. And let's face it, she has reason to be ticked off.

On another note, hubby and I signed off at the lawyers and take possession Friday. I can say with all honesty that I have never had a dream unfulfilled ... and by the time I return from Kenya in July, I will have the list fully checked off. Of course I will start a new one, but hey, for a few minutes, I'll bask in utter contentment and gratitude. Lucky me; lucky us. So today, the earth moved under my feet - in so many ways....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Flying High

Fishing poles, binoculars, canoe and insect repellent - we have 'em all and now we just have to close the deal on Friday and the cottage is ours.

Truthfully, one of the things I am most excited about is having a place to fly my Canadian flag. My kids and hubby nixed the notion for our house  non- patriotic, anti flagpole sourpusses but the cottage is fair game, and just in time for Canada Day.

Life is indeed good, just like a waving flag.

Thank you MIH. The places we'll go in the red canoe.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Growing Pride - My Dad

Another Father's Day has come - and almost gone. Over the past few years I have written much about what  he has meant to me. So now, today, what I can say as a tribute that hasn't already been said?

I could recount the numerous things he taught me - how to read, ski, fish, ride a bike, snow mobile, serve customers well, be a leader and most importantly - how to expect the most of myself. I could go through a lengthy list of "remember when" ... and I could tell him how proud I was of him when he was my school principal, our town mayor, and the beloved Kabloonak of the North.

But honestly, the thing I want him to know is that I am most proud of the fact that he is an evolving spirit ... he has embraced new technologies and ideas; he has become reflective and contemplative; he has stepped up,  provided and become a solid foundation to bear the full weight of a growing family. He is a different Dad today than he was ten years ago, and different again from the Dad I had as a child. He becomes what we need most. Time has been kind to him - or maybe that is vice versa.  His heart has infinite capacity for love and nurturing. He has learned what is truly important in this life and he freely shares his wisdom with all of us. He is our emotional duct tape; our unifier; our soft place to fall.

Lucky for me, the safe place to fall lives just down the street.

You may enjoy these other posts about my Dad -- really -  he's super cool.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fortress Canada

I was going to write about the world cup; how it is amazing to see the planet galvanized over sport, like nothing else (other than the Olympics I suppose) I have ever seen. But watching the news footage of the fortification of our city - Toronto - in preparation for the upcoming G8/G20 Summits has sent me off the rails. Costs to the Canadian taxpayers for security alone is exceeding 2 billion dollars.

As we are assured that hosting this event will be benefit our country in ways too many to count - especially having the world's attention focused on Canada for the next week - Toronto is disappearing underneath the camouflage of security measures. Wire and razor fencing enclose walkways and buildings that fall within blocks of the secure zone. Warnings have been issued announcing that pedestrians in the area must carry ID at all times as they may asked to produce their official identification. Is this Canada??? The beautiful buildings in the downtown core are being boarded up, patients have been released early from hospitals and elective surgeries cancelled to free up beds "just in case". Trees, benches, garbage cans and other denoted types of "furniture" have been removed to prevent protesters from using them as potential weapons.

The summits are being held in two areas spanning a 2.5 hours distance - from the downtown, all the way up the highway corridor to cottage country. Residents have been told to expect lengthy delays on the road and to bring -plenty of water and snack food to eat on city transit vehicles "just in case".

I want the summits to go off without a hitch - I really do. But I wonder what face we will be showing the rest of the world this week .... Canada the compassionate or Prison Canada? The army has been camped out in cottage country for weeks now and the city has been hijacked from the citizens. Security for world leaders at all costs. ALL.

I am scratching my head and wondering why, as a country that no longer commands  respect from world leaders and doesn't even factor into the equation anymore (thank you Mr Prime Minister) we are hosting such an event. Reminds me of the  "keeping up with the Jones" syndrome. We are pretentiously living beyond our means and spending money we do not have.

Will the world be inspired by the images that are beamed around the world? Time will tell.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday with Friends

Is there anything more uplifting than time with people we call true friends? I think not! I just returned from having dinner with Adventure Girl and Tender Heart - and it is a tradition that we have been upholding for more than 20 years now. Our relationship and commitment has lasted longer than any of my marriages. Egads - that didn't sound good.  I always walk away from our get togethers a little lighter (despite the honkin piece of blackened marlin I inhaled) and alot happier.

Adventure Girl is the baby of the trio and tonight we celebrated her birthday. Despite my efforts to scare the crap out of her point out the finer parts of aging gracefully, I think she really enjoyed herself. She's in denial. I warned her that her glowing skin and perfect complexion were temporary and that she should prepare herself. I explained that soon she would have hair growing in all the wrong places and that all memories (even stuff she did yesterday) would become distant ones. I worry that she will feel left out when Tender Heart and I qualify for special discounts and menu selections - and she will be left to pay full price. It's unfortunate she is resigned to tread the waters of aging alone (in perfect form) while Tender Heart and I watch from shore (we landed way ahead of her).

A few Sea Breezes and Cosmo Martinis (not all me), a view of the lake at sunset and happy chatter ... doesn't get any better than that. And Adventure Girl -- well, maybe I am a little bitter that she really isn't showing the wear and tear of the miles travelled if you know what I mean. But it wouldn't take but a chin hair or two to fix that ...

Happy Birthday my friend.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

False Start

Eyes pop open. Birds are chattering in the tree outside our window but the room is still dark. Not a good sign. I squint with all my might to focus on the clock radio perched across the room – to somehow “will” the blur into clear numbers that I can read. Get thyself to the eye doctor. 3:42 AM. I had wanted an early start to the day but this was not exactly what I had in mind. My gold standard internal clock is completely screwed up these days.

Before the information can even transmit from my eyes to my brain – the wake up sequence is activated. Brain launches into high gear; to do lists scroll like teleprompters; yesterday’s conversations are replayed, reworked and rehearsed to no avail. Fritz’s breathing seems to get deeper and every movement of his, is countered with one of my own. Hubby doesn’t snore but I count every breath he takes for hypnotic therapy. It’s unsettling when the noise in your head resonates with acoustic quality that rivals our surround sound and no amount of self talk, deep breathing and counting seems to squelch it. Rethinking the amount of caffeine I consume.

So I wave the white flag. I surrender. I make peace with my clock and convince myself of all the things I could accomplish if I just got up ….

Eyes pop open. 6:05 AM. The frenetic get-ready-for-work-in-under-15-minutes sequence is launched, and I am off to the races. I really have to try that breathing thing …

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Some Days ...

Sitting rigid
Arms folded
Wrapped tightly across my chest for
Self comfort.

Flaming eyes
Words firing
Weapons of choice to
Defeat me.

Holding face
Emotions tucked
I dare not blink lest a
Tear escape.

Some days
Are like that.
Some better than others.
Write and release.

And so I did.

No worries everyone; this is not inspired by anything in my personal life ....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How Does My Garden Grow?

How does my garden grow? A valid question considering I have not had trowel or shovel in hand since the end of April when we first did our post winter once over on the beds. No excuses …life has been busy and like a miser, hours have been hoarded and conserved for the playbook of tasks that comprises our life these days.

I’ve been self centered of late, totally immersed in the pursuit of my own stuff, and you know what? It feels unnatural and a little odd. Odd - but necessary for now.

As I stood at my kitchen sink, coffee cup in hand, gazing across our pool to the garden (that sounded pretentious!) it struck me how lush and full the garden looked. There were parties of pink annuals that had resurrected themselves and the towering gangs of daisies seemed ready to take the stage. While I had had my head down (gazing at my navel), the perennials had blossomed with wild abandon under my gross neglect. They thrived.

It made me wonder if that same outcome could be applied to parenting. We tend to convince ourselves that they need our undying support and nurturing to help shape, protect and guide them. They need us … they really do. The day comes when they slip from our gaze, lingering only in our peripheral vision, and for one reason or another, life gets in the way or delivers a reason for us to loosen the grip. Our needy little chickadees find themselves alone in the nest, left to their own devices. They test their courage; they fend for themselves. They learn to use the toaster oven or the concept of a vegetable peeler. They experiment with the advice that has been so generously bestowed upon them … choosing to ignore as much as adhere.

And you know what? One day you stand at the sink, coffee cup in hand, gazing out the window at your not-so-little child, and it hits you. While your head has been turned she has blossomed into a strong, vibrant, woman full of wild abandon and possibility. She thrives.

How does my garden grow? I really have no idea, but it is nothing short of miraculous.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hard to Breathe

Montreal vibrates on a frequency all of ts own; pulsating with with enough of everything to assault the senses - in the most pleasant of ways. Aromas from the potpourri of foods cooking filled our nostrils; shrieks of laughter from the partyers intermingled with the urgent strains wafting from the jazz festival. It seemed that the whole city was a carnival and out on the street enjoying the parade of colour, music, and characters. We joined the crush of bodies and soaked up the excitement through our skin.

Montreal has a way of making you forget you are in Canada. Its hold on its traditional language and culture are unique enough to give you a francophone shot of European pizazz. Something else I couldn't help but notice is the prevalence of smoking. Cigarette smoke permeates the air and it seems like more people are flicking ashes than not. I swear I woke up this morning with smoker's cough. The outdoor cafes are filled with chattering patrons, most of who are sucking deeply on their cigarettes. Toronto and many other cities have banned smoking outside building entrances and outdoor cafes and bars so it struck me as odd to see it so commonly in Montreal. I don't think I could live here comfortably, without wheezing. It would be a deal breaker for me.

Don't get me wrong, I love Montreal and its quirky, artistic, cultural vibe - I just wish I could have breathed a little easier.

Tomorrow, it's au revoir Quebec!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Details, details, details. They are necessary but I tire of them. Now I know what they mean when they say the devil is in the details ... I think I saw him in amongst the paperwork! Today has been spent dealing with appraisers, insurance companies, real estate agents, law clerks, and the loan officer. I was nice as pie to each and every one of them - and most were nice back.Those who weren't were gently told so in my nicest possible voice - not that they cared, but I somehow felt a teensy bit triumphant. I didn't want to make it easy for them to be rude. You remember that famous line from the film Network (that came out a hundred years ago), "I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE". That is me now ... but in a friendly way!

I spent tonight knee high in stacks of paper searching down property assessments who keeps these things??, tax bills, and a bunch of other stuff that legal eagles need to close our cottage deal. Scanning and emailing. It is times like these that I am supremely grateful for technology; these would all be trips to the bank and the lawyers.

Hubby and I are off on a weekend adventure with Kidlet. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
But first - I have paper to file and shred!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


In a few weeks my youngest will have high school behind her. That will be it. My career as school mom will be history. Never again will I
  • fret over last minute forms that need to be signed when I can't find a pen that works;
  • have a 10 pm run to buy cupcakes to be transferred into Tupperware for the homemade effect;
  • buy more copies of the school picture than we have relatives;
  • sit in the stands for her basketball or softball game; and
  • lovingly don face mask and gloves to root through her backpack for rotting food and paperwork that needs signing.
Kidlet has grown up on me - probably while I was looking for a pen, quicker than I wanted. I know she will still need me, and that my job as mama will never be over as long as I have daughters. But there's no denying that a chapter is coming to a close. And being an avid reader, I look forward to savouring the next one, and the one after that.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Television viewing is one of laziest forms of entertainment there is. It asks little of us; even catering to our snack and bio breaks with the ultra-generous disbursement of commercials. And lately there has been slim pickings on the tube. I am weary of the seemingly endless stream of "reality" shows. I am hungry for scripts and good writing, for clever banter and story lines that give me golf ball sized lumps in my throats. I crave characters that I can despise and love, and get ridiculously attached to.

Then along came Glee -- the quirky, funny, musical comedy-drama TV show that has members of the high school glee club singing and dancing their hearts out to rock and pop classics - week after week. Gay, jock, cheerleader, nerd, wheelchair bound, overweight, insecure, disenfranchised; Glee has them all.  I admit it took me  an episode or two to get the show - and now I am officially, fully addicted. It's an unusual soup of a show - edgy and sexually charged in a lovable, "baffoony" kind of way. Without fail, I walk at least two feet higher off the ground after watching it, the songs recycling in my head over and over again.

Tonight was the season finale and I gotta tell you - it was a showstopper. Kidlet and I sat here together, ooohing and ahhhing, cheering and laughing as we watched each performance. That show compacts more talent per second than any show I have ever watched. It's concentrated Glee. And now I am gleefully off to bed. Just had to share that.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nail Biter

I've decided that if I can, in my next life I'll come back with pretty toes, dainty feet and slender fingers with fingernails that don't beg to be chewed. That's right ... things'll be different next time around!

A girl can dream can't she? Or maybe at least stop biting her nails ....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Frothy Times

You know when you pour beer carelessly and a tsunami of foam billows up and the froth spills over the glass? That's what my life is like right now ... full to overflowing. The foam in the glass is what seems like a million details that have to be dealt with - cleared - if we want to get to the good stuff.

Three weeks ago Kidlet and I were immersed in our Africa trip preparations ... getting shots, filing paperwork, and arranging insurance etc. at the same time Kidlet was applying for university residence and perusing her course options. I thought then that our plates were full and things were heating up ... HA!

Life, in its quirky unpredictable fashion, dangled possibility in front of us; the opportunity to buy our own piece of paradise. True to my motto "when opportunity comes knocking, you gotta answer, ready or not!" we took the bait and are now poor proud owners of a quaint lakefront cottage.  At least we will be once the paperwork is completed. See Hubby smile. This exciting development was not in the plans ... nope - not even penciled in. So to say we've been a little preoccupied and busy is a GROSS understatement.

From here on in until Kidlet and I board our plane for Kenya our days are going to be jam packed as we close the deal on our cottage, get Kidlet graduated, take our previously planned weekend jaunt to Montreal, and celebrate Father's Day.

So much foam and froth to work through to take us to the real deal. And that is the very essence of what I love about life ...   the unexpected, and the bends in the road that make life spicy and delicious. Life is funny like that, with plans for us that are grander than we ever dare to dream. And you just have to have faith that if you keep sipping through the foam, there'll be good stuff at the bottom of the glass.

Our thoughts and imagination are the only real limits to our possibilities.
- Orison Swett Marden

Friday, June 4, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now

NOTHING comes close; it's the absolute best, living your dream. And if you are lucky INTENT, the life you have created is your dream.

That's me now.

Living in the present. Living large with big dreams . Casting off baggage of fear and limitation, with only an INFINITE horizon of possibility in my sights.

I can see clearly now ... and I like what I see. And as always, I am eternally GRATEFUL.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Reason to Clean House

Inspiration, or maybe the word is motivation; a reason to get our house in order. It's called "home appraiser", and he is coming by in the next few days to verify that the overstated value of our home I listed on the loan application is accurate.

"Does he actually have to come into the house?" Dumb question number one.

"Of course," replies the overly efficient loans officer. "He will just verify the number of rooms, bathrooms and that your home is in reasonable condition."

"Ummm. What do you mean by reasonable?" Dumb question number two.  I conjure up visions of him counting dust bunnies, or suffering an occupational injury when he ventures into Kidlet's cave (a well documented hazardous zone).

Needless to say I spent the evening plowing a path through the infinite array of hockey equipment to the furnace (just in case he needs to verify that there is one), tidying up the clutter that seems to accumulate all by itself and trying to see our house throw the eyes of an appraiser. Kidlet is getting her cleaning orders or an eviction notice.

This appraisal is an important step  towards hubby and I getting our little dream cottage, so I am trying to embrace it. And hey, sometimes we need a fire lit under our backsides to spring us into action. Sometimes we need a reason to clean house. And really, could there be any better reason?