Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On the Menu Today - Rabbit

Today I took my son to a restaurant downtown that both of us really like. He's a wonderful young man to take out and he loves the macaroni and cheese. All in all, we both ended up having nice meals and a nice time.

The little issue I had with the restaurant today was the first special on the list. The friendly server started to list the specials and mentioned the rabbit dish. I immediately said "We have a pet rabbit!" She went on to list the other specials.

Hearing me say that, the server probably feared that she may have upset my son. He can take it though. And while I can deal with it as I know that some of us do eat meat (in my case reluctantly), it is me that has the big attachment to rabbits.

Since 1990, I have owned 5 rabbits. I wonder if I'm forgetting some. Currently, we have Freckles. She's sweet but currently, believe it or not at Easter time, makes a clucking sound. Don't ask. All of them have been wonderful and unique and some of them have been really feisty too. Rabbits are not boring, furry blobs.

The rabbit thing in my family goes back before my time and I am carrying on the legacy. I may get tired of cleaning up rabbit droppings and feeding Timothy Hay to an animal inside the house (I just don't think that hay belongs in a house) but I love bunnies and I will never eat one.

I just think I should have really put pressure on the server and told her that we also have a pet quail and that we farm pastramis. Then she would have been really concerned.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good Neighbours

Since my husband and I moved into our house 15 1/2 years ago (yes, that long) we have had good neighbours. We didn't know that too much at first. We were both working and aside from when we were doing gardening and things outside, we didn't see neighbours a lot.

Then we had our son. I won't go into a lot of details but his early birth caused a lot of stir. Suddenly my neighbour Marianne was ready to help out. She visited my son in the NICU, washing up and putting the gown on as we all had to do. She visited when it was me and him home during the day and I was so worried about everything to do with him. She was ready to babysit as soon as we were ready to leave him with her.

As my son grew, he got to know Marianne and Norm better. Both were always willing to help. And eggs, spaghetti sauce and other ingredients flew back and forth (maybe not flew, especially the eggs) between the houses when someone needed an ingredient quickly.

The morning that Marianne showed me the floorplans for their new house 3 provinces away (o.k. it's my home province but it doesn't help), I cried. I felt betrayed. I came to feel better about it but, still, they were leaving.

A young couple with small children bought the house. That was great but I did not know what they would be like. Marianne introduced us but still, you just don't know.

Well, it's about 2 years later now and at dinnertime today, I went next door to get sour cream. I was greeted by 2 wonderful little boys that I adore and J & H who were eating dinner. (Didn't mean to interrupt.) Our new neighbours are wonderful. We couldn't ask for better ones.

This evening is not the first time that food has again travelled back and forth since they moved in. There have also been some snacks and meals eaten together, babysitting done on both sides, children playing together and people trying to help each other through difficulties.

I'm writing this to show my neighbours (one of whom is a Facebook friend) how much I value them and also to express my wish that everyone finds neighbours like ours. It is truly a gift.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Retail Victim

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I think that there's too much stuff in this house. Whatever it all is. I've spent some time decluttering and have made some progress. So far, so good.

Today I went to a movie and mall with my son. The movie wasn't as good as we'd hoped but the mall was, as usual, nice. And I didn't come out of it with multiple bags of new items. That is good too.

What I did buy at the mall today was a body mist called Optimism. I know things about how retailers market. I know that they want you to buy the experience and they make you believe that buying this one thing will change your life. Somehow though, at this one store, time and again, I still buy into it. The store is Bath & Body Works. I should never go in there.

I don't know what it is about Bath & Body Works. I get greeted every time but I don't know that that's the secret. Sometimes I don't greet well at other stores. I'm kind of an independent shopper. At Wal-Mart, the greeters tend to avoid me. It's like I put out an anti-greeting warning. It works. At B&BW, though, they greet me right away so there's no time for the alarm. And then there are all the pretty pictures on the products, and the names, and the scents. Oh the scents. My son won't come in the store because of the scents but I sprayed my coat today so he sneezed on the way home anyways. He was not impressed. Oops. Before I make it to the back of the store, I am again buying a product. This time it's Optimism in a bottle.

I would love to find out that this product works. Maybe it will? Still, though, I can't keep doing this. If I want to have less stuff, not to mention stop wasting money, I have to be more rational about purchases.

If spraying this stuff on me (and making my poor son sneeze some more) works, I will announce it far and wide. If not, maybe I'll avoid going in that store next time. That's where it all starts.

Happy shopping! I hope you're better at it than me.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reflections on this Blog

Today is the sixth day that I've written in/on this blog. I want to write six days a week, taking Sunday off. So far, so good. And I'm really enjoying it.

The thing about a blog is (and yes to my brother, if I can come up with a different word for blog, I will - he hates "blog") that it's for the readers too. It shouldn't just be me navel-gazing. After all, I don't think my navel is more exciting than anyone else's. Not that I've checked. But there are no interesting piercings or tattoos or anything.

So, I will write and see where the topics go. I hope that they are relevant to others in some way. Maybe you will relate, maybe you will feel connected, maybe you will smile. Maybe you just won't feel alone.

Today I am still feeling overwhelmed by too much stuff in the house. A trip will be made to Goodwill and some snowpants are up for grabs by some mothers I know who have little boys. Why we have 3 pairs of snowpants in pretty much the same size is beyond the scope of this entry. Of course, in going through some things yesterday for possible decluttering, I found some books that I realized again I really do want to read. So even though some books will be leaving, I feel like I have gained some new books. I better make sure that I do read them though.

The work of Gretchen Rubin is one source from which I am finding inspiration right now. She wrote The Happiness Project, which I really enjoyed, and has a Facebook page and a website. I find her ideas really helpful and she is sharing them beyond the book. Her blog (sorry bro') or website or whatever you want to call it is at Last evening she wrote about clearing surfaces. It was good.

By Monday morning, I hope that I have more surfaces in this house clear. I hope that everyone else has a wonderful weekend and maybe does things that are even more exciting than tidying up.

Your feedback is always welcome!


Friday, March 26, 2010

I put my hand up at a School meeting - D'oh!

School Council and PTA meetings at my son's school are held most months and they're on Thursday nights. For the September meeting, I went with a friend and we accidentally knocked over a large bunch of chairs trying to slip out between the School Council and PTA portions of the meeting. Luckily it was the two of us as I'd still be crying if it was just me, and because we were heading to Chapters and Starbucks for coffee afterwards, we still had a nice evening. And, please don't criticize, at least we attended the first part of the meeting.

Some Thursdays I have had courses in my continuing education program. I miss the meetings. Last night the same friend (she's also my sister-in-law) and I were free so we made a reappearance. This was our first time back there together. No chairs were knocked over (we were commended for that as we left before the PTA portion again) and the meeting went well. It was quite informative.

At one point though, there was a quick mention that a volunteer was needed to organize the grade 4 celebration. The school goes up to grade 4 so these students will be graduating to middle school. I sensed danger from that point on. Then, sure enough, the chairperson asked if for a volunteer to organize this event. Then someone asked if anybody had a student in grade 4. I already knew that I was the only one there. I put up my hand. Everyone laughed as I said that I only put it up because I have a student in grade 4, not to volunteer. Then I asked a few questions about it, was told that a lovely and very capable woman ran it last year and that she will give me lots of information. I am in charge of the grade 4 celebration. It was inevitable.

So, I plan on having people knock over chairs at the event as I know that goes over well with most adults and the kids will love it. I haven't made plans other than that yet but I will do a good job, I've started telling myself. And we will be out of the school anyways after June so, you know, I won't have to face too many angry or pitying looks. And there's always the option of moving out of the community if the event is just way too awful to stay here.

There are people at the school and elsewhere who do a lot more volunteering than me. I will try my best and I hope that it turns out great. But I sure didn't intend this to happen when I got up from a nap and stumbled into the meeting last night.

(It's Purple Day. Wearing purple today to promote epilepsy awareness is greatly appreciated. Thank you.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Visual Route to Success

I woke up this morning looking forward to the day. I like that. It's a great way to start off.

Soon, though, my thoughts went to asking what the purpose or goal of it all is. Where am I heading? I don't know if other people think like this first thing in the morning but I do. The routine stuff like putting my contact lenses in, heading to the kitchen, and singing Good Morning to my son (yes we sing), I can handle without thinking. It's the larger questions that I consider. Or I did today anyways.

As I got thinking, I went back to an idea presented in a class. I've heard about it elsewhere too, including on Oprah. I'm not sure what it's called but in a binder or on a board (cardboard or cork, etc) you place pictures from magazines that represent goals you wish to achieve. I plan on including words too. That was probably suggested in the course. This is said to work well in motivating people to accomplish their goals. It almost sounded like a sure thing. I'm a little too skeptical for that but I like the idea. The naturopathic doctor who taught the course had her pictures in a binder. She credited this concept with at least some of her success. And she did seem pretty successful.

Now, I am me and while I have the big cardboard sheets I bought at the dollar store (in pink and purple, I think I'll use purple) I have not made the board yet. I took the course quite a while ago and I bought the supplies, well, maybe in the last 3 months or 6 months. It was some time before today. But when I lay in bed this morning, I thought of things to put on it. They're all good things at which to aim and I will aim at and hit some if not all of them. I have to think positively. And I know what will go at the upper centre of it all: Fulfill My Potential. That is really my goal here on this planet. I want to be kind and to help, to nurture, to write, and blah, blah, blah but it's really all about using this one opportunity at life and using it well.

I'll make my board soon.

(Oh, my son does have pink eye! He's home today and there's nothing I can do about all of the germs he spread yesterday. He didn't create the bacteria so we really can't be blamed entirely. He's kind of restless as he feels fine but we don't want him touching anything. It will be a different kind of day.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm Friends with Facebook

OK, I spend time on Facebook. I have wasted time cooking in Cafe World, growing crops in Farmville and taking care of my virtual pet. I should do all of these things in real life with the same level of dedication. Lately, I have spent less time there but I do check in a lot and I play Lexulous games. Those are good. And I always like hearing what's going on with the people I know.

I had come to the conclusion, however, that Facebook would not get more exciting. There would be no more connections with people I once knew. And I wasn't happy about that. I live a long way from where I grew up and connecting with people from school has been refreshing. I really like those people now. Whatever went on back then.

Last night, I started searching for people. I looked for some from my early 1990's workplace. That came up empty. Women may have changed last names and it's tricky recalling the exact spellings of more complicated names. Oh well. Then I looked for a few people from school. And I couldn't believe it when, simple as could be, there was P's profile. There it was! We were in classes together on and off from grade 1 to our graduating year of high school. There were some ups and downs along the way, I guess, but I had missed her and there she was. I sent a message and she replied. A connection has been made.

This is not the first really special connection that Facebook has allowed me to make. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my really good friend, Frances. Through no malice on either of our parts, we lost touch. On one trip to an Italian deli market, I was almost crying. The lovely smells of cooking reminded me of time spent at her house with her grandmother at work in the kitchen. I Googled but had no good way to contact her. Then I looked up her teenage daughter on Facebook, introduced myself, and she connected me to her mother. We've gotten together twice since then, my husband's been welcomed in to visit with her wonderful family, she's visited my parents and she's met my son. Even more importantly, we shared things from our younger days that no one else knew. Memories of two little girls. I no longer cry at Italian food stores.

As far as my other Facebook activities go, I may still go visit my virtual pet, the poor thing has been starving for a while, but I'm done with farming and Cafe World duties. Lexulous is fun and I get to play that with friends at a distance. So that's amazing if you think about it. The real value to me of Facebook though is connecting, reconnecting and staying connected with people from the past and present. I'm so glad that I joined.

Oh, and I get to call my grade 4 teacher Maureen now. That's just really good? bad? weird? It's great to be reconnected with her too.

(Oh, and I'm not including P's name because I'm not sure how much she wants to get involved in Facebook yet. She's new.)

PS - I hope that I didn't send my son to school with pink eye today. Yes, that's unrelated but don't we all have many thoughts swirling around in our heads? Or is that just me? Back to the pink eye, his eyes were sticky and reddish this morning. Might be new shampoo? I looked up symptoms, was satisfied it was o.k. and then on way out, he said someone in his class had it last week. I guess if every kid in his class gets pink eye for spring break, I'll really have to rely on my old Facebook friends for company. The mums at the school aren't going to like me. Again, oops.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I want to get rid of stuff

Maybe I need bigger cupboards. In the kitchen, that might solve the problem. That room wasn't designed for the size of the boxes we drag in here from Costco. I know that, I kind of designed the kitchen. Oops. So, things sit on the counter. And then more things join them on the counter to be friendly. And then there is stuff all over the counters and on that cool thing we had to have known as the island. The island is a great place to put stuff.

Outside the kitchen there are school notices, magazines that are supposed to change my life, newspapers, tax forms, continuing education class notes for a course I took and just hope I passed, coats, equipment for an interesting assortment of sports, mail too boring to read but too important to throw out and books. Oh, books. My philosophy seesm to be that you can never, ever have too many books. You can.

So, things surround and overwhelm me. It's not like an episode of Hoarders yet. Those people have terrible problems and need help. But it starts somewhere and watching that show alerts me to the need to control rather than be controlled by stuff.

I love when the chesterfield in the living is clear and I can see its nice colour. I like appreciating the dining room table and even our scratched coffee table. Clear surfaces soothe the soul. I think so anyways. I'll try to test that theory.

We need so much in this world. Ah, but I'm not talking about things. We need love, we need connection, we need mental stimulation and goals, we need food that is lovingly prepared and nourishing and we all need a nice place to call home. I wish that everyone had all of these things and for those us who really do, like me, but clutter up this life and then complain, I think it's time to tidy up, be grateful and see what I can do to reach out and help.

And maybe buy smaller boxes of cereal.

(Oh, something I forgot to mention in my first post: one of my roles is wife. Another oops. I meant oops that I forgot, nothing more. Tee hee.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

And So It Begins...

I'm blogging. Wow.

So, for all of you who are reading this, hi. I will go over a few things today to explain why we are here. It sounds so formal. It won't be.

First of all, I feel a need to express what's in me. Whatever that is. Maybe we'll find out.

Second, I want people to feel connected. If there's something about me that can help other people on their journeys, I want to help them. I want to share. It's not nice feeling isolated, like you're the only one with a problem or concern or experience. I know.

I don't want this blog to be all heavy though. I have a sense of humour. You'll see that. I enjoy laughing and I enjoy making people laugh. I'm a big fan of Gary on Spongebob Squarepants. He's an exemplary snail. I have, at various points in my life, set up a room in my house specifically for sock matching and, on a completely unrelated note, I have named a pumpkin. The sock matching room didn't help. And despite the love and affection I bestowed on my pumpkin, it succumbed to cold weather on Halloween night. Steve became compost.

I'm a Mum, a friend, a daughter, a neighbour, a reader, a wannabe writer (I love writing) and, oh, there must be more. I have some neurotic tendencies and I don't keep the cleanest house. I mean to though. I'm in a Book Club and I'm trying to lose weight. Those last 2 items are rather contradictory because we have really good food at our Book Club meetings. I love to bake and am repelled my cooking. I bought a slow cooker. My husband used it once. We know it works.

So, that's my first blog posting. Stay tuned. Please come back. We'll have fun.

Thank you for reading.