Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lake Trip

Remember my brother? Here he is in all his glory! And yes, on trips such as these, we make the men do the cooking. Oh yeah!

See, I wasn't kidding.... the men really do have to do the cooking. Over open flame no less. No fancy electric appliances for them.

Since the weather was so crummy at the lake we were actually staying at, we packed up and headed to one of the other hundreds of lakes in the area where it was sheltered from the wind. We took the fixin's for bush pies and cooked them over an open fire. And we did some fishing off the dock. Jack caught a fish which was all very exciting for all of us but he didn't think so and wouldn't even pose for a picture with it. I thought I had taken a picture of Nicole (sister in law) and Kamden with it but it seems to have mysteriously disappeared?!

Here's my Dad (aka Pop) with "his boys" as he calls them.

I almost landed the big one but it took my line, hook and all. It was BIG I tell you *

Mmmmm, bush pies. Yummy!

I love this picture. Ain't he the sweetest little fisherman ever?

And here's how we felt at the end of so much fun!

A good trip no thanks to the weather.

* any fisherman worth her salt knows how to tell a good fish "story"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hats off to me!

****Edited because it has come to my attention that part of this was interpreted in a way that was NOT intended at all****

Sibling rivalry, it’s as old as Adam and Eve, well at least as old as their first two offspring anyway, and I am not immune. Despite the 2 years and 9 months age difference between me and my lone sibling, my older brother Trevor, there has always been a bit of a competition on my side of things.

I actually doubt he has ever felt the need to out do me in any aspect of things since he was always smarter than the average bear. Actually that’s a huge understatement.

He always sailed through school with little to no effort on account of his ability to remember everything he ever sees or reads. Me, not so much. I had to work at least twice as hard and it irked me, just a little, no? Probably you got that eh?

It was actually a really good thing, this sibling competition, as it pushed me to strive for much greater success academically than I likely would have otherwise. We were both A students throughout elementary and high school, so much so that I don’t EVER recall our parents having to intervene in any way in our homework habits. Basically we did it on our own.

Now that’s not to say that they didn’t help me out (not sure smarty pants Trevor ever needed any help). I had enormous trouble with math, specifically fractions (gotta love that I became an accountant huh!) and I remember getting so angry and frustrated with myself that I must have been an utter joy to work with. ‘Course I only saved that sort of behavior for my dear old mom and dad. I guess I know where Jack gets that from now don’t I?

As kids, my brother, having no other choice on our road trips, (every summer we would pack up the van and head on a lengthy trip that involved camping our way through various areas of Western and Eastern Canada) would try to coerce me into playing some sort of game with him. This was back in the day where we free to roam the van at our leisure and spent much of the trip lying on the bed at the back, reading, sleeping and playing games. Chess was a favourite of Trevor’s but frankly, even at the tender age of 8, watching paint dry had more appeal to me than playing chess, especially with a kid who actually read books on the subject (I kid you NOT).

Now, I don’t have a need to always win, I am not that competitive. However, I do need not to be beat blind EVERY time I play a game. It’s not fun to lose all the time and yes, I am a very sore loser when it’s All. The. Time. So understandably so, he had a bit of trouble getting me to play.

However, finally, FINALLY, I have found a couple of games where I am just a little bit better than smarty pants.

Taboo is a fantastic game that involves getting your teammates to guess the word listed but without saying any of the “taboo” words also listed on the card. It usually involves much laughter and general silliness. It’s a great time weather you win or lose. And Trevor, well, he LOST. In his defense, he took it well. So well that he and his wife, Nicole, had to stay one more night at the lake to have a rematch. Hee hee. And his team did narrowly win this time but last year and the first game this year, my team annihilated his! I even documented it very clearly on the score sheet for proof next year, I am kinda anal like that.

And with the help of my 80’s loving hubby, we beat him at 80’s Trivial Pursuit too. Joy, Joy, Happy, Happy!

But all kidding aside, he’s a great guy and I am lucky to have him as a bro. He has never treated me with anything other than respect and dignity. He always stood up for me when we were kids and believe me, he could defend with smart ass comments better than anybody else, hands down. He is a good guy to have on your side and he married the greatest woman for him. They were custom made for each other and together we all have loads of fun.

Here’s to siblings!

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Wow, thank you all so much for your wonderful comments on my last post. It’s good to be validated in my thoughts by all of you! I am not really a worrier by nature but sometimes, despite my best efforts, they still hit me. I am not going anywhere and it’s so wonderful to know that you all are out there to read my lunatic ramblings.

We have just arrived back from a week up at the lake. In summary, the weather was cruddy and we didn’t get to do much “lake” stuff but we still managed to have some fun. I didn’t take very many pictures, which is very unlike me, but I will do a post about how I annihilated my brother at both Taboo and 80’s Trivial Pursuit. Believe me, it’s necessary.

I am to award 5 people this same award for the simple act of being nice. So after my sibling rivalry post, I will do just that :-) Hmmm, I may have to post my brother's smart ass comment about that because, I assure you, he will have one.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Internal Conflict Coupled with Internet Love

There are days when I feel like should question this whole blogging thing, or use of the internet for personal purposes period.

Once a month I gather with some fellow moms for good food, company and camaraderie. Last month the topic of discussion drifted towards Facebook. About half the group, including myself, are members. The other half is not. Many of them were very vocal about why and it had me questioning my own beliefs about it.

Do I consider that my family may be at risk when I post pictures of them on the internet?

Do I just ignore this risk because of the gratification that I get?

Should I remove all the pictures and now?

Internally I was torn between what I believe and the beliefs of others. Nothing new really but what was different about this was the fact that I started feeling like I was putting my kids in some terrible danger.

Then I stopped, shook my head and took a deep breath.

Every day is a day exposed to grave danger for the simple act of being.

We could be hit by a bus. They could run out into the street and be run over. A crane could crash into our house as we sleep (it really happened just a neighborhood over – the power company is in hot water now!).

I am a social person. I am also a SAHM. My computer is my network. Without it I would be rocking in a straight jacket in a mental institution by now.

The point is that my connections through the internet are my lifeline. I have made some pretty cool reconnections through Facebook and a few have even gone further than the internet. I was terrible at keeping in touch with people over the years and now, Facebook gave me the opportunity to re-connect. Some connections will continue, some died for a reason. Either way, we get a second chance to find out.

My blog has become an extension of me. I have fostered a love of writing that I didn’t even know existed. I used to have trouble forming a coherent sentence. Now the verbiage spills out of me like a volcano erupting. It may still not be coherent but it gives me an outlet for my creativity – which is all contained in my left pinky toenail by the way– and has fostered new connections that bring me so much gratification. Lately, things have been humming over here. I have been getting sweet comments from my regulars Angella ,Candace , my wonderful hubby Jay, and Mom and some new people too, a great big hi and thanks for visiting to Hannah, Kristin, LVGurl -she even linked me in an ode to Canada post – colour me happy! - and Beach Mama.

I could lie and say that I do this for fun and that the comments don’t matter but that would be a big fat fib. The comments, well, let’s just say that until quite recently I was getting a bit disgruntled with the fact that the traffic here was really sparse, and the comments were limited to my two devoted readers, Candace and Angella. I had stopped posting all that much because, honestly, the fact that no one was reading it was really not helping with the creativity. When it’s as limited as mine, outside intervention is required. Not to mention that I was starting to think that I must be the biggest loser ever because people might stop by once never to return. Surely, it had to be me, I'm insecure like that.

However, the most important reason I keep this going (aside from the personal validation) is that it keeps our extended family (Hi Mom, Dad, Mom-in-law, Dad-in-law, Michelle) connected to us. We live in a different city and while we talk on the phone frequently, they miss the day to day stuff. It gives me so much satisfaction to know that they get to experience this with us even though it’s not in person. And they keep coming back too, so they must enjoy it a little bit too, either that or they get a kick out me making a fool of myself. Whatever works.

In summary, this here blog, my friends, is a GOOD thing. The paybacks are priceless. I am a happier person which means my kiddos get a happy mommy and Jay comes home to a fulfilled wife. Plus I get to make new connections in cyberspace, which, by the way, is a pretty cool place.

Until such time as I see it as a threat to my cubs, I'll be here, rambling on.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

3rd time's charm!

Remedial Baking 101

Again I am reminded that we live in a climate of extremes. It wasn’t so long ago that you heard me complaining about the heat and the humidity. Well, the expression, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes holds true.

It’s about 10 degrees Celsius here today and the forecast for next week is for high teens.

While this is excellent for the A/C goal, we may need to turn on the bloody furnace but whatever!

However, the cooler weather has motivated me to actually cook again. We’ve been surviving on BBQ only for the last month and I can’t remember the last time I baked anything. So yesterday I got the urge to bake some buns, the delectable homemade buns that Mom made weekly when I was a kid. The recipe requires that the buns rise overnight which means breakfast the next day consists of fresh, hot from the oven buns. Mmmmm, with butter that gets all melty and warm honey….

I could taste them as I started the yeast a‘risin in the bowl. The yeast did as it should, it multiplied like only yeast can, I added the eggs, some salt and then began the process of kneading 10 cups of flour in. After about 4 cups, the dough, well it was done. It was dry, and not wanting any more of that there flour, no way, no how.

Now, I am notorious for not reading recipes carefully enough. In my youth there was an angel food cake debacle that haunts me to this day. You would think I would have learned, but NO, once again, I missed something key. Um, like about 3 cups of warm water.

Right, so you do realize that you can’t actually add that much liquid to a mass of dough? Yeah, so I found out. There’s a reason you add ingredients in a certain order. I knew that but the part of me that didn’t feel right about wasting all those eggs, sugar and flour thought, what the heck, we’ll give ‘er a go.

Round two. After dumping the lump of useless dough in the trash we tried again, with the addition of 3 cups of warm water things were going great. I set the dough to rise and came back later to form the knots that would be the buns.

I wake up this morning and the buns, well, they look a bit flat and smell a bit like fermenting yeast. Hmmm, not what I remember Mom’s buns looking and smelling like.

Yeah, guess what? I am fairly certain I forgot the salt, which is key to the whole rising process and I may or may not have doubled the yeast amount.

Right, on to round three… I am stubborn, I can do this. In fact, I have done it before.

Three tries for a quarter?

I sign up for remedial baking classes first thing Monday morning. Or maybe I need Hooked on Phonics?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Passionate Fry

Today, as we had burgers and fries at Dairy Queen I was reminded of one of my first, passionate love affairs with food.

French fries, oh how I used to love you.

My glory days as an A&W hostess were filled with breaks that included the salty artery clogging goodness of some of those old fashioned fries. A&W had the BEST fries back in 1992, according culinary expert moi and I paid homage to this fact by eating my weight in fries that year and the year after too. Even when I left the upstanding position as hostess at A&W for the prestigious beverage artist position at Orange Julius later that year, I still dropped in regularly for some of those cardiac killers.

Then one day, they did the unthinkable.

They changed them.

New and improved they were touted.

New and improved my ass, pardon my French. These newbies were supposed to be crispy goodness. Crispy goodness akin to cardboard maybe. Now that in itself was bad enough but then, like a bunch of mindless sheep, all fast food outlets had to do the same. Except McRaunchies… they kept their original fries, which in my opinion were already only one step up from cardboard.

So today as I drowned the cardboard fries of DQ in ketchup (and by the way, pre-new and cardboarded fries, I had a little salt and vinegar only), I lamented this to Jack. He was less than sympathetic, as you can well imagine.

I am pretty sure his exact thoughts were, well why in the world are you still scarfing them down then Mom?

Good question. Apparently old habits die hard.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Those happy golden days...

Today, I rediscovered how much I love new school supplies. Oh the pens! And the crayons! The pencil cases! I was like a kid in a candy store.

First off, it’s what, like August 6th… why have I already done Jack’s back to school shopping you might ask? Um, well, er…. I’m a geek. Plain and simple.

I wanted to make sure we got the good stuff. If you wait until the week before school starts you might be stuck with non-Crayola crayons. I don’t want my son to start off Grade 1 as the geek with cheap crayons. Oh the shame. The inhumanity.

Off we went with our list, which by the way, is VERY specific. No pencils from Czechoslovakia, apparently they make cruddy pencils there or something. And by the way, I was so disappointed that he didn’t need the big red thick pencils. Remember those? To me that IS Grade 1. But no, just not Czechoslovakian pencils.

We had fun picking out all the items but we did have to go to two different stores. I try really hard to avoid Wal-Mart but sometimes, Zellers just doesn’t cut it.

We even found shoes which brings me to a rant that I’ve been meaning to have. The running shoes, with the Velcro (can I just say, thank goodness for Velcro or I would still be putting on Jack’s shoes for him) well it gets me on another of my Mother Earth rants.

Brace yourself.

Last year, before Jack entered Kindergarten, we purchased two pairs of Velcro running shoes, one for indoors and one for out. By June, both pairs were in great condition… EXCEPTING that the Velcro didn’t stick anymore. GRRRRRR. So now, despite the fact that the sole is fine and his toes aren’t coming through the top, we needed new shoes. Plus I can’t hand them down to Kamden.

Disposable shoes. I mean REALLY.

So I stuck it to the man. We bought pull on running shoes.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it Corporate America!

Kay, done now.

Back to the new pencil crayons, unbroken crayons and the pungent smell of new easers. Almost makes me want to go back to school.

Well no, but I have about 15 more years of living vicariously through my kids!

Here's the loot:

Notice the Lightening McQueen theme....

and Kamden's toes :-)