Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
A week or so ago, I was reading a magazine that gave me ammunition to act all smug and self-righteous for a little while. It was an article that discussed how socially advanced children are when they grow up with pets, specifically dogs, compared to kids who don't grow up with pets. The key social issue that is learned is apparently empathy, although there were other benefits mentioned as well. I'm sure I discussed this further with some other dog-people I know, and together we praised ourselves for this fabulous thing we are doing for our kids. There is just one problem. My daughter is an absolute terror towards my dogs. Empathy? Certainly not yet. She steps on them. She jumps on them. She shrieks at them. She pulls toys out of their mouths. She teases them with food. She practically decapitates them with doors. I can't believe they tolerate all this. It's constant too. Yelling at her won't stop it. She just laughs at me. Holding her down only works for as long as she is held down. I have no idea how to stop her except by distraction. It is now my all-day battle, as it is too dangerous to not keep on top of her for this. The dogs have been good so far, but I'm sure they have their breaking points. Maybe the empathy comes later. For now, having dogs and a toddler at the same time is starting to wear me down. I don't think I get to be smug for a good, long time.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
A friend of mine is a teacher, and a few years back, she mentioned to me that she was taking a group of students on dog-sledding trip. Immediately I asked, "Can I come??? Can I come???", because when does one really ever get presented with such an opportunity. The school didn't seem to mind my joining in, which is scary, because I could have been a crazed maniac who would rip someone's heart out and eat it just for pleasure, but I suppose my friend's vouching for me was enough to satisfy any concerns.
We drove out to Sundridge, Ontario after school let out, received our dog-sledding orientation, and then retreated to a most luxurious accommodation for the night.The next morning we all had an early breakfast at the motel's ultra-classy restaurant,and then we headed off to harness the doggies. I couldn't believe the set-up when we arrived. It was like a never-ending sea of dogs, and an insane amount of barking.We had to harness our own team, which was pretty intimidating for the non-dog people in the group, (no problem for me, of course), and then we were off! Much of my day looked like this:It was one of the coolest days I've ever had. It wasn't too cold, I loved being in the woods, and I got my work-out. We were instructed to run up hills rather than be towed up by the dogs, otherwise the dogs would run out of steam early in the trip, so by the end of the day, I felt spent, but in a good way, like after a solid day of cross-country skiing. I think the dogs felt pretty spent tooThe only thing left to do at that point was to drive back to Toronto in a van full of teenagers who thought it a good idea to cover themselves with Axe body spray to camouflage the smell of dog. Not such a good idea before a two hour drive, but at least I now know who the market is for that stuff. Nauseating fumes aside, it was an amazing way to spend the day. I know that when Pumpkin is old enough, my family will be doing annual trips like this. It was way too much fun not to.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
All I've got for you is my recap of Saturday night. Once again, my mom, the babysitter showed up, but we had nowhere to go. Dinner was once again, too tiring of an idea, and there were still no movies that hubby wanted to see. To solve this problem, I went out with my mom and left hubby home to close off the night with Pumpkin. He agreed to this so willingly, I almost became concerned. Then I caught a glimpse of the TV guide, and noticed that there was a two-hour Battlestar Glactica movie on last night. There was no competing with that. Mom and I caught an early showing of Lions for Lambs, which was excellent, although people usually don't like what I recommend to them, so don't call me for your money back if you see it and hate it. So I came home to find hubby playing Guitar Hero, waiting for the PVR to record enough of his movie that he could bypass all the commercials. Woohoo! Saturday nights just don't get any better than this.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
On the morning of day five, the crying stopped. Something was different. It probably helped that the night before I had slept in an actual bed for the first time on the trip, but it was more than that. It was as if my body had finally figured out what I was doing to it, and it seemed as though it was willing to cooperate. Sure, my knees, butt, and now hands were all on fire, but it didn’t matter. I actually wanted to get on my bike! Heading out that morning in what appeared to be the Canadian desert, I felt reborn. I cycled on, periodically singing the theme song to the Road Runner Show.
This was both our longest and hottest day. Despite these challenges, I was elated. On the previous days, the last 10 miles felt like 100. On this particular day, I didn’t even know I was in the home stretch until I had arrived at our rest point for the night. Each mile introduced better and better scenery as the desert turned to lakes upon lakes, all surrounded by lush, green mountains. The campsite was a gem with its lakefront property, and I was actually disappointed that I was going to miss out on sleeping there, as it was one of our cherished motel nights. Sleeping in a real bed was still the right decision after reading over the itinerary for the next day. Looking down to the bottom of the page, I read the words “start 70 km /44 mile climb to Rogers Pass. At the time, I felt some dread, but it turned out that this climb would .take me higher than I imagined.
Reaching the summit of the pass was not the highlight of the climb. All I found there was a Best Western hotel. It was a great place for viewing the glaciers, but those glaciers and I had been staring each other down for the full duration of my ascent, so we were already acquainted. Flying down the other side of the pass was not the highlight either, although it was exciting to be passing cars, dodging rocks, and almost running over a bear! There were many amazing moments along this route, but the absolute best part of this whole trip occurred halfway up the pass where we camped for the night, at Canyon Hot Springs.
Canyon Hot Springs had, you guessed it, hot springs! That evening, soaking in a natural mineral bath, the cool September wind on my face, totally surrounded by glacier-capped mountains, I thought to myself, I EARNED THIS! I don’t think I have ever felt more personally satisfied. To add to my pleasure, the night sky then treated me to a sight that I will never forget. It’s not like I haven’t seen stars before, as I have camped out in several remote locations where star viewing was supposedly optimal, but THIS was in a category of its own. There were more stars than sky! I knew it would be futile to point my camera upwards to try to capture this awesome spectacle, but I did it anyways. I didn’t want this memory to fade. It hasn’t.
The days that followed provided us with more challenges, great biking, and more beautiful scenery. I found myself watching the trains as they carved their way through the cedars along the mountainside. I imagined that they were cheering me on, before taking off like well seasoned athletes, while I chugged along like the Little Engine that Could. As I rode into Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, I started to miss those trains. I missed all of it, and knew that I would be back. A trip to Club Med could never compare.
Friday, November 23, 2007
I have always been a relatively good cyclist. J bought a bike when he met me, and together we have covered great distances. We have never been the kind of cyclists that travel in packs, nor do we practice “drafting”, or wear too much spandex, but we can hold our own. We had given up road biking in favour of mountain biking, but there was an organized road trip that caught my eye. It was in a brochure that I picked up in a bike shop. It read, Vancouver to Calgary in 10 days/11 nights, 1120 km/700 miles – For intermediate to advanced cyclists. If I were to pick up that ad today, I’d put it right back down, but this was about 8 years ago. We were obviously younger, but we also had a certain spirit, probably vestiges from childhood, when we believed we were invincible. Neither of us had seen the Canadian Rockies, and what better way to enjoy experience than by cycling through them! It’s a good thing that we were so naive, because we never would have signed up for this if we could have foreseen the pain that was to come.
The first four days of this trip were full of regret. I regretted that we didn’t spend more time training on-road. I regretted the choice of bike seat that I brought from home. I regretted that we didn’t pay extra for our trip so that we did not have to shower at camp sites and sleep in tents half the time. I could go on, but these were the big three.
When we first registered for the trip, we set aside one day where we cycled 75 miles to ensure that we could do it within eight hours. When we established that we could, we thought, “Great! Now let’s get back to mountain-biking until we go on our trip at the end of August.” Maybe it would have been better to have a few long days on-road to prepare us for, and possibly prevent the way our knees felt after several consecutive days of abuse. Upon waking up on day three of the trip, my knees were so stiff that it was difficult to walk to the washroom, let alone cycle to the next town. When I got on my bike, it felt like I was spending a day’s worth of energy trying to crank the pedals just once. The stiffness eased up as I warmed up, but every morning started out just a little bit worse than the one before it. As if the knees weren’t bad enough, I was having much worse problems elsewhere.
The bike saddle that I brought from home was a $120 piece of crap! In all honesty, it did not appear that anyone was having a great time with his or her saddle, but I’m sure that I would have been better off with one that my butt was already familiar with. By day three, getting on to that seat was like getting into a scorching, hot bath. I would touch down ever so slightly, only to launch right off again from the pain. I had to repeat this process over and over again until I was accustomed to the pain well enough to actually sit. There were many other problems precipitated by the seat, the padded shorts, the sweat, and the friction, but now is not the time for detailed descriptions. Let’s just say drug stores between Vancouver and Calgary made a fortune off of us all. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if only I had the opportunity to soak in a hot bath at the end of each day.
After a day of rigorous activity, there is nothing like a hot bath, and a warm, comfortable bed. At least that was what I imagined on our second night as I climbed into my tent and lay down on my stinky, two-inch thick inflatable, rubber air mattress. Lying side by side in our less-than-luxurious accommodation, J turned to me and said “You know, we could have gone to Club Med for almost the same amount money.” I started to cry.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
8 Things I am Passionate About
8 Things I Say Often
Shiza (a little swearing in another language never hurt anyone, right?)
Don't step on the dog!
Don't feed the dog!
I don't wanna!
8 Books I've recently read
Exile, by Richard North Patterson
The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne
Knocked Up, by Rebecca Eckler
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Goodnight Nobody, by Jennifer Weiner
Ten Thousand Lovers, by Edeet Ravel
Sundowners, by Lesley Lokko
Naked, by David Sedaris
8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die
Renovate my family room
Find a career
See my child (children) grow up
Whatever - I'm not big on making plans
8 Songs I Can Listen To Over and Over (I never said I was cool, or current)
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
When the Night Feels My Song - Bedouin Soundclash
Just My Imagination - The Cranberries
In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
Beautiful Day - U2
Fast Car - Tracy Chapman
Otherside - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Wheat Kings - Tragically Hip
8 Things I look for in friends
sense of humour
This category is ridiculous. Am I really going to say that I want my friends to be assholes who kick puppy dogs? Feel free to fill in the rest with warm, fuzzy adjectives.
8 things I've learned in the past year
my office job was a waste of time
I can write my blog without resorting to making fun of people
My writing can be somewhat entertaining
I have the power to make myself happy
I shouldn't store fabric softener in the same cupboard as Zip Lock bags.
I'm a pretty good mom
It is not boring to spend my day with a toddler
I cannot get to bed at a reasonable hour
I'm sure as hell not tagging eight more people. I don't think I know eight people. Consider yourself tagged if you feel like doing this meme, and be sure to tell me if you do it.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Today is our 6th wedding anniversary! I'd love to do a touching, and romantic post such as the ones I've read from others in the past, but there are a couple of problems. I don't do "romantic" very well, and it's not like I could get my husband to read my blog anyways. To top it off, family and health issues have put the celebration on hold. Nonetheless, it is a special occasion, whether we do something about it or not, so I feel that I should at least share it with you all, because no doubt you will make me feel warm and fuzzy by filling my comment field up with your love.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
In other news, I came home from having dinner with the in-laws, only to find that one of my dogs grabbed a 1L tetra pack of juice, and splattered it all over the house. It is after 9 pm and I have to mop and shampoo the floors now. Ugh.
Not much else happened over here today. I am pretty much drawing a bloggy blank, and should really be dragging up the carpet shampoo-er from the basement, so I'm keeping it short today. See y'all tomorrow.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Things you just couldn't live without knowing:
1. I feel empathy for inanimate objects. Like if I'm eating a bunch of grapes and one falls on the ground and has to be tossed out, I feel bad that it never had the full experience of being a grape. Don't you think it spent it's whole life waiting to be eaten? I am only talking about the grape here!
2. Hubby and I once rode our bicycles from Vancouver to Calgary on an 11-day trip. It was one of the best things I've ever done, and I would never do it again. I've actually written an essay about this, so if I run out of steam before the end of November, you may get to read it.
3. I always cry whenever I hear this verse from, "Puff the Magic Dragon".
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
My parents are divorced, yet they still have a decent relationship. They call each other to discuss their kids, or the stock market, or whatever. It is never a problem to have them around each other. In fact, when my brother and I were younger, my dad and his second wife would visit from Montreal, and actually stay at my mom's house while they visited. That sounds a little strange to me now, but it did make for a nicer visit with my dad, as opposed to hanging around a hotel room or something.
My dad's second marriage wasn't the ultimate success either. That being said, there was no real fighting at the end, and I don't have to feel any discomfort when I visit with my now ex-step-mother, ex-step-sister, and ex-step nieces/nephew. My dad may not be all that close with his ex-wife, but they have both moved on, and don't harbour any negative feelings towards each other. This has really helped me in my efforts to maintain my relationships with all of them, especially my ex-step-sister, who I became close with over the course of our parent's 18-year marriage.
Then just yesterday, my brother's ex came to town for a visit. She specifically set aside time to make sure she could see us. Both my mother and I love her, and it means a lot that she wants to continue to have some sort of relationship with us. It is also important to me that she has been able to spend time with my daughter. This would not be possible if her break-up with my brother had been a messy one. It was great to see you, J. Thanks for the cookies too!
So I guess this post is an expression of gratitude to my family and their ex-spouses, who may not be great at choosing life-mates, but are at least role models for ideal break-ups. You all rock!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I can't believe that these friends actually listened to me! ME! I'm a far cry from Stacey or Clinton, but apparently I do good work. Does anyone need a personal shopper?
Monday, November 12, 2007
Yeah, it's cheesy, but I thought it would be be a shame to never reveal this talent of mine to the world. Happy day 12 of Nablopomo!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I'm pretty tired from all that driving, so an insightful post is not likely, but I will leave you with a tidbit of information about me: I am frightened of the Zamboni. When I was three or so, my parents occasionally took me to the skating rink, where I did not reveal any special talents. At the end of the skate session, the buzzer would loudly go off, and I knew that if I didn't get off the rink ASAP, the big bad Zamboni would run me over and turn me into minced meat. It wouldn't have been so bad if I could actually skate, but all I could do was attempt to run, and fall, countless times, until I could finally scamper off the ice. I blame my brother. I don't know why, but somehow I think he had a hand in this fear. Minced meat? I couldn't have come up with that on my own.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I'll be back posting and commenting from Toronto by tomorrow evening. I'll catch up with y'all then.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
If any of you are scraping for material, and want to run with a post about your first or weirdest relationship, please feel free. Just let me know if you do it so I can come by and laugh/cringe/cry.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
I think it is obvious that there are sooooo many things wrong with what the "friend" did here, but it was the words of the columnist that kind of surprised me. He talked about human nature, and how it is normal to want to snoop around someone else's personal belongings. The columnist also described a similar incident where he overheard a guest going through his medicine cabinet, and even heard this guest pull back the shower curtain as if expecting to see a dead body in the bathtub or something. The columnist also added that since it is human nature to snoop, he couldn't help but wonder if the couple with the pregnancy test wanted the test to be found, since they left it lying around when guests were expected. Lying around??? It was in the medicine cabinet!!! Should people really be expecting that their guests will really go snooping in there? It has never occurred to me to do this to someone, or that someone would do it to me. Nice job on blaming the victim here, don't you think? Do any of you have any experience with something like this? The columnist was implying that it is an everyday occurrence. Is it?
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
I don't know why, but after reading blogs last night until around midnight, I then went on to do some ironing. Weird, but I had the urge, so I figured I'd strike while the iron was hot. Get it? Get it? Yeah, I know. So by about one in the morning, I went to bed for what I figured would be a solid six and a half hours of sleep, which is normally a reasonable assumption. However, at 4:30, Pumpkin woke up screaming, although she couldn't tell me why. Bad dreams? Who knows? It took me a good half hour to get her calmed down enough to go back to sleep, which included me fumbling around in the dark to change the batteries in her musical-birdy-crib-thingy so that she could have the full light and musical effect while she dozed off.
This morning, Grandma, Pumpkin and I headed out to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. I hadn't been since I was in grade seven, so it was a fairly fresh experience for me. Pumpkin enjoyed the petting zoo, which was set up complete with disinfectant stands, and an actual place to wash with soap and water, so I didn't have any germ-o-phoebe breakdowns after feeding the goats. The highlight for us was the Super Dog show, which was kind of venturing into the unknown territory with a two-year-old, but she clapped, cheered, probably bugged the kid sitting in front of her a whole lot, and managed to make it through the full 40 minute show. There was also an antique area, and probably other interesting booths, but we really couldn't look around thoroughly with Pumpkin in tow. It was still something different, and she seemed to appreciate the experience, so I'll give it a seven out of ten.
Now I have to get ready to head back downtown for a house warming / girls night, so I'm off to wash the smell of goat off my hands, and pick up some sort of house warming gift. The person who's house it is might be the only person I know who doesn't have an Internet connection, which is why I'm whipping this post off now instead of at around 10:30 pm when I'll probably have had a couple of glasses of wine, and believe myself to be exceptionally witty. Just as well. See y'all tomorrow.