Monday, June 29, 2009

Family Camp

I'm home!

We had a great weekend, I love when we are at the camp cause there is no TV or radio's. All you hear is children laughing and the waves crashing to the shore. We arrived at Pleasant Bay Children Camp (PBC) about 5:00 pm Friday night. The weather was great all weekend till about 2:00 pm Sunday when the rain started.

Our church has a annual camp weekend. This is the second year family camp has been held at PBC and over the years the number of families coming to camp has grown. This year we had over a hundred people! A hundred people together to swim, kayak, canoe, play baseball, campfires, singalongs, watch fireworks, eat together, pray together, and LAUGH.

l love everything about camp but two things, the sleeping(ideally I would like my bed and my bathroom to travel with me) and the bugs (one of my first questions to God when I get to heaven will be: Why Mosquitoes, Why?)

We have a history with PBC, the teenager went to this camp for a week or two every summer for three years when she was younger. Her cousins would fly up from Florida and we would drive the three of them out to camp. Fast forward a few years and the teenager is in Junior High near the end of grade seven. Her homeroom teacher is asking the kids what there plans for the summer are and then she tells them she and her family will be going to a camp for a few weeks in the summer to work. She tells them she has worked at a children camp since she was a teenager and fell in love with her husband at camp. As she talks, the teenager thinks it sounds allot like the camp she went to. So at the end of the class the teenager asks "what's the name of the camp"? And coincidence of coincidence it is the SAME camp! At that moment they look at each other and memories of camp and one being a young kid and the other a leader come back.

Fast forward a few more years, the teenager now has her swim instructor and life guard certification. The teacher and her husband are now PBC Camp Directors and are looking for counselors for the summer. The teenager applies, packs her bags and heads to camp for the summer. This is second summer she is working there and I pray that this summer will be a wonderful for her as last summer was.

While we were at camp this weekend, the teenager was hired to Life Guard for the weekend. This was the first time her father and I have seen her work. Let me tell you it was a little weird at first. It took some time to get used to and for her father and I to find our boundaries. To watch her get the attention of all the people, and explain the rules of the waterfront, boats and beach play made me proud. But what was really hard for us was watching her exert her authority when rules were broken. Let me at this time vent a bit, not one child intentionally broke a rule but there is always one or two,(in this case three or four) adults who not only intentionally broke safety rules but when they were called on it were just down right rude. Yes you must wear a life jacket when you go out on the boats regardless if you were on the swim team in high school. If you should tip over and hit your head, being on the swim team 20 some years ago is not going to save you. The life guard can't help you if you fall of your windsurfer in a restricted area cause she can't see you!

The teenager was upset after these confrontations, and it broke my heart to watch cause I wanted to intervene but I had enough sense to know if I said anything it would only undermine her authority. But after it was over and she spoke to the camp director and rules were explained again to the guests I couldn't of been more proud of her. She is highly trained, and takes her job seriously. And to watch her interact with the children and adults was great, she was always respectful and though we new she was upset she didn't let that interfere with her responsibility. Though she had a rough morning, she was back on duty in the afternoon with a smile on her face and a laugh in her voice.

I should get off the computer and start doing some unpacking. We didn't get home till close to 10:00 pm last night, had showers then went to bed. Uhhhhh my bathroom and my bed.

P.S. Thank Christine for stopping by and THANKS for the yummy just picked strawberries!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Time for change.....

When one thing comes to an end, another begins..........
I am now starting a new chapter to my new life. In a week I will be starting a new job, and with that will come new friends and new commitments. I am looking forward to starting fresh and getting on with my life.
I am finally starting to let go.......I'm not sure if it's time that's making me feel this way, or if it's me seeing things clearer. I may never know. The important thing is I am starting to look ahead and not letting what is behind me get me down. It must seem like I'm talking in riddles but that's the only way I can explain it.
I think the hardest part of this journey will be finding me. I think I'm starting to do that.
For the longest time I think I was waiting...waiting for things to get better, waiting for time to take care of things, waiting for my husband to come back.
I'm not waiting any more, this is my life now and I want to make it great! My kids and I will be okay, and I know I have enough love and strength to make a wonderful life for us.
I always say that life is about options, only we can decide what to make of our lives, and sometimes for a little while that option is taken away, but, and this is a big but, eventually we have to decide- stay as you are or make it better. I think we should always pick to make it better.
I have so much more to say, and so much more to share but one thing at a time.........

Friday, June 26, 2009

Farewell to Farrah Fawcett

Well yesturday the world lost another very famous and iconic in her own way person, Farrah Fawcett. Only a few short days ago I saw a segment where her long term partner of 25 years, Ryan O'neal was talking about how he once again asked the love of his life, Farrah to marry him once again and this time she said yes. Ryan said that she was fighting for her life and when he was asked when the marriage would take place I remember him saying that it would be as soon as she could say even a few words to him. I wonder if his request was ever granted. Everytime I saw anything about the couple, they seemed to be so in love.

I am sure that most of us remember Farrah as one of Charlie's beautiful angels on the TV show Charlie's Angels. Farrah instantly became famous.

Farrah contracted rectal cancer in 2006 and lost the battle yesterday at age 62.

I still remember watching her in very powerful movie on TV called The Burning Bed. It was a tragic story but her acting in this movie was incredible and she made the character so believable.

Farrah Fawcett, a beautiful person both inside and out, she will be missed.

Farewell to Michael Jackson

As I am sure that most of you have already heard, Michael Jackson passed away yesterday from what is reported to have been heart failure. Wow, I must say that I was shocked when I heard the news. In the evening some shows refered to him as the king of pop and the worlds greatest entertainer. They say that there will never be another video released which will supersede Thriller in terms of numbers ever again. He was an amazing entertainer and his legend I think will be similar to that of Elvis's in terms of never being forgotten. I believe that he will be remembered and talked about forever. I was also surprised to know that he was 50 years old. Michael appears to have led a very exciting but also sad and lonely life. I guess that fame can be a great thing but in Michael's case his life changed so drastically that maybe it wasn't such a great thing.

He was a child star who led a very eccentric life. From marrying the king of rock and rolls daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, to the implications of some pretty serious scandals to his disease that turned his skin white, Michael had a lot more on his plate then most of us do.

Farewell to the king of pop. The world will miss his talent.

To view the video thriller click below...........

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursdays at the Park

Good Thursday to all of our benchers,

It's a little different this Thursday, Sunshine is not here today as her niece is graduating from high school today. I am not at Louise's house but at home. I am sick (no voice, cough, and very sore throat). As far as I know Cathy and Louise are together. Just got of the phone with Louise and No, Cathy is not there. So we are going to try something a little different.

I hope that you feel better Carolin. The service for my niece was this morning and the actual ceremony is this afternoon. My daughter as well as Louise's daughter both graduated last night and it was a great night. Lots of fun and some tears too. My sister and her boyfriend slept over last night as we have this double graduation back to back so I don't have much time as I need to entertain and I guess that I should have already cooked them breakfast but seeing as last night was such a late night, they are still just getting up. I am actually surprised that my girls made it to school this morning (5 minutes late but they made it).

So whas new with me, besides being sick both girls are finished school for the summer. The teenager's boyfriend is over today as this is there last day together before she goes to camp for a month. We hope to leave tomorrow in the afternoon to try and avoid the traffic on the 401. I have myself and the little one packed, all of the family is staying for the weekend with about another 110 people from our church. The teenager has been hired to lifeguard for the weekend and then Sunday night we leave and camp officially starts. The other counselor's and staff arrive Sunday at around dinner time. I am somewhat looking forward to her going, number one cause I get my phone back! and number two I plan to clean her room from top to bottom. I can't take the mess any longer. I also will do the same with the little ones room.

I have nothing new on the job front, went for a interview last Monday but didn't get that one either. Last night I went and saw the Sandra Bullock movie 'The Proposal'. It was not bad had a few funny moments. I didn't find there was much chemistry between Sandra and Ryan Reynolds but I did like house the movies was set in.

My roses have all started blooming but I did notice that they are covered in aphids. :( In the past I have bought ladybugs and had them do there thing. Looks like I might have to do that again. Last time I bought them it was $20.00 for either 1000 or 10 000 ladybugs. If you keep them in the fridge they stay dormant but as soon as they are in warm weather they wake up. Last time they started crawling all over me instead of the roses and freaked me out, so I would rather not do that again. Also I remember that I had way more then I needed. So benchers if I order ladybugs does anyone else wants some for there gardens?

I just got of the phone with the garden centre and ordered one case of ladybugs. I will get between 3000 - 5000 little ladies for $30.00. So anyone out there wants some cause I dont think I need that many. They should be here Monday or Tuesday of next week. Perhaps the bloggers can come on over and help (or laugh at) me trying to get the ladies on my roses and not on me. Might even take a picture for all you bencher to laugh at aswell.

Plant chives by your roses and they will keep the aphids away! Ladybugs are a good idea, but what if you set them free and they fly off to someone else's garden??? I have chives in the same garden but still lots of aphids, I am going to call the garden centre today see how much $ for ladybugs. Cause the roses' are right in front of my kitchen window and I don't want the aphids in the house as well.

The description of the ladybugs crawling all over you made me laugh and freaked me out a little too so, no thanks, I am good without them crawling on me. I also don't have any roses at all in my garden. I just realized how strange that is because I love roses and my last garden had many of them. I don't even know where I would put them in this garden and I guess I don't really miss them if I haven't thought of them in 3 summers.
Not even our Dawn Rose climber???

I made an amazing cheese cake last night for my daughters graduation. It is a no bake cheese cake and tastes very similar to the Keg type of cheese cake and guess what, I can put fresh strawberries on it. It was a real hit. I have been baking cookies (over 30 dozen) for camp this weekend. I was asked to make the Saturday night snack. How does cookies and watermelon sound. I made apricot crunch cookie, chocolate chip, and Louise remember when you gave me two bags of cookie mix a few years ago for our cookie exchange. While I just found them and made them up as well.

I am looking forward to seeing the high school graduation today as I have never seen one before. Our graduation for the elementary school was only about 54 kids but the high school is about 500 kids. I can't even imagine.

I just got a phone call from my husband who called and said that they were awarded a new account today which I know he been working hard for and anxiously awaiting the response. I couldn't understand why he was acting so sad about the whole thing. Isn't it a good thing? Well its a great thing but he had promised me all year that he would take a day of while the girls were in school and we would spend it together and that day was finally suppose to be tomorrow the last day of school. I was looking forward to it but what can you do. He was upset at disappointing me and one of his closest friends who he had arranged to golf with today who was excitedly on his way to meet Mr. Sunshine at the golf coarse when Mr Sunshine had to cancel the day. This big account opens on Monday and they only have these next four days to get it all organized. I wonder what they will bring for our weekend plans. Oh, well that's life sometimes.

I guess I had better go and make breakfast of brunch or lunch or something. Keep smiling and enjoy the first week of summer vacation with the kids finally being off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK , are we living in Calgary or what??? I know they said rain today, but this is not Toronto rain! We just had some big thunder boomers and some lightning and then the hail came! Rain followed and now it's done! Just like Calgary, I think this planet has shifted its axis!!

So, this is different! Thursdays on the bench brought to you from 4 different homes. Well, when life gives you lemons.......make lemonade!!!!! I actually think I have some lemons too....mmmmm!

I'm wondering if my fellow bloggers are still sticking to a menu plan.... Hey Louise....this means you too!!! I'm making hoisin shrimp and rice for our dinner tonight, by request!

I just read in our local paper that the yard waste collection is dropping to every other week! I have three composters and they are all full! I own a chipper shredder and it works great! I can take a 4 foot pile of yard waste , ( not including grass) and reduce it to a 1 foot pile! I tend to have a lot of yard waste. We have been in our new home, (resale) for 2 1/2 years now. This home has a fully mature yard. A little too mature! All of the shrubs and trees and perennials need thinning and pruning and basic rejuvenating! This produces a lot of waste! However, it's also great exercise, especially for my arms!!!

O.k., the sun is now shinning???? Just like in Calgary, wait two minutes.....

Two minutes have past and now the wind is blowing the trees sideways....

So should I hang the laundry outside or what?

I thought I was suppose to be blue!!!!
So the school year is coming to an end!!! I'm SO not good with change........That's probably why my life has been falling apart these last few months. Today is the last day driving my one school, I'm a bus driver and the public schools are finished today. I hope I don't shed too many tears saying good bye to them, they are a great bunch of kids, and I will miss them.
Tomorrows the last day of school and my daughters last day at her school, the school she's been at since kindergarden. It gives me a lump in my throat just thinking about it!!!!
I promise I will try to hold it together, I've been such a mess this week..........I know, I know big shock! I hate change!
I'm trying very hard to just look more looking back, just ahead at all the new adventure's me and my kids will be going through. This will be one very different, new and unchartered summer holiday. I'll keep you all updated!
So I'm off to say good bye to my afternoon kids and I will try my hardest not to use too much tissue and not make a complete fool of myself.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

John and Kate plus 8 (what happened)

I watched an episode of John and Kate plus 8 that was promoted as a special episode. I had heard roomers of trouble between the couple from friends. On tonight's episode John and Kate announced that they will be separating. In fact on June 22 nd the separation papers were filed. I don't really know what happened as they did not discuss the circumstances on this episode. It seems to be more John's decision then Kate's from what I could gather. Does anyone have knowledge of what actually happened?

Regardless of the circumstances, I feel really bad for the kids. John and Kate both say that they are doing what ever they need to do for the kids. I don't know, wouldn't staying together and working towards healing their marriage through counselling and what ever else could be helpful be the best thing that they can do for their children? What do you do when I partner will not talk or agree to go and get help but feels that separation is the only way to solve the issue?

Kate said that John would not speak to her. She said that he refuses to have the conversation with her about why he is so angry with her.

John says that Kate has always been in control and that she is very organized and very good at it but that he did not like being constantly told what to do. He says the he is finally standing his ground and that he feels good about it.

It's all very confusing to me or maybe not considering the fact that there are 8 little children involved who anyone who has children knows take over your lives until they reach a certain age.

I think that most people panic at some point when they have small children and feel as though they loose themselves and a bit of who they once were. In John and Kate's case those feelings are times 8.

Maybe if they could know that some of these feelings are totally normal they would be able to weather the storm. Every marriage takes work and has its own ups and downs but giving up on each other is the worst thing that either partner can do.

I hope that John and Kate can figure some of this out and be a family for their children and be there for each other because right now they sure look pretty sad and its clear that they are both hurting.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer has officially begun (in our house)

The teenager wrote her last exam back on Thursday and has been on my phone ever since. So if anyone out there is trying to phone me, be patient I will have my phone back after this weekend. We are driving two and half ours east to drop the teenager off for a month at camp this Friday. This is her second year working at camp as a counselor and lifeguard. I am sure the month will wiz by for us and be slow for her as she will have no contact with the boyfriend the whole time she's gone. Unless of course they decide to write letters and mail them the old fashion way, not sure if teenagers know what a stamp is anymore.

I went to the little ones school a little early today so I could watch the buses. At her school they have a last day of school tradition. All of the elementary children load on to the buses (regardless if you regularly ride the school bus or not). All the teachers, staff and parents then watch and wave as the buses ride around the parking lot honking there horns with kids cheers being heard from the windows. The buses do this ‘round about’ six or seven times then come to a stop and the unbused kids get off. There is much laughing, waving and cheering. But for me I always end up with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat. I just don’t like goodbyes I guess.

So grade eleven was done last week, and now grade three is done. Besides the teenager going to camp for a month we have know plans for the summer. I was hoping to be working. I went for an interview yesterday at an educational toy store and the manager said they would be making a decision that night. I have waited all day for a phone call but nothing, so guess I’ll cross that opportunity off the list.

I have heard more then once (more like a dozen times) that I need to be patient and keep giving it up to God. I am told that God has a plan for me and I need to be open to his plan. Well God here it is, what is the plan? If you have been telling me or showing me what your plan is then I have been either deaf or blind cause I am not getting it.

So GOD would you please speak to me in a loud voice using simple words and can you draw me a really big picture cause I don’t know what you want from me! I don’t know what you want me to do!

P.S. God, you should be able to get a word in edgewise as I woke up this morning with no voice.

The Bachelorette

Does anybody out there watch the Bachelorette? I just started watching a few weeks ago. She is a Canadian girl from Vancouver. In last nights episode they visited Lake Louise and Banff in Calgary. What amazing scenery it was so beautiful.... I haven't watched those shows (the bachelor and the bachelorette) in so long but now but I think that I'm hooked. For anyone who does watch the rose ceremony was painful. I can't believe that she kept that creepy Wes over Jake. I don't know what she is thinking. Can she really be that bad at judging someones character?

Next week she visits the families and home towns (I think that they are all from the states)of the five remaining men. I hope that Jillian has not made a big mistake in keeping some of her choices.

Good luck Jillian we will be watching.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

To all of the wonderful fathers in our lives who add so much to our days. To my dad who I love very much and who has successfully raised three wonderful daughters and now four amazing grand daughters. He is an inspiration to me and I owe him so much. To my husband who I love so much, who sticks by me every day and who is a great dad to my two girls. As the years go by I see so many similarities in my dad and my husband. They are both very hard working and very devoted to their children. Everything that they do everyday is for their family. In all of my years living at home I can always remember my dad leaving at 5:00 am with a smile on his face and no matter how many hours he worked (he worked in construction so he worked very long hours) he always came home and greeted us with a smile on his face. I can say that my husband is exactly the same way. My girls adore their dad as munch as I adore my dad.

Happy Fathers Day to all the other great dads in our lives.

Friday, June 19, 2009

99 Balloons for Eliot

This may not be a post that you want to really get into. You know those commercials on TV that are about dying and starving children. They are the ones that I change the channel on because they are too sad and painful to watch. It's almost better that I don't know about them because then I can live a happy day. Well on the Oprah show this week there was a story about a little boy that had everyone in tears. I wasn't in the room for the story I came in at the tears. I went to the Oprah web site and wanted to know what it was about. As I was playing the video my husband asked me to turn it off because he said that he couldn't listen to it. I stumbled to find the ear phones so that I could continue. Although it was so hard and so heart breaking, I watched it and I too was in tears. It is about sadness but it is also about love and incredible human spirit and strength and the amazing ways in which some can seize the day and make every moment count.

It is here for you to view if you want to. If you don't want to its OK too.

Restaurant Review (Cora's)

On Thursday morning I went to Cora's restaurant for breakfast with a friend. I had never been before and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. It was such a cute and homey place. The staff was all wonderful. The menu is colourful and so varied. It encompasses so much more than just your typical , bacon, eggs, toast and home fries breakfast. There are choices that are extremely healthy and so beautiful that you really need time as a new comer to make a selection. The kitchen and food prep is exposed to the public so can see what is being prepared. The food came and the presentation was true to the picture and so beautiful. The true test is taste. It was so delicious. It was a good portion and really it kept me quite full all day long. If I would rate Cora's I would give it an 8 our of ten. The only thing is that I know that you can get a breakfast for $3.99 with a portion of your standard foods from most greasy spoons but it would be up to you as to weather or not you would spend the extra $7.00 for something a little nicer and definitely a lot healthier.

For me it was worth the extra money and it was very enjoyable. I would definitely go again.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Update on my proposal

I have been getting voice mails and emails asking about the status of my proposal to my daughter’s school to provide food services for the 2009/2010 school year.

Last Tuesday the school principal and department heads met for there weekly meeting and on the agenda was the my proposal. I made up a tray of homemade cookies and fruit kabobs to help them digest my proposal. The next day I was told that they liked the idea and would support it at the school board meeting. Yea!

This past Tuesday was the board meeting, I was cautiously optimistic, as I knew I had four out of ten members supporting me. Once again I made up a tray of homemade cookies, squares and cut up strawberries to help sway the board to my way of thinking. Yesterday I went a little early to pick up my daughter and spent a few minutes speaking to the principal about the outcome of the board meeting.

He said “I have good news and bad new”.

“First the board likes the proposal and likes the idea of food services for the school”. “So go ahead and try for a few months”.

The Bad news:

“The commercial kitchen is part of phase II and is not scheduled to be completed till December 31, 2009”.

I am unclear if December 31 includes the kitchen outfitted with counters, plumbing and equipment or is just a roughed in shell. So where does this leave me?

Using the existing kitchen is out of the question, as the board of health would never approve it. I can go back to the soup and sandwich idea but it does still require an investment on my part with a higher risk of return. Today I went and checked out a small snack food spot in a recreation center. I spoke to the lady who worked there and got some feed back from her. I was looking at her layout and space required.
Mr. Sunshine has offered to come to the school to check out where I could set up.
I am thinking along the lines of setting up near the new kitchen area, using a counter style layout. I would have a limited menu, as I can’t cook anything. But I could make sandwiches, have soup, chili, make toast, bagels and have pre-made snack foods. I could have a microwave. If I got a full size refrigerator I could also do Popsicles and freezes and pop that is not sold in the vending machine. I would be on a limited menu but maybe it would be easier to start small till the kitchen is complete. One of the concerns is being able to find and afford a counter system that I could somehow incorporate in to the future layout so the money is not wasted. Also the school would have to provide plumbing for sinks (I would need three).
It all seems overwhelming and I find it never ending. And I feel like I am going in circles. I am so confused and not sure just what to do anymore. So what do I do?

Seeing Len Everywhere

Have you ever noticed when your mind is consumed with something, you see that thing everywhere you go. It’s like when you are pregnant, it appears like the rest of the female population is also pregnant. Or when you buy a new car and everywhere you drive someone is driving that exact same car right beside you.

Well for months after Len died it was like that for me. Every pickup truck that I would pass had Len sitting in the cab. Every blond man who would walk by I would have to do a double take cause I could of sworn that was Len that just walked by. I would hear this big voice full of laughter and have to look around cause I was sure it was Len laughing at something.

These sighting went on for months and months. And what seemed crazy, was I was the only one in my house who saw Len in all these strangers. I even had a few dreams where we new Len was dead but he was alive if that makes any sense.

When I sleep I dream just about every night. I don’t always remember my entire dream sometimes it is just a feeling that I wake up with and it stays with me through out the day. But one thing with all of my dreams that is consistent is my family and I are still living in our old house. We moved over 7 years ago but I still to this day dream as if we still live there. It was about two months after Len died that my dreams of him started. I would have dreams where my mom and siblings are all sitting in my living room and Len is telling us about his trip to Belize. I am pacing the living room floor and getting upset because we all know Len is dead but he is sitting there talking to us. Finally there is a break in the conversation and I ask Len how he could be here when he is dead and then he instantly disappears. My brother and sister sit there in shock and my mom starts to yell at me “Len was with us why couldn’t you just keep your mouth shut. If you didn’t ask so many questions Len would still be here”. Or another dream, Len and I are leaning against the back of his truck in my driveway just shooting the breeze. Then Len turns around and starts to walk away and says while pointing to me “she’s right about that God and Heaven thing” and then he is gone. There were more dreams all similar to the two above but the unusual part of all of these dreams was in everyone setting was our currant home. The dreams of Len are the only dreams I have every had, where we live in this house.

I am not sure what that all means or if it means anything. Maybe it is because Len helped design and build the fireplace and built in wall unit in our family room. Or maybe because just before he left for vacation we had arranged for him to help move a wall and closet in our laundry room. While Len was away my husband tore the wall out and was just waiting for Len to come home to help with the plumbing and electrical. Or when I was going through his computer looking for work related files after he died, I came across designs of my dining room that we had discussed doing in the future. The dining room was going to have a wider entrance with half pillars and display shelving below them.
Perhaps our home has more of Len in it, then I ever realized. He came for dinner often when he was in the area. Since we have lived here, most Christmas dinners have been prepared and celebrated in this home with the whole family. Even before we officially bought the house it was Len who came and did the inspection for us. And with his usual humour while he laid on a bathroom floor with his head under the toilet tank looking for leaks, I asked him what was taking so long and he said “I am just enjoying how clean it is under here cause it will probably be the last time I ever see it this clean.” And his is right, who cleans behind the toilet!
I know it sounds cliché but we get so caught up in our everyday lives and take for granted what seemed like unimportant moments. That we don’t see the value of our relationship with others till it’s too late. Sad…..

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thursday at the park

Good morning fellow benchers,

I know its not Thursday, but Louise has a class trip tomorrow so we are meeting today. Today is Cathys birthday but she is at her sons school for something or other. What is new this past week, well let see. I am still waiting for word on my proposal, the school board meeting was last night and hopefully I will hear something this afternoon. Last night my husband and I went to go see Tyler Perry's Marriage Counslor. It was opening night last night and over all it was good. We have been together for about a hour but Louise was on the computer trying to fill out work related emails.

Louise and Sunshine are talking about a former neighbour and that she got a new job. This former neighbour would like to get together tomorrow night for dessert or something. Dessert, I 'm in. Now we are talking about birth control. It seems the pill is prescribed for more then just what we would think. Sunshine has heard that it can be prescribed for headaches. Some how the pill can even help regulate stress and mood swings. Cool!

Sunshine is talking about plans for this weekend. I asked what is this weekend. Seems its Fathers Day, oops I forgot, I better go do some shopping. I hate all these commercial holidays. My thing is you have to buy the gift cause society says I have to, instead of giving me a gift cause you want to give a gift. About Father's Day, I don't think that the occassions have to necessarily be about gifts. Its more about the appreciation of a special someone in your life. It could be your father, your husband, your brother or a great friend who is a great dad. My husband and I don't really exchange gifts on most of these occasions even birthdays. A card is just as heart felt as a gift and its enough to know that we are appreciated.

Another old nieghbour has just showed up. How are you Layting, long time no see? Louise and Sunshine are sitting and catching up with Layting. I remember when I first met Layting way back when her oldest son was a small baby, and now his is just completing his second year of high school. Her second son is the same age as my and Sunshine youngest daughters. Also Louise middle son is the same age. The nieghbourhood would laugh back in 2000 when we all still lived on the same block, there were 13 babies born that year! Her son is in karate and I think that it is so cool. I ask Carolin if she would be interested in getting her black belt with me. But as usual Carolin turns me down. She says that she would rather go to Winners and buy a black belt.

Sunshine just told me about summerliscious July 3 to 19th. Now I am excited, great restaurants, yummy food, and amazing prices. Sunshine and I did this back in the winter during the winterliscious and it was fun. Just talking about it is making me hungry. We should start to make some plans and do we take the kids with us?

Carolin is so crazy sometimes. She doesn't want to talk about the job opportunity in fear of jinksing herself but in the same breath she feels that she will be bought out by some big conglomerate in the future and be the CEO of an incrdible company or she will be on her yaught somewhere recieving faxes on her satellite boat telling her how much she has made for the week. What a great dream. I wonder will she remember us little guppies when she is a big fish in the ocean.
Now that just funny, me the Queen of the muffin and egg salad sandwich!

Is society to sensitive when it comes to our kids in the school and what should be made available to them. Are our kids so much more unhealthy because of the school and what is provided food wise? I don't think so. I think that kids are not getting fat from the treats that they are given at a birthday party at school. We have heard of parents who are becomming bullies in the school angry because there are some not so healthy things being allowed in the classroom. Isn't it our job to police our own children. Isn't packaged food and inactivity the problem anyways. I watched an episode of Jamie Oliver and his quest in England to transform the school and make real food as oppposed to packaged food. He is trying so hard and some of the transformation was successful and other parts were not and he is still working on it. It is a long process and the profit margins are not the same and it comes down to convincing the school board to be happy with smaller profits and happier, healthier and more productive children. It is an issue that is so worth it but the whole world needs to transform piece by piece to make it successful. And most important is the school boards in business to make money or educate children. Aslong as the cafeterias are not losing money then real, fresh, unprocessed food should be number one. Take the deep fryers out of the schools!

Carolin would like to provide healthy, fresh food at the school and is desperatelly trying to find a way to make this feasable. We wish her the best of luck.

Cathy we miss you, Happy Birthday (love Sunshine)

Cathy Happy, Happy birthday.......We hope your having a wonderful day!!!!!!
Are you having noodles tonight???? I don't mean that in any other way then it sounds!!! ha ha
We all know Cathy and YES she will be having Noodles in all the ways we are thinking!

Just as we were getting ready to leave, the subject of last weeks menu planning came up and both Sunsine and Louise have been following it! Yea for them. Keep up the good work ladies, now I have to go and figure something out for dinner.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Boys

Grief is such an all consuming thing, we get so wrapped up in our own feelings and the taking care of our own families grief, we forget about the loved ones friends. And just as devastated as we are, they can be at times even more as it is a peer. I understand the feelings on both sides now as I lost a good friend to a car accident 16 years ago and now losing my brother. The grief of a losing an important person to you is overwhelming and for some it can take a very long time to feel ‘normal’ again.

Len has some amazing friends. For us, his family we always called the three good friends of Len’s ‘The Boys’. The Boys have been apart of Lens life since they were all teenagers in high school. I remember the first time meeting them, my mom was moving and Len brought three friends with him to help. Who knew that, that simple act of kindness would last into a life long friendship.

When all of our family gathered together on the day Len died, also there, sharing in our shock and grief was ‘The Boys’. The three of them stood by the entrance to the living room and though they were all grown men with families of there own. At that moment when I looked at them they looked like three 16-year-old boys, scared, shocked, and not sure just what to say or do. But like the true friends they were to my brother they were there for his family. The three of them stepped up and helped take care of Lens business interests, they made sure that the assets of Len’s business were safe and accounted for, it was one less thing for us to worry about.

Though they all were in such deep sorrow they never loss sight of what was important, and that was that my mom was being taken care off. To this day each of The Boys call her regularly, take her out for lunch and recently once again helped her move.

The summer after Len died The Boys called and asked us to come for a BBQ. They wanted to see my Mom and show us all something. So on a beautiful Saturday we drove the close to two-hour drive north to spend the day together. We finally pulled into the driveway, there was already a large crowd of people there. I wanted to just blend in, as I didn’t know most of the guests. I found it hard to talk to anyone as I could feel the tears starting, but at least this time I was more prepared and had Kleenex in my pocket. As the afternoon progressed, someone would come up not knowing who I was and ask how did I know The Boys. I would reply "I am Len’s sister", the look of fear ‘Get me out of here and quick’ on their faces was priceless.

As the afternoon turned to early evening ‘The Boys’ gathered us up and brought us over to a corner of the yard. In the corner was a large rock that the three of them had engraved with Lens name and all of their names around it. It was a beautiful sentiment and even now when I see a picture of it, it brings tears to my eyes. But the best part of the rock was the story behind it.

Traditionally ‘The Boys’ including Len would go up to a cottage on the May long weekend. It was a weekend of eating big steaks, laughing, and drinking beer or in Lens case, as he didn’t care for beer, drinking some fancy girly drink. With Len not physically with them anymore they were hesitant to go, But my mom encourage them, and told them it would be good to get together. She felt that it would be what Len would of wanted.

So the three of them packed up a truck and went up north, but they were not with out Len, as they decided to bring the rock up with them. This is a big rock and it would take two strong men to normally carry it but add beer and grief to the mix and they needed all three of them. They loaded the rock on the truck and head to the cottage. The plan had been to leave the rock at the cottage, as it was a place were they all shared great memories of being together. But nobody could decide just were the rock should go as Len loved everything about being at the cottage. When they went down to the lake for a swim, they carried the rock down and sat it on the dock so Len could watch them swim. When they sat around the bonfire at night, so did the rock. When it was time for a beer, the rock got a beer as well (though I am sure the rock would of preferred a Singapore Sling). At night when it was time to go to bed, well they couldn’t just leave the rock outside by its self so into the cottage it came. The last day at the cottage was the day ‘The Boys’ needed to come to a consensus on just the right spot at the cottage for the rock to stay. They wandered the land with the rock and after much discussion they finally came to an agreement. The three of them carried the rock back to the pickup truck and heaved it up into the bed of the truck. Just as the four of them traditionally drove to the cottage every May long weekend, the four of them drove back from the cottage together.

And to this day it sits in the back corner of one of ‘The Boys’ back yard for all to see and reminisce about Len and the importance of friendship.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Not much on TV.

I have heard from friends and read on others blogs that June is a dry month for television watching. If its dry for the homes that have cable and satellite you can imagine how dry it is in my home with our 13 channels. Oops, I mean 12 channels, we lost another one at 9:00 AM last Friday due to the US digital switch over.

So with nothing on TV, I have spent a lot of time on the computer searching other people’s blogs. I have found some very interesting blogs, some with cleaver writing, others have attractive layouts, even more with very cool gadgits. But what I have not found is another blog like ours. I have noticed that women write the majority of the blogs. And a large number of them are moms with young children. The blogging world is a great outlet for them. They can feel connected to the outside world and also use their creativity on more then finger-paint. But again I can’t find any blogs written by 4 women who are friends (not related) and who talk about a variety of subjects. So it seems to me we have hit on something pretty unique and special. Of course we always thought we were special and I know my friends think I am unique!

So my quest this past weekend has been trying to get the blog noticed more in the internet world. I have left our link on numerous other blogs and registered with two different Canadian blog directories. I was at the library and asked the librarian to google our blog using various versions of our title. At the Park, Conversations At the Park, Conversationatthepark and finally Conversationattheparkblog. The last one was what got us up at the top of the google search. The teenager said to me that for our blog to hit higher on the google search we have to search it more often from various ISP. She also mention that if we put the link to our blog in our favorites (like I have done) then the blog will never make it up the google search list. Ideally what I would like, is if a person googled At the Park, or Conversations At the Park then our blog comes up on the first page of google search. That is not happening as of yet.

For the last month or so we have stayed at 15 followers. How can we get that number to grow? I know we have more readers then followers because people comment to me in person about stories that have been posted. I even had a friend from our church tell me she was looking forward to the weekend when she could make her self a cup of tea and catch up on what is going on at the park. Her comment was such a huge compliment and very encouraging. While I was internet searching I did come across a gadget we could add to our blog that tells us the number of hits we have and another one that would tell us were in the world the hits are coming from. But in both cases they cost money, each one is about $6.00 a month and as of today we have made a grand total of $5.01 on our blog. So that option doesn’t look too feasible right now.

We need to get more followers and hits on our blog. I saw on a few blogs were companies will give the author of the blog free product or service to try and in exchange the author blogs about the product. There are some blogs were they have giveaways based on comments. Maybe we should try giveaways. What could we give away? There are days when I want to give ‘the teenager’ away. The giveaway idea seems like a bit of a catch 22 as companies will only notice us if we have a lot of hit and followers and the followers will only come if we have giveaways.

Cathy mentioned last week that she read that people like ‘top 10’ list. So I was thinking of maybe doing a top 10 favourite brands. Top 10 favourite restaurants, favourite grocery stores, favourite places to buy children’s back to school clothes etc… I think it could be kind of interesting because the 4 of us have very different tastes and needs. But maybe we could get a free lunch out of it!

So here is my first list and benchers make sure to add to it and comment.

Carolin’s Top 10 Favourite’s (ok so there is only 8 but I couldn’t think of anymore)

1. Favourite Restaurant for Lunch - Zellers Dinner (easy)
2. Favourite Restaurant for Breakfast - Cora’s (the fresh fruit art looks amazing)
3. Favourite Coffee Shop - Tim Hortons (was there any other options)
4. Favourite Vacation Destination for a family – Disney World (hands down)
5. Favourite Beverage - anything from the LCBO for our out of province readers that is the Liquor Control Board of Ontario
6. Favourite Retail Store - Rietmans to buy clothes for me
7. Favourite Food Website - Krafts Whats Cooking Canada. (always can find a quick meal idea here)

8. Favourite Grocery Store Brand – I don’t really have one but if you send me free stuff I could consider you as my current favourite!


I am just so sad. I don't even know why. I feel like I am faking my way through life some days. What do I really want or need? I don't remember ever feeling this way until after my mom passed away but that was 9 years ago. How can this one event change a person so much? I use to be happy every day. People at work use to comment about how I always had a smile on my face. Now the people closest to me ask me what's wrong and why I am so miserable (mostly my sister, I think that's because she knows me best and I must be my truer self around her). I just miss my mom so much and some days nothing will satisfy that loss. I want her back. I want her to hold me and talk to me and make me my favourite foods. I want her to mend my clothes and look at my children the way only she can. This year I didn't even go to visit her at the cemetery on Mothers Day (that's when she passed away). It was easier not to go and although I know that she understands I feel a little bit guilty about it. I wish that I could see her, even just for an hour or two. I never really feel this way on the anniversary of her death it usually takes me a while to figure out that I am so sad because I miss her. I just realized it now as I am writing this because the words just seemed to flow in that direction. I was going to write about sadness but the rest just came. Things aren't always sad for me most of the time I feel that I am happy and I hope that I can be that ray of sunshine for others.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

5 Easy Native Plants for your Garden

1. Black-eyed Susan- blooms summer to fall/partial shade to full sun

2. Purple coneflower- blooms summer to fall/partial shade to full sun

3. Lance-leaved Coreopsis- blooms summer/full sun

4. Bee Balm- blooms early to mid-summer/partial shade to full sun

5. Ferns- non-blooming/shade

The above 5 plants are all native to North America. This means they were growing here all on their own before we came. Native plants are great to grow in your garden because they are already adapted to the growing conditions here and when established need little effort from us. All but the ferns are great bloomers and will fill in your flower border easily.
A great website to visit is listed below. They have great photographs and give solid information on each plant.
All photos above were taken from Wikipedia with the following permissions:
-Black-eyed Susan, Coreopsis, Bee Balm and Fern photo used under the GNU Free Documentation License.
-Purple Coneflower photo used under the Creative Common Attribution ShareAlike- author, 'Hedwig Storch'

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursdays at the Park

Good morning to all of our followers. We hope that you are all doing well. We are all here today and we have muffins and banana bread and fresh fruit and some nice warm tea. Cathy has brought some magazines so that we can make grocery lists and menus. We are not sure yet what her intention is with all of this. She is also talking about the blog and lists of things and how to make it more popular.

Cathy and Carolin are now talking about gardening and plants. Cathy wants to grow more native plants, ferns, potentilla's and etc. what's a potentilla (small shrub with very small flowers). Cathy is talking about blog ranking and how to do that. Where does our blog rank among other blogs. Well we can't worry about that until we are actually making some money. Cathy wants to come up with some lists of topics that will attract others to our blog. At google promoting your site there are ways to promote your site and Cathy says that we are doing most of the things that are suggested on google. Does our blog come up under conversations at the park when you google it or does it come up on our computers because of the history of our cookies.

Carolin is now talking about her proposal for the school. She got a call from the principal informing her that the board meeting that was scheduled for this week has been moved to next week. He approached her at the end of the day and told her that the school members are now on board and its now up to the other board members to give their input. The principal has said that there is nothing in her proposal that she needs to change. On the board there are 4 members from the school so she seems to have 4/10 board members on her side so far. The bottom line she believes will come down to money and who needs to pay for this kitchen renovation. The church wants the kitchen and we hope that they will put in a usable full service kitchen that can be used by the church and the school and Carolin's business. Well we all think that it is good news. She is one step closer to having her future business come to life. She has expended a lot of brain power on this.

Louise got the job within the banking profession. Her training for the job starts in July and she is very excited. If she can keep her busing job and have the banking job in September too then things will be looking up. She will have 6 weeks of full time training starting in July. She is hoping that her ex will help out with watching the kids while she is in training if he is still out of a job. It is a big responsibility for her . We hope that the ex will step in and really help out. There are possibilities through soccer camps and church camps and other things but all of them require money and its money that we all don't have at the moment. Carolin talks about soccer camp for her daughter and how she would love it but money is an issue because of the Chrysler lay offs and the uncertainty with her own job future. Jobs are great and camps are great but kids still need to be watched and any activities cost money. If we could all just have that extra cash to deal with it all. What a crazy summer this will be. We all need it as a rejuvenation from the long hard winter and all of our schedules are filling up fast.

Cathy talks about lay offs at the airport and it doesn't look like it will be happening but who knows.

Apparently you can apply for a grant from the Ontario Arts Council so Carolin wonders if the her school will qualify.

High school kids are off soon. Some tomorrow and some next week. My kids and Louise's kids are actually at Pioneer Village tomorrow. Carolin is jealous, she wants to go too. She loves Pioneer Village and wants to be the tour guide. This really is Carolin's dream job.

Louise took her little one to Library for the reading program and he loved it. She wants to take him from now on but of course there is no course for the next two weeks. She also got in a little trouble for leaving her bus in the parking lot. People have too much time on their hands to call in a bus in the parking lot when it is only parked there for a half hour. Carolin use to take her day care kids to Library and they loved it too. She use to walk there and it took her longer to walk with all of the small kids then to be there for the actual reading portion of the day.

Louise is feeling better and she attributes it to being out and about. She is not staying home anymore. We all ran into an old friend this week (except for Cathy) and they are also doing well. It is a former neighbour of all of ours and they are now going to be grandparents and there youngest son is in Karate now.

Is it better to put a child in home day care or in a professional day care centre? Carolin believes that a home day care centre for children is better especially little ones because it gives them some down time where they can fall asleep on a couch and be in a quiet place if they need to. Louise agrees but she thinks that different kids and there different personalities sometimes would be great for some kids. Some kids have older siblings and are use to and very welcoming of other kids and activities. Her youngest is very social and loves to be a part of the action.

Louise's ex needs a job and he is down on himself because it has been a while now. We all understand and we believe that it is very hard. That constant rejection is difficult and there is a lot of networking to do and sometimes it seems to go absolutely no where. We wish her family all the best financially and in every other aspect of their lives.

Louise has given her ex a number for a trucking company which she approached when she was looking to get her D licence. Well he is meeting with this person and he going to get his B licence. For once his wife is ahead of him in the licence area and he has acknowledged this and he told her how important this licence is and how many doors this opens for you. A head hunter has offered him a job in Niagara Falls and Louise thinks that he should take it. Carolin is talking about a company that is trying to finish a house and needs help because its crunch time so her husband is going for a few days. Well maybe Louise's ex will be available and interested in this opportunity to.

Carolin had told me about a job available at scholars choice. I will be calling and she also told me about Bed Bath and Beyond and I did call them but there is no hiring so far. I have also tries some of my favourite stores to work at, Wall Mart, Home Sense, Winners, Fortinos. I have dropped off several resumes and application forms at all of these. I am waiting for any kind of contact what so ever.

Cathy is talking about her weekend camping trip. The best part is the food! I agree actually it is the only thing of camping I like. We all agree that walking in the sand on a beach is amazing exercise and the best free pedicure you can get. Cathy wants all of us to go camping????? Makes me wonder if she reads my comments on her stories.

Cathy has now changed the subject to food (yeah, food) She would like us to organize a 4 week meal plan. Cathy got her pad and paper and ready for the menu. Louise is giving Cathy her family food favorites. I am big on making large portions and then freezing for the busy nights or when you don't want to cook. For me I find if I am making Sheppard's pie it really is not that much more work to triple the recipe and put to in the freezer for another night. I think the key for busy families is cooking in larger quantity's. Make enough for dinner. lunch the next day and if you can freeze for another dinner.

This is my one of time saving menus, Sunday I make a large pot of pasta sauce. Sunday night we have spaghetti for dinner with meatballs ( I have already made and froze, I just take out what I need). Monday night we have chicken thighs cooked in the left over spaghetti sauce, simmer for 40 minutes and have over rice. Dinner three we have the left over chicken and sauce, I make pizza. Just have to add cheese.

Fellow blogging friends what are some of your time saving tips for the busy dinner rush. I am sure we are all in the same boat trying to get real whole food that everyone likes that is quick and nutritious on the table within a hour of getting home from work or were ever.

Hi there, it's Cathy now. Planning a 4 week menu is a great idea. I got the idea from a tv show on the food network called, 'Fixin Dinner', with Sandi Richardson as host. I tried it and it works. It was great knowing what was for dinner and the grocery list was practically cut in half. Menu planning saved us money! The kids loved that I finally repeated meals. I have a bad habit of not cooking the same thing twice. I don't know why, I just love to cook and experiment and my family loves what I cook. They would just like a chance to taste it again!

I have to leave early today to attend a volunteer tea at the school. It's nice. The teachers all bake cookies and we usually receive a plant and it's a nice way to say thank-you to all the volunteers who donate their time at the school.

Carolin is talking about stripping?????
I say if it pays well......Go for it!!!!!!!!
The girls are in a rush to go, so I'll get back to everyone later.
Hope everyone is having a good day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Something light for a change.....

Today is a much better day for me......I watched my oldest take home her 1st place ribbons, 1st in long jump, 1st in 100 metre and 1st in 100m relay!!!! I'm sunburnt and I feel like I did the running instead of her, but most importantly I'm not really that sad today. Don't get too excited yet! I have had days like this before, and then felt awful later in the week, but I have to say it feels really good!!!
I find I have alot of time to think, and sometimes that's a great thing, but I have to be honest it's also so draining. I would rather have lots of people around to keep me distracted and hopefully when I start work that will do it for me.
I'm just wondering if people can actually get used to being alone? Do you think that happens? I mean some people don't know any different, but if you used to have lots of friends and family and a busy social life and then things slow right down, do you get used to it? I know our life changes all the time, but when things happen and you one day open your eyes and find yourself totally in a different and foreign place, do you learn to adapt? I know everything takes time, but do you actually change to what's going on in your life?
I'm asking because I know we have all different kinds of readers or followers(friends would be a much better term) I just thought who better to ask. Also I would like to say Thank you to all our friends that have followed our happy and sad stories, just knowing somebody is listening makes some things a little easier to bear..........
Like I said I'm really interested to hear anyone and everyone's opinion.

My Friendship Garden

If you want to break the ice with a Canadian all you have to do is ask us about our weather. There are parts of this world were the weather is a fairly predictable thing but not in Canada. If you go west to Calgary its not uncommon to have snow in July and be wearing your shorts in January. Flooding seems to be the norm in Manitoba now of days. Whenever I talk to family down east it seems Nova Scotia is in the middle of another storm, be it rain or snow. In Southern Ontario where I live, we have had a cold spring. My family has still been using the gas fireplace at night to take the chill out of the house and as of yet we haven’t even bothered taken the cover of the air conditioner. Usually by this time of year the kids have been in the pool numerous times. I don’t think my husband has even finished opening the pool yet. As much as I am ready for the weather to warm up my gardens are enjoying the frequent rains and cloud-covered days.

This morning I went out to putter in the back yard. The lupine in the corner of the yard are blooming, it’s a sea of pale pink, fuchsia and purple. I walk over to another flowerbed and the poppies are just starting to bloom, I would estimate there are about 30-40 buds on them. Both the lupine and poppies I started from seed a few years ago. I have about eight clematis growing on a chain link fence and they are all doing well and are full of buds just waiting for the Sun to peak through.

About nine years ago Cathy gave me a clump of the palest purple iris I have ever seen. The second summer after I planted them I saw something odd and went out to investigate and noticed that in the middle of the clump of iris was on strong straight dark purple iris blooming. Since that time the iris has moved gardens when we moved houses and I have divided it many times. I still get the pale purple blooms and when they are spent the darker purple starts its blooming. Two springs ago I moved some of the iris to the front of the house. When I moved it to the front I was trying to keep to a purple and white theme, so I figured the iris would work nicely. And just like in the back the pale purple blooms first. As I type this, the second bloom has started, but it is not dark purple as I would of expected but instead is a pale yellow! I don’t even bother to figure it out anymore obviously this iris has its own agenda.

The ‘little one’ and I planted a vegetable garden. Back in March we started cherry tomatoes from seed in the house and they are now in the garden but are pretty small, don’t know if they will produce anything. The ‘little one’ had fun planting swiss chard, lettuce, orange and purple carrots, brussel sprouts, snow peas, and sun flowers all from seed. The problem I have is because everything is so small I cant tell the weeds from vegetables. And since I am not sure just where she planted all the different seeds in the vegetable garden I am afraid to pull anything.

I head over to the Herb garden and my sage bush (yes it is massive) is almost out of control. Again I started it from seed about six years ago and every spring I cut it way back and it seems to love it, as it grows back bigger and stronger. Beside the sage is some oregano that Louise gave me. I have to be strict with the oregano because it likes to spread everywhere. Whats funny is I don’t use much sage or oregano in my cooking, but I have massive amounts of it. The parsley is growing wherever it can find an open spot and fortunately it keeps reseeding its self. I have a big metal tub that I also grow herbs in. The tarragon is close to three feet tall and comes back every year but my basil is missing the sun. Again I started it from seed in March but it is only a couple of inches high and not looking the best. As you can guess I use basil a lot, and so far I still have to buy it from the grocery store.

I am going to have to move some things around as Cathy mentioned to me, I could have her rhubarb plant. I do enjoy a strawberry/rhubarb pie. About four years ago Sunshine came over and we spent the day making stepping-stones. I have about ten through out my front and back gardens. We got huge rhubarb leaves and laid cement over the wrong side of the leaves. Then we added a layer of metal mesh then more cement. We shaped them like the leaves. I would water them each day (not sure why but that’s what the instruction said to do) and after a week they were ready. In some cases I was able to peel the leaves off, and in other cases we left the leaves on and let nature do the work. It was a fun day and fun project and the stones look amazing, specially now as some of mine have started to get that green mossy colour to them.

When I walk through my gardens I admire the beauty God gave us in the simple flower. But also when I walk through the garden it reminds me of my girl friends. Every herb, shrub, flower holds a special memory of these three women. It seems it doesn’t matter what the weather is my garden adapts and bless me with beauty. The same is true of the us 4 women, we never know what tomorrow will bring but we seem to be able to adapt and together our beauty shines for all the world to see.

Internet friend or foe?

I am on my computer more now then I have every been since I stopped my computer work many many years ago. Some parts of it I enjoy such as this blog but most of the time it really frustrates me. I find that when I am looking for something very specific I have an extremely hard time finding it easily or otherwise. Usually after hours of searching, I simply give up. I have found somethings at home Sense that seem to be a good buy but I try to research to see what these items would be if bought in the real world. One was an original painting by a Canadian artist and the other is a mosaic patio set which I have been back to look at 4 times now. I have pictures that I have taken with my cell phone and I have the web sites and names of the manufacturers which I have written down at the store. After house of endless searching I have come up empty handed. I can find the manufacturer and am informed about the product but no where can I find a price for anything even remotely close to what I am looking for. Why can't I just punch in the information that I am looking for and actually get a quick answer?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mish Mash

Well everyone I was very busy the last three days and I have not even had a chance to really sit and enjoy the blog. Since Saturday I have spent a lot of time at the walk in clinic, the hospital and then the family doctor's office. Everything is OK and everyone is really well. Sometimes there are just mistakes made that have you chasing your own tail and send you for a tail spin but in the end everything is great. Now back to the blog.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I missed them and our blog and thanks to Cathy, Carolin and Louise for keeping things going for our readers.

Hay by the way does anyone watch the bachelorette? I caught a bit of it yesterday and it was really good.

I also had another question for all of you Home Sense shoppers, do you feel that the merchandise that they sell is of good quality or not?

Is it really June?

I can remember going to school in June and wearing shorts and tee-shirts and it was so hot that the teachers would hold the classes outside just to catch a little breeze! As is was the end of the school year most of the curriculum had been taught so the school day was more casual than before.

What's going on????

Now I'm a mom, and up to last year the month of June was an average 30 degrees Celsius and the kids came home from school hot and drained.

So far this year the weather reminds me of when I lived in Calgary. There, if you didn't like the weather, wait two minutes and it will change. No consistency or maybe all the variety of weather is in itself, consistent.

When will the 'consistent' warm summer weather arrive?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Me

What were you doing 24 years ago today? Can you remember 24 years ago? Let me help refresh your memory, it was a Saturday, and in our part of the world it was a beautiful sunny day. We were all much younger, I was just a mere 19 years old! Well if you haven’t’ figured it out yet, 24 years ago today I got married. I am sure there were many at that wedding that thought it wouldn’t last. But so far we have proved them wrong! My most vivid memory of that day was my Grandfather walking me down the isle and the whole time whispering to me “you know you don’t have to do this, you can change your mind, its not to late to turn around”. I can laugh at that now but at the time I remember being totally freaked out. Thinking does he know something I don’t? My Grandfather was such a brave man that day, he did all that he needed to do, was where he needed to be and held up amazingly well considering my grandmother had died only a week earlier.

Married for 24 years, that seems like it is sooooo old. My ‘at the park’ friends laugh and talk about next year when ‘the husband’ and I celebrate our 25, silver anniversary. Sunshine says she will start scouring second hand shops looking for a 25 anniversary platter. No Thank You, but some new towels would be nice.

Some of asked what we plan to do to mark this year’s milestone.
So here are the big plans I will get up get the kids ready for school, he will drive the little one, then he will come home and watch Regis and Kelly like he does everyday. We might go out for lunch, depending on if we have a coupon or not. (we did go out for lunch and yes we used a coupon) I will then get some platters of food ready to take to the school for a meeting where the department heads will discuss many things including my proposal for food service. I want to have food there to help bribe them! When the kids get home from school ‘the teenager’ will go to work for a couple of hours and I will try not to fight with the little one over homework. Hopefully by eight o’clock I can start to get ‘the little one’ to bed, and then ‘the teenager’ will be home and we will discuss her music exam which she had today and work on a project she is doing for the staff at her work. Sound romantic enough for you all?

The First Family Gathering

Less then a month after Len’s funeral the entire family was getting together for a ‘New House’ party. The party was being held out near where Len lived so we also made plans to pick up Len’s ashes on our way.

I have never held the ashes of a person before. I didn’t know what to expect but when the plastic bag with a box in it was passed to me it was a little shocking. It was just a plain nondescript grey box, no more then 8 inches long and 8 inches high. I didn’t know what to do with it, curiosity wanted me to look in the box but the scared part of me didn’t want anything to do with it. The kids were a little freaked out by the whole situation and so we decided to store the box in the trunk. So now Len is sitting in my trunk and we are our way to a party, seems like such an oxymoron.

The closer we get to the party, the more nervous I seem to get. I think to myself how can the rest of the world carry on, doesn’t anyone notice that everything is different now? It takes all the energy I have to get dressed each day and now I have to be happy too. If I had it my way, we would turn around and head for home. To late we are pulling into the driveway. We walk up to the door, I look at the kids, tell them to put there ‘brave face’ on and in we go

The house is crowded with family and lots of people we don’t know. As we walk in heads turn and everyone stares at us. This is the first time we have all been together since the funeral and there is an awkward silence. I don’t know what to do or say the kids are trying to hide behind me, my husband is keeping himself busy with coats and bags. After what seems an eternity my mother comes up to me and hugs me. Just seeing her here is reminding me that Len is in the trunk of my car. Emotion is over whelming me and I am having a hard time trying not to cry. My mother takes me upstairs to a bedroom and we talk and cry. We have talked everyday since Len’s funeral but today is the first time we have seen each other. I tell her about our earlier stop and that we have Len in the trunk for her to take home. We decide that it is best not to tell anyone else about Len being in my car.

Mom and I return to the party and mingle. I can’t remember much of the party but I am assuming we ate, drank and laughed. What we ate drank or laughed about I have no clue but after a while the awkwardness seemed to subside. We eventually said our goodbyes, my husband went out to the car and got Len and gave him to my mom.

Camping and the love of Nature?

My family along with my sister's family went camping this weekend. One of our favourite places to camp is at, 'The Pinery' by Grand Bend on Lake Huron. It was a great weekend! We had campfires and ate s'mores and ate some more! Food tastes great outside in the woods. The Pinery is situated in an Oak Savannah. This is a rare habitat and is protected because of it.

Most people who camp do so for the love of the outdoors and the love of seeing nature at it's best. The campsites are a good size with lots of privacy. There is lot's to do like hiking and playing on the extensive beach and attending the naturalist programs. The kid's get a chance to learn and understand nature and they develop a healthy respect for wanting to preserve and protect what they see.

There is a lot taken for granted when camping. Campers tend to respect fellow campers stuff. You can leave your campsite to go fishing or hiking confident your campsite will remain untouched. The kids are free to go and come as they please. It's great complaining of being bored.

When it's time to go everyone helps to pack up and make sure the site is cleaner than when we arrived. So, how do you explain it to the kids when as we are taking our last hike we walk past many sites whose owners have departed leaving all of their garbage behind. It's disgusting! There are many garbage receptacles available and there is a minimum $125.00 fine for leaving garbage on site. What are these people thinking? I think it's a bit hypocritical to sleep and eat under the stars and then leave a mess behind???

The park staff are great and do their best to keep the park in fabulous shape. Camping is one of those vacations which do not cost a lot of money. All you need is shelter and food. The sites are very inexpensive and the experience is well worth it! Those campers who choose to leave more than their footprints behind will in time make camping more and more expensive as the parks will have to hire more staff to maintain the campgrounds. Or the programs might no longer be available or they might even have to cut down on the number of sites to camp on!

With all the information we now have at hand, I would certainly hope that the number of disrespectful 'campers' will in time diminish and leave in their wake a beautiful and more peaceful world to enjoy!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

How Can They Get a Job and I Can’t?

A couple of funny things have happened this week that makes you shake your head and say WTH? (what the heck)

Yesterday ‘the husband’ and I are out running errands and we stop outside of Blockbuster to return a movie. When I got back in the car my husband is shaking his head and smiling. I asked him “what’s so funny”. He said, “Did you see that guy walk by”. I did and we both start to laugh.

The man that walked by appeared to be in his seventy’s if not older. He was shuffling very slowly down the sidewalk and was severely hunched over. None of this is the funny part so be patient. He had his lunch bag in one hand and a cane in the other. What made both of us notice him was he was in full uniform. Not a military uniform but a security guard uniform, yes that’s what I said, a security guard uniform. Now I am sure he is a great guy and was properly very fit in his day but what the heck could he be guarding now and just how secure would you feel with him guarding it?

The second funny happened today while I was out shopping for a curtain rod with Sunshine. We were at the cash and I gave the cashier $21.27 in cash for an $11.27 bill. I was expecting a $10.00 bill back in change. When the cashier opened the cash she realized she didn’t have a 10 to give me. I had been trying to avoid the loonie/toonie change but if she didn’t have, she didn’t have it, it was not a biggie for me. But what was amusing is she didn’t apologize for the lack of change, what she did say was “Oh crap I ain’t got no 10s”.

So this is my question. How come theses two can get jobs and I can’t even get someone to read my proposal, bother to return a phone call or email.

I know they deserve a job and age shouldn’t matter. I do however think if you are guarding something of value, (I am assuming what he guards is of value or why bother guarding it in the first place) that he should be somewhat agile and be able to intimidate the bad guy. And I get it that it can be helpful to speak more then one language when working with the pubic. But should that negate proper manners and customer service?
So after all these months driving myself crazy going to workshops, changing my resume, rehearsing every possible scenario any employer could put my way, I now know why I haven’t been able to get a job.

I am just to polite and way to young!

Question of the Week


What does Trust mean to you?

Thursday at the park

Carolin - Good Morning All, we are all here, but it is still a little tense, I had to drag Sunshine here and Cathy came a little early to Louise's. As Louise and Sunshine are still upset with each other. I just want to get to the route of things and really accomplish something here today. I want to be able to grow as people and help our futures.

At this moment the subject is being avoided so they are talking about the airplane that went down in the ocean this past week.

But I can't take it much longer so some how I will have to type and get this silliness resolved. The thing here is Louise's daughter is home from school so it makes it a little awkward.

Right at this moment there is a long silence. So I am eating one of my muffins. So since they are talking of everything but.....

Louise has a job interview tomorrow morning at a bank. Sunshine is talking (yipee) Louise is saying "she is not mad but Sunshine doesn't believe it". For all our fellow benchers you will remember last week Sunshine mentioned something about Louise's husband's birthday. Louise was very upset about this and since then they have not spoken. Sunshine is telling Louise's how she is hurt and hates being shut out. Louise is crying and is trying to say that she needs to have time to call and have a proper conversation. Cathy is trying to talk to Louise about talking and not keeping emotions bottled up. There is a long silence right now..... And I am not good with silence so let talk about me.

I spoke to the principle yesterday after school. He glanced at my proposal (glanced????) He says he will bring it up this coming Tuesday board meeting. I wanted to bring some fruit and cookie platters to this meeting. What do you all think? I sent a email to one of the staff at the school who I know has set up for board meetings in the past asking her how many people will be at the meeting and I will bring some platters so she doesn't have to do it. She respond to my email by saying she was not comfortable and sent the email to the principal. Now I am fretting about that, I have read the two emails over and over and I don't think I did anything wrong. I sent it to her and not the principle cause she does the set up and I didn't think I needed to bother him with numbers and food. I give up!

Louise is still crying and Sunshine has somehow gotten a muscle cramp. Must be the tension in the air. Cathy is trying to get Louise to open up. They are talking finances and it is scary and overwhelming and I can totally understand why it is so much easier to bury our head in the sand. Some Thursdays are allot more difficult then other Thursdays. I feel somewhat selfish cause I come to the park to get away from my realities and instead I am living someone else reality. We really never found out what Carolin was running away from

I know it sounds selfish. Cathy is still rambling about money and trying to fix everything. AHHHHH if it was that easy.

Cathy is pushing Louise to talk. I am so uncomfortable, but it is probably a good thing to force Louise to talk. Problem I think is Louise has lived so long with not sharing her feelings that she can't seem to get them out.

We are talking about trust. Such a small word but so much responsibility. Here is a question, Can you totally trust another person? What is interesting is that we understand the word 'trust' differently. Sunshine and Cathy see the word as there is no ill intention. Louise and I see the word trust as meaning honest and reliable. I think this conversation could go around in circles. But now its time to let someone else takeover.

Well its me (sunshine), its been a tough week but sometimes things are just like that. I feel bad that this comes at a time when things in Louise's life are already so tense but maybe it will be for the better for resolving things for the future. Talking, talking , talking it works for some but it is resisted for so many because looking inside yourself is really hard and scary. We have to resolve our own internal issues before we move forward. Cathy and her beautiful poem, we love her and it was great but most of us don't understand it.

well we are wrapping it up now and we are all exhausted right now and hopefully we made some progress.

It's me Louise, and all I can say is...........I'm so tired it hurts!!!! I feel horrible, and I wish I could just sleep it away!!! I wish I could be a better friend to these beautiful women, and I wish I could open up like they want me to. I'm just not sure what's going on anymore, I don't know who I am and I hope that I don't feel like this for much longer!!!! This Thursday is coming to an end, and hopefully next week will be a better week for all of us.

(Cathy) Ok, so I talked alot today. The thing is, when one of us hurts, we all feel the pain. We all understand that things take time to heal and to resolve themselves. It's talking and interaction that help issues move forward. Time.

I don't have that much to say, except, I understand the poem :). What does that mean???

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


All my extended family has left to catch their planes and head back to their lives. The house feels empty, now what? What am I supposed to do? Do I just go on with family life like before or is things supposed to be different? I stand looking out my front window wondering, just wondering…. My heart just wants to go to bed and sleep, but my mind just never seems to turn off. So I do, and when I am finished doing, I do some more.

Everywhere I look I see flowers every room has bouquets of flowers. How I hate them, I didn’t want them coming home with us, I begged people to take them, but looks like my house is a funeral home. My husband doesn’t get ‘it’ when I start tossing all the bouquets, and sprays of flowers. He looks at me and keeps saying “but you like flowers, there just flowers what’s the difference”? I know I like flowers but not these ones, its bad enough that we have boxes in the entrance of Lens stuff, and all his food is still in bags in my freezer and laundry room, Do I need to deal with the over whelming perfume of death flowers. I try to please and take the sprays apart and arrange the flowers in vases, I toss ribbons that say “Uncle, Brother, Son” in the garbage and in the compost goes the big puffy white flowers and gladiolas.

I used to wonder where the tradition came from to have flowers at a funeral, it seems like such a waste of money. But after standing by Lens casket, I now know. At first I didn’t notice the smell, but the longer I stood by the casket the stronger it got. I can remember thinking at first what is that smell? Then realizing that the scent from the flowers was there to try to mask the smell of death. Let me just say it doesn’t work and I don’t think it is a smell I will ever forget.
My husband starts asking me where do I want all of Lens boxes put. I look at him, I can’t make my mind think, and again he is asking me. Finally I say, “I don’t care in the basement I guess”. I don’t want to be the wife, mom, daughter or sister, at this point it is even to much to be anyone’s friend. I don’t want to make decisions, I don’t want to think I stand by the window and watch the world.

Flight AF 447 (Missing Air France Plane)

Some days I look at the world and see that my own issues are nothing compared to the larger scope of things that go wrong in the world. A plane from Brazil to Paris went missing over the Atlantic Ocean on Monday. Authorities feel that the plane may have been struck by lightening. There last communication was at 3:30am Paris time and by 7:00 am they realized that something must have happened. On board were 228 people (8 of those were children).

We live our lives day to day and many times we live mindlessly like we are unconscious and going through the motions because we are so deep into our own thoughts and feelings. Life can pass us by and one day we may not have the opportunity to really live here on earth again. Lets try to live each day to its fullest and be thankful for the gifts that have been bestowed upon us. Mostly we are thankful for being alive and for our loved ones. Isn't that what we all live for anyways?

To the families and friends of Flight AF 447 and your loved ones our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Through Thee

Through thee alone the sky is arched,

Through thee the rose is red;

All things through thee take nobler form,

And look beyond the earth,

the mill-round of our fate appears

A sun-path in thy worth.

Me too thy nobleness has taught

To master my despair;

the fountains of my hidden life

Are through thy friendship fair.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, June 1, 2009

Searching for a doctor

I am searching for a female doctor that my 14 year old daughter will approve of because as of now although I feel that our pediatrician is grea, she says that she hates him and refuses to go and see him. I took her to the walk in clinic on Saturday. She met with the female pediatrician at the clinic who she had had before and who she really likes. We actually went on Friday night but the female doctor was not working so she refused to see someone else. The doctor asked why we had not seen our family doctor sooner.

My daughter voiced the fact that she does not like her doctor. I was very thankful to the walk in doctor for talking to her about the importance of finding someone that she can relate to and that she could easily talk to and help with any problem that she has. She made a point of talking about how important it is especially for a girl because there will be many things as she gets older that will need to be discussed and looked after. My daughter smiled and seemed to understand.

This particular doctor who my daughter loves only sees patients on a walk in basis. She gave us an e mail address for the college of physicians which may be helpful to us. She said that it is very difficult to find someone especially if you are searching for a female doctor. She went on to say that even if you find one it may not be the right fit so you really need to continue searching until you find the right one that you are comfortable with. So the search is on for a great female doctor for my daughter.