Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Raising Cecely

This has been a wonderful journey so far. 
Bringing my first baby into the world, helping her grow in to a beautiful young lady
and then watching her as she spreads her wings, leaving the nest.
I look forward to seeing her continue to grow and start her own family.
Being a Mom is the hardest job in the world...but no other job gives back as much as hearing
'I love you Mom'

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One woman's junk....

The warm breeze, the blue sunny skies....the blooming flowers....and dragging your old junk out to the end of the road and setting up post for the day to see if anyone will bite.  Only to drag it all in again at the end of the day.  The upside? you've got a few extra coin in your pocket at the end....hopefully!

That's right, Yard Sale Season.

In my personal experience, I never look forward to having them.  I grunt, I roll my eyes...I even stomp my foot...but then I finally agree to it.  The entire family is on board to 'have a yard sale'.  Then, I find myself being the one standing in the sun, washing & polishing our old items we don't want anymore.  I find myself writing up the price tags, cutting them loose and deciding which item should be worth what.  I'm the one dragging everything out to the end of the driveway (usually with help...but the help quickly disappears once everything is set up)

I find myself picking & choosing what goes & what stays.  You can almost sense the tension among the bottles, books and paraphernalia in the garage. 
'What will happen to me?'
'Am I going out the door?'

I can see the panicked expression on the silver thermos carafe as it is yanked off of its perch and out of the garage...wincing...only to change direction and be left on the front step to go into the house.  ~whew~

What a break!  Almost every weekend, Goose & I venture out to auctions, flea markets & yard sales...I absolutely adore going to these events.  You just never know what you will find.  Sometimes we come home with treasures, sometimes we come home empty-handed.  Sometimes we come home with an extra hitchhiker that had the good or bad fortune to 'come with' the purchase of another item.  Something we have no idea what it is...or what to do with it...maybe it doesn't even know itself.

We bring them home and they go into the garage to be sorted.  To keep, to sell, to use, to throw out...
The current residents in the garage are eager to see the new arrivals.  You can almost feel the excitement.

The problem with constantly bringing home all the new stuff, is that we eventually have to get rid of some...if we want to be able to breathe.

So yard sale, we do.  Some people drive by and try not to notice the yard sale.  Some look in and turn away quickly because it might cost them something for a long glance.  Some slow down and scan to see if they can see if there is anything they need.  (like you can tell from the road)  Some go right on by....slowing down about 100ft down the road, clunk into reverse and put their lives in danger roaring back up with little or no regard to the blind curve on the other side of our house.

I sit, almost my lounge chair, reading my Diana Gabaldon novel about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish marvel of muscles, red hair & kilts....under my sunglasses, no one knows that I'm watching them.  I quietly observe, not a fan of aggressive's fun to watch different personalities.  Different ages.  Different sexes.  What they pick up, what they pass by...what they take home.  Should I be offended that something I held onto and loved for years, didn't warrant a pick-up by the stout lady with the purple hair?  Nahh...after all, one woman's junk is another woman's treasure.

I was thrilled that one lady adopted 3 of my Christmas the blazing sun.  They are now on their way to Kansas.  Something that I cut, sanded, primed & painted is going to be written on with chubby little fingers, counting down the days till Santa Kansas!  Isn't that where Dorothy's house blew away? hmmm...good my signs are sturdy.

Well, not much went on Saturday....a few things on Sunday.  And since I have such an emotional connection to all the psyche's of the unsellables....I can't possibly consider taking them to the dump.  So what will I do?
Haul them all back into the garage and wait patiently for the next sunny Saturday.
Just like any good Yard Sale Mom would :-)

Happy Saling~

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Peeling my skin off...

Have you ever had one of those days where you just want to peel your skin off and run down the road screaming at the top of your lungs?

Well I have...maybe you're not being honest.  I'm sure I'm not crazy. 
I have days where I've eaten too much, slept too long, whined inexcessively and wasted way too much time.  Those are the days that I want to run away and hide.

Today is one of those days.  There are so many things I'm supposed to do.  I have a list a mile long.  And I manage to convince myself (and those around me) that if I complete one or two tasks, I've had a full day.
Why do we do this?  hmm? oh, I'm still alone here?

Ok,'re sleeping well, getting up in plenty of time to get all your things done, pleasing everyone in your life, keeping a smile the whole time and feeling fulfilled.  Do you have any idea how rare you are?  And how much the rest of us hate you?

Hate is such a harsh word.  But I feel it edging in more and more lately, making itself comfortable in my mind.  The problem is that it is commonly aimed at myself.

I need to regain my focus. 
My best days have always started early.  I know that if I eat only fruit from the time I get up till noon, my body will be able to function with elimination processes uninhibited.
I must drink plenty of water.  And I actually carry around a re-usable plastic cup with cover & straw to enable this.
I try not to eat red meat.  I have been known as a vegetarian in the past. Yes those have been my healthiest points in my life...but for some reason I get weak at the scent of a BBQ.
When I indulge in sweets or 'junk food' I try to keep it homemade.  We don't drink pop at all.  Juice & water only.
And I walk the dogs twice a day, down to the corner.

So....sounds good right?  I should be the picture of health, right?

I'm still overweight.  Is it because I'm getting older? Is it because I have stopped running?  Is it because of the stash of dark chocolate in the kitchen that no one is allowed to touch but me?

I used to be on a cleansing program that regularly rid my body of toxins...but it was expensive.
I used to run every day, rain or shine...but I damaged my knees and can no longer run.
I used to get up early every day and do yoga...but now I have a hard time dragging my sorry butt out of bed in the morning.

What is it?  What is happening to my body?  Is it the dreaded 'M' word that every woman faces?

Or is it that I am simply making too many excuses....
Maybe I'm getting too soft in my world.
Maybe I need someone to push me harder... needs to be me.

That's it, I'm getting up early tomorrow, I'm going to do my hour of yoga, eat my fresh fruit and walk the dogs.  Then I will sit at my desk and write to my heart's content.  I will have a wonderful start to a beautiful day!'s really hot tomorrow morning....or I forget to take my phone off vibrate and don't hear my alarm...or....

Believe in yourself....Believe you deserve better...

Just believe...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Keep your head up! ....or not...

For the last year and a half, Thursday mornings have been spent at the barn. I volunteer for the Lanark County Therapeutic Riding Program. At first I had no idea what it would be like. All I knew was that I like horses and I wanted to get out and meet new people in the community.

The organization provides mentally & physically challenged adults & children with the opportunity to go horseback riding. The volunteers get there ahead of the riders, to groom & tack up the horses, getting them ready for their sessions. Once the horses are ready & the riders have arrived, we help them onto the horses and then either lead the horse or side-walk to support the rider.

At first I was working with the children. Most of them were quiet, some were funny…but the majority of them didn’t communicate verbally at all. The rare moments of eye contact were all we could look forward to. There was one little girl that literally screamed from the time she got into the barn till the time she left the barn. That was stressful for all of us…especially the horses.

Then one day I was asked to fill in for a volunteer on the adult session. This was totally different. I didn’t think it would be as fulfilling. I was wrong. The adults seemed so much happier. When the weather was nicer we would go outside in the field. And when it’s not too muddy, we could take the trail that follows the river.

Absolutely breathtaking, it’s so peaceful. You can almost imagine you’re in a different time. The first time I went back to help with the adults again, I was shocked to realize that some of them remembered me. That is something that I never expected. Having never worked with mentally challenged adults on an ongoing basis before, I had no expectations whatsoever.
The first time ‘Alexander’ hugged me. Or when ‘Cal’ remembered my name. I came home those days, dirty, dusty, tired and sore….but I was floating. Sweetie noticed it. The kids noticed it. And when I explained to them what happened, they understood why I kept going back.

There was a young girl ‘Annie’ that has Down Syndrome. She didn’t speak or communicate very well. And when she was on the horse, she would squeeze the side-walker’s hand till it was blue.

This year when the Spring session started up, I was so excited to see them again. When I saw ‘Annie’ walking towards the shed, I called out ‘Hi Annie!’
She looked up at me and waved!
We were all blown away.
‘Did you see that?!’ ‘Yes, what’s up with that?’

This year she’s not holding on for dear life to the side-walker’s hand. She’s hanging on to the reins. And during one exercise, she had both hands up on her helmet while the horse walked slowly from one cone to the next.
‘Wow, that was great ‘Annie’….did you have fun?’ I asked.
She let out a raspberry sigh and added, ‘yeah’ after it.
I let out a Whoooopp! and held up my hand…she high-fived me and then giggled.

I was even lucky enough to talk Sweetie into joining me on Thursdays this session. The very first day he was there, the lady in charge got his name mixed up. One of the riders a young girl ‘Jessie’ thought that was funny and joined in to call him ‘SpongeBob’. Everyone laughed, and it stuck for the rest of the day.

But the next week, when the riders remembered him. They laughed & teased SpongeBob. You could see his heart smiling. They loved him. And I knew he was hooked.

A few weeks ago, we were headed down the trail along the river. I was leading the lead horse. I noticed a snake on the trail. I had to stop everyone. If you know me at all, you know I am terrified of snakes. And I don’t care if it’s ‘only a garter’! So don’t bother.

I had to stop the caravan because I was worried that if the horses didn’t spook from the snake, that they might pick up on my fear. So I switched spots with someone that wasn’t afraid. I was now with the third horse. I figured all snakes would be safely out of sight by the time I got there.

I was wrong. I was noticing them everywhere now. By the time we got to the end of the trail, there had been 4 snakes and a snapping turtle. I politely asked my rider how much room she had in her saddle…as if there was just one more on the way back, I might be joining her. I had been joking the whole way and had everyone laughing….however, underneath it all, I could have died I was so scared.

I told one rider that if she kept laughing, I would switch spots with her and she could walk back. She came in a wheelchair. This had her in hysterics, laughing. Yet I was still serious. No one had any idea.

I decided that I had to stop looking down. I was seeing the grass move everywhere! I could hardly breathe. So I was just going to continue hanging on to the horse and look up. Wayy up! Then if there was a snake or a turtle or a lizard on the trail, I would have no idea. And no reason to be afraid.

And it worked.
For awhile.

Next thing I know, my feet were out from under me. I slipped in a mud puddle and almost went under the horse. If I hadn’t been hanging on to the saddle, who knows what might have happened.
I explained to them why I didn’t see the puddle and for the entire rest of the trail ride all I heard was quiet giggles & tee hee’s.

I told the rider, ‘You know I’m not a professional….I’m just here for comic relief’.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

There's no crying in Racing!

Saturday night at the races. The dirt oval track in Brockville. A little more expensive than the drive-in…but at least there’s no fear of falling asleep!

I absolutely love the thrill you get when a racecar roars past you and you feel the rumble in your chest. I grew up in a drag racing family…so it is in my blood. The louder & more powerful the engines, the higher I am (cloud 9 high, that is)

We went to the races last night with our neighbours. Their grandson races a stock car. This is only his second year but he is doing great. Last time he took in a 1st place and 3rd place during the different heats.

There are many different classes at this track. They start out with the smallest engines and work their way up. I was having a great time. I always do. When the sun went down, the huge flood lights came on. There was a cool breeze blowing through the grandstands and I found myself wishing I had changed out of my shorts before leaving the house.

The modified stock cars came out to do their warm-up laps. As they passed in front of us, they revved their engines….and my heart. That sound always gives me a rush beyond most people’s imaginations. I put my hand to my chest to feel the vibration. Sweetie asked if I was alright.

‘Yes….I just' choking….I managed ..'God….I forgot how much I love that. I miss it so much!’

Then I was taken back 30 years to Pennfield Ridge. To an old abandoned airport runway….it was our drag strip. I could see Dad standing leaning up against ’67 Camaro waiting in the staging lanes. Helmet in hand…with the biggest smile on his face.  Then I could hear his 454 big block screaming with impatience….’Get me to the Christmas tree!’

I remembered packing the food into the camper and loading up the car….either the Camaro or the ’67 Chevelle. And heading to the track. My Father was a God on the drag strip.

It seemed like nothing could stop him. And no one could beat him. I couldn’t have been more proud.
Then I remembered how it felt when he said he was ‘too old for this’ and he sold his cars. I thought of how happy he was when he was behind the wheel of a modified super stock. My heart beat so loudly that my ears hurt. Then I realized I was crying.

‘Are you ok, Doll?’ I heard again…
I looked at him and but I couldn’t speak.

Grabbing a tissue, I finally got out, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Dad truly happy since he raced.’
Well, other than when he was playing with the kids when they were little. Taking them around the yard on the 3-wheeler or listening to them read a story to him. :-)

I heard myself thinking, then realized it was out loud.

‘I would give almost anything to be able to have him here in one of those cars right now.’
Once the dam was broken I had a hard time stopping the tears. I never realized at the time what an amazing gift it was to see my Dad race…and win.

I didn’t know until it was over, how much I really enjoyed it. And how much I would miss it. I’m the luckiest daughter in the world to have been able to witness such skill & performance under the hood or on the race track …. and tickled pink to call it ‘Daddy’.

And I’m forever grateful that when he was on his way to the track, that he wanted me riding shotgun.

Thank you for sparking the love of racing in me, Dad.
I love you.
And you’ll always be in my Winner’s Circle.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Daughter's new Family

From the time they take their first step, we start to worry about them growing up and leaving someday. And as much as we try to love and protect them, we know that they will eventually make that step out the door towards their new life.

When that day came for me, I was horrified. My baby girl was leaving home for the first time. I couldn’t hug or kiss her to say goodnight. I wouldn’t get to see what she was wearing the next morning before she left the house. She was only 15 minutes away, but it seemed like an ocean grew between us overnight.

A week and a half later, she was moving back home. I was relieved and concerned all at once. Yes, she was back under my wing….and it was very hard to let her go in the first place. But how hard was it going to be to have her leave the nest and stay out?

A few months later she was planning on flying again. This time getting her own place, more independence….more freedom….more responsibility. We had just celebrated her 20th birthday and were moving her furniture the next day. This seemed much more permanent. Last time she took her clothes and her TV. This time, she took her dishes, her bed, her everything.

Just three months later, she was back home again. This time it was for good reason, her landlord was exhibiting inappropriate behaviour. She and her roommate were being put into dangerous situations. We needed to bring her home this time. And we were happy to do it!

She did seem different this time. No longer a child. She would wash the dishes and clean up without being asked. She got along better with everyone in the house, even her younger brother. She hugged me more and seemed to enjoy spending time with us. It occurred to me that being on her own, even for a short time, helped her to appreciate her ‘home’ and her family.

It made me feel great. She started looking for jobs & a place to live. Each time she thought she had found the perfect one, it would fall through. Being her Mom, I was feeling so many emotions. I wanted her to venture out and achieve her dreams. But I didn’t want her to go too far. I knew when she finally did leave for good, it was going to hurt. My heart already ached for the little girl that would sit on my lap & giggle while I read to her.

But I thought at least she wouldn’t be far away. She was looking in the towns close by for an apartment. And a job. As the weeks passed, I think panic set in as she began to think she would never leave Mama’s nest. She needed to get out, she needed to have an adventure. And I had to let her.
I smiled and I hugged her…and I helped her pack her things. She was going two provinces away to stay with her Grandfather. During her stay there, I worried about her more than any other time in her life. Why? Because she still couldn’t find work or a place to live….but I wasn’t there. I couldn’t touch my finger to the end of her nose and make her smile. I couldn’t give her a hug when I knew she needed it.

But we did have Skype. An online program that allows you to see someone that you’re talking to that is far away. But as I told her one evening after we said ‘goodnight’…I found it extremely hard to say goodbye to her. It was very hard to see her, but not be able to see her. Does that make sense?
Then came the day she told me that she was hired as a nanny. This is her dream position. She was so excited. And I for her. :-)

But this isn’t just a job. She’s living with this family. These people that I don’t know. And she’s moved an entire other province away. I didn’t think I would be able to handle that.

But when she contacts me and I hear how happy she is, it makes my heart smile. My little girl has grown up. She’s found her adventure. And I am so proud of her for being brave enough to make this move.

I know she’s going to be great at this ‘job’. Because to be a good nanny, you only need a sense of humour and a huge heart. And my daughter has both of them.

I love you, Sweetie.
And yes, I miss you. xo

Monday, June 4, 2012

What we really see....

The other night, my oldest son & I were watching TV. A show called ‘Secret Millionaire’ came on. For those of you who are not familiar with it…someone with lots of money goes to a place where there’s not much money, they get to know people and hang out to find out who needs the money the most. At the end of the show they give out cheques for anywhere from $5000 to $100,000 (from what I’ve seen so far).

I found myself very emotional throughout the episode. This is not the first time we’ve seen this show. It truly does make me ill to think that there are people in this world that have more money than they know what to do with….yet, there are people that don’t even have beds to sleep in at night or food in their bellies.

Of course society would like for us to believe that this only happens in ‘third world countries’ They show the commercials for all the pretentious organizations that supposedly help these people.
“Look at this poor starving child with the flies crawling on her face…..don’t you want to help her in any way you can? All it takes is pennies a day to feed, clothe and school this child.”
Are they serious? How stupid do they really think we are?

I’ve known hundreds of people in my life that have sponsored these children. And they’ve sent more than pennies a day….much more. For many years.

And in the commercials, they show these celebrities, actors & musicians over there with the sad faces….why would they waste their time making these commercials? Why bother asking the average joe like you and me for our pennies a day when they have people already there that could hand over a paycheque. One paycheque for $2.6 million and apparently feed this whole village for a lifetime.
Every single time I’ve seen these commercials, my immediate thought is, ‘Put down the damned camera and swoosh away that fly! HUG that child, don’t put a camera in it’s face!’

How do we even know that the money being sent from our country is getting to the people that need it? We don’t know. I’ve been to a friend’s home and seen their ‘adopted child’ on the fridge with their happy smiling fly-free face with a handwritten note (in English, no less) thanking them for their money each month. Their ‘pennies a day’ have changed this child’s life.

Then I go to my Aunt’s house in a different province and see the same child on her fridge. Hmm…. Stop and think of how many years these organizations have been begging for money. Think of how many people you know or have heard of that actually send money. Then multiply that by 1,000,000…easily. Do you honestly think that for that many people, for that many years, sending that amount of money….that there is still no one over there that can swipe that fly out of that child’s face?? And the only thing they still have to eat is rice?! The cost of the jet that got that camera crew there would have helped alot.

I think the people in the commercials, the celebrities should be ashamed of themselves. There are days in my own life where I have not been able to feed my children. I know many families that struggle with day-to-day expenses. And to ask us to send them our money that we so desperately need….when there are people in the world, in this country that could easily share the bounty they have.

Do you have any idea how many multi-millionaires there are in this world?

When the lottery jackpots are up to $650,000,000 (in the US) why, for the love of Pete, would they not draw 650 sets of numbers?? Why?! What does one person need with $650 million? I just don’t get it. Wouldn’t changing the lives of 650 families or individuals make so much more of a difference than one person or family?

I could go on and on about this subject…but I want to get back to what I started on. The Secret Millionaire, this man and his daughter go to the slums of New Jersey and meet people who are ‘down on their luck’ and homeless.

The majority of the people they met were war veterans. These men & women sacrifice their lives, to fight in the wars, going to other countries not knowing what to expect…or even what they will come home to. Some losing limbs, some losing their sight, some don’t make it home at all. And this is how the US gov’t/army thank them for their contribution? To toss them aside and leave them out in the cold. Do you think those politicians would ever end up that way?

Does our gov’t/army discard their people in the same manner?

The people that make the decisions to go to war or to ‘fight for peace’ around the world are never the ones that go onto the battlefront. They are not the ones that are risking life and limb. But they are making all the decisions….

And they also make the decisions that leave these people to fend for themselves. One TV show I saw, I can’t remember the name of it…but a man wanted to help give a facelift to a shelter that provided food for homeless people in a community. He provided a work crew and supplies to gut out the hall and make it all new, including appliances…and then he made it a goal to have it all done and have a meal ready for all of their patrons that evening.

The mayor of the town. The mayor! Showed up at the hall to give his appreciation to this man for what he was doing. And he challenged this man to make enough food to feed another large group of people by a deadline (which was before his previous goal of feeding the homeless people in this particular neighbourhood)

This mayor….did not offer to help, offered no money to contribute and virtually did nothing to help the group in any way. I was appalled. It makes me sick to see people like that in a position of power. He walked in, in his 3 piece-suit….and drove off in his $60,000 car….and did nothing to help anyone.

If you too are tired of seeing this type of behaviour, why don’t we do something about it?
There is a revolution growing worldwide as I type this blog.

Occupy groups all over are doing whatever they can to fight against this type of behaviour…to take the power away from money-hungry politicians and huge heartless corporations. Find a group in your own area and see what they are doing.

Let's tell them that this is not OK.

Friday, June 1, 2012

How do I look?

It was date night again. We went to the local theatre. I was excited…and with good reason. I had a pretty good notion we would break our sucky movie streak. PLUS…I was no longer cleansing. I could have popcorn.

‘Would you like anything else?’ the pretty young blonde behind the counter asked.
Did I look like I wanted something else? Did I look like someone that would have to go into the theatre arms laden with junk food? Did she not know that I had just spent 7 days ridding my body of all the forbidden fruits (that’s just a figure of speech…pretty much my whole diet was fruit)

What exactly was this girl trying to say? She was really starting to get on my nerves. Just as I was about to give her a piece of my mind, my eye caught an Aero bar. Normally I don’t like the common chocolate bar….however, this was Dark chocolate. It would not make me break out.

‘Yes please…’ I sheepishly pointed to the Aero Dark and proceeded to the theatre juggling my drink, popcorn & treat.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did in fact like the movie. Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones are two of my favorite actors. Sci-Fi is not usually my passion, however this was a silly sci-fi. And I do do silly.

When I had my fill of the greasy popcorn, I moved onto the chocolate. Only breaking off one section and putting the rest back into my purse…because usually dark chocolate was quite strong in flavor, I was sure that was all I would need.

I chewed & swallowed the chocolate without alot of notice to the flavor until afterwards. It was delicious! I thought I would have another section, this time not using my teeth. I would slowly savour the flavour.

Oh my!

I reached into my purse for a third section…again, slowly letting the chocolate melt & fill my mouth. I can’t remember the last time I had an Aero bar…but it never tasted like this. Was it because it was dark? or because I had eaten it so fast, it didn’t have time to melt? who knows! Another section…

At this point, I look sideways at Sweetie with his sour peaches…..usually we share our treats. He offers me some of his. I offer some of mine. Then I realized I only had one section left. I waited till he had a mouthful of sour peach….and realized this was the perfect opportunity. He would never chance ruining the flavor explosion of the fruity peach with a dark depressing chocolate bar.
I casually passed it in his direction. He looked over…and shook his head.

YESSS! It’s mine.

I pop the last section into my mouth and settle back to enjoy it…..and the movie. Let’s not forget the movie.

As we were coming into the lobby, I realized that I had some powdery popcorn flavoring on my chin. I hastily wiped it away and greeted perky young blonde behind the counter. She asked us if we enjoyed the movie. We both said ‘yes!’ She went on to talk about how she hasn’t had a chance to see it, but she knows people who had. We laughed, we interjected, we made our exit.

Going outside seemed like walking into a warm bath. And it’s May! I love it. There were people everywhere, walking their dogs, walking hand in hand, jogging. I was thrilled that it was still light out. We passed people & smiled, saying hello….I love living in small towns.

Getting into the car, I pulled down the mirror to check my hair and saw the almost-black smudges of chocolate on my cheek, on the side of my mouth and on both hands.

‘HOW could you….??!!’
‘What? I didn’t even……!!’

but you know what?….it was soooo worth it :-)