Sunday, February 17, 2013

I Say, Then She Says, Then I Say...

My daughter is a brat. She has a twisted sense of humour. I'm not sure where she gets it. She's in Curacao and we have been texting and sending pictures using a free phone app. Ahhh the wonders of modern technology!

I recently sent her photo. Before I had a chance to write a caption, she returned the favour.

I sent a picture of the winter traffic on the 401. She sent a picture of the traffic outside her residence.

I told her we were at Winterlude and saw ice sculpures. She said she was at Kokomo Beach making sand castles.

 I sent her a picture of a nice place where we recently ate lunch. She sent one of where she and her friends are "forced" to eat.

I thought she'd be interested to know our temperatures. She just "knew" I'd want to see hers.

I baked cupcakes. She found a really cool mix.
Since then, I have received these photos taken from her dorm. I'm afraid the view from our house can't compete.

When I received this next picture, I made it official. I declared her the winner of the photo wars.

NorthumberlandNews Article: Is 28 the new 18 for kids these days?

Here's my article...not exactly as I wrote it, but it's here nonetheless.

NorthumberlandNews Article: Is 28 the new 18 for kids these days?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Salamander's for Valentine's

I don't know what inspires me to write a tripadvisor review. I've certainly been to my share of places that could be reviewed. Sometimes, I feel compelled. Sometimes I don't. This time, I did.

Hubby mentioned a restaurant in Kemptville which was on our way home from Ottawa. He'd been there before and it overlooked a river. He warned me that the food was not average but more along the specialty lines since they had a great chef. Fine with me. We searched for the restaurant and we found it.

I was so pleasantly surprised that this gem existed in a small town that I wrote a review about my Valentine's Day experience. It's not clever or funny. It just is what it was.

I also posted the following photos. So if you're ever in Kemptville...check it out.

Second dining room (our side had booths)

Yummy and totally home made

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Valentine

It's Valentine's Day. To me, Valentine's Day has a lot in common with Thanksgiving. In this case, instead of being thankful for many things, friends, family, food, hearth and home, we are thankful and show our appreciation to one specific person. I'm thankful to have one specific person.

For the last five years, I have been very fortunate. I have a hubby who is kind, loving, useful, extremely intelligent as I've mentioned many times, handsome, a great cook, and above all thoughtful.

Since hubby had a meeting in Ottawa today, Valentine's Day, he invited me along. We packed our dachshund and our dungarees and headed to the nation's capital yesterday. It's Winterlude in Ottawa. After checking in to the hotel, we went downtown. As we neared the park that had displays and ice sculptures, we saw it! The dreaded sign that read, "No dogs allowed." We both stopped and looked at our lovely little canine friend.

Hubby then chivalrously announced that he would wait with the dog so that I might go and see everything. I felt guilty for about 30 seconds until I realized that he had been here many times and  this was my first Winterlude. I thanked him and promised to try to be quick....a promise I had no business making. Camera in hand, I headed out.

I saw many amazing things, however, best of all was what awaited me when I was done with my explorations.

                                                      Thank you. Happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Car, Truck, Vroom, Vroom....

Through extensive research and observation of male pattern behaviour I have concluded that most men are born with some kind of a noise chromosome. I recall fondly that my son's first, very loud words were "car, truck, vroom, vroom". I also have memories of an empty kitchen cupboard, little hands and clanging pots and pans. The lids were especially appealing.

"Now I know why they have those little child proof cabinet clips!"  I often yelled, as the clanging reverberated and "the boy" worked on his burgeoning career as a percussionist.

I frequently observed little girls as they amused themselves quietly with lego, books, puzzles and crayons, while boys' activities, even with their pretend toys, needed to be accompanied by bang bangs, whirring or shrill siren sounds.

For some reason, I had the mistaken impression that noises were limited to boys and youngish men who drive monster trucks with massive tail pipes. I have learned differently. One of my friends used to yell at her adult brother when he didn't provide adequate warning prior to a window shattering sneeze. My dad, who often complained about other peoples' moderate sounds had some loud habits of his own.

Our current house is a small one. The bed's headboard is on the opposite wall of the kitchen. Hubby is usually awakened early by the demanding dachshund damsel. He takes her for a walk and returns to the kitchen. By this time, it's around 6-6:30 a.m. Any attempts by me to sleep much later are thwarted by a wall which I am convinced is made of paper.

I have mentioned the problem and hubby tries his best to be considerate. I appreciate the effort. However, he's a man and therefore has the aforementioned "chromosome". I have tried help. I thought I was clever when I came up with one sound reducing solution...some improvement.
I have even tried putting a pillow over my head but have been thus far unsuccessful in doing anything more than suffocating myself.

I've probably mentioned this before. My hubby is very smart. He really is super clever. As a result of my issues he has unravelled yet another one of life's many mysteries. I had never thought of this.

I have often wondered why McDonald's, Tim Horton's and similar establishments are always bulging with men, especially elderly men and usually in the mornings. They sit, they linger, they read the paper and don't appear to have a care in the world. They certainly are in no hurry to go anyplace. So why is my hubby such a genius?

Today, he said "Now I know why old men hang around coffee shops in the morning. It's to stay out of the house so their wives can sleep."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pressure, Procrastination and Paper

I suppose I procrastinated writing this month's newspaper column because I received no positive reinforcement or feedback. In fact, my piece didn't even appear in the paper until this past Friday February 1st, so I didn't feel the need to rush and write another.

Today is the first Monday of the month.I can't write about the Super Bowl or anything current because the publishing date is supposed to be the second Thursday of the month, or whenever. My next article is due. I have two half completed potential works which are not making me completely happy yet. The hours are running down and I'll have to make a decision. If I rework an old blog, I will have more time to complete my two rough desktop drafts. I suppose I will look through what I already have. In the meantime, I think I'll go to the gym.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Our Greatest Fears

According to the "Book of Lists" an adult's greatest fear is public speaking and public performance. Seems odd that during all my years as a teacher, I loved talking to groups of little kids, however, as soon as I was required to do a presentation for the parents, I stressed out. I did what I needed to do, but nonetheless, I hated it. I avoided speaking to adult groups whenever possible and I still do.

As a small child I enjoyed singing. I confidently performed at a Sunday School Christmas presentation at age 4. Mom coached me with the words and despite her accent and difficulties with some English phrases, I learned the whole hymn. "Away in the main chair, no crib for a bed, the little Lord's cheeses...the kettle are lowing...and stay by my cradle, until morning is night." Well, at least that's how I understood it as a preschooler.

Later, I was described as "shy" so often, that I decided I must be. My public performance was only shared from beneath the kitchen table. Apparently, visitors flocked to our house just to hear me sing...either that or to have some of my mom's homemade German chocolate tortes and cheesecakes. Sometimes, it took me an hour of sitting beneath the table, before I was brave enough to start...a lull in the adult conversation, a deep breath and I was off to the races. I was the performing monkey in the family who had the option of "being seen and not heard" when we had company. I opted instead for being "heard and not seen".  At least, I was always confident that the tabletop afforded me protection from any items that might be hurled my way if the singing was substandard.

In third grade, I was at a new school in a big city. This was scary enough, since I was still labelled "shy". One day the teacher announced "Show and Tell" tomorrow. I watched in horror as many of my classmates brought prized possessions and bragged about their assorted toys. This was one of the few times I appreciated having a surname near the end of the alphabet.
"Where's your show and tell?" asked the teacher when my turn came.

"I forgot", I lied, knowing that this would surely give me an E on my report.

"Well, bring it tomorrow."

When I got home, I confessed this to mom who promptly gave me a china vase with a gold rim and a castle etched on the front of it. I stared at it in horror. She packed it in my bag and I took it to school. Not even the shame of a potential "E" could get me to display this artifact in front of a group of third graders.

In senior public school, I was faced with a drama class. "Stand and tell everyone about your summer vacation" was the first task assigned by a handsome young teacher. Fortunately, before he got to me there was a student who had just transferred from a U.S. school. He and the teacher became so engrossed in talking about politics that I was thankful to Richard Nixon and John Kennedy for at least the rest of the week. After that, I have a vague recollection of doing an embarassing display of how to fold a paper hat and a mediocre speech on "Stars" in that same class. Then my family moved again.
I had my first taste of success in high school. My speech writing became more imaginative and my confidence ebbed. "From Bach to the Beatles" was such a hit that I, was one of the students selected to present my speech in front of the entire school. I was nervous. It went well enough.

The list of successes and disasters goes on. I was buoyed by an effort in Teachers' College. I did a presentation on "Children as Artists". The hippy like, long haired, long robed instructor dramatically placed his hand across his forehead, tossed his head backwards and announced in a shrill tone, "Now that, ladies and gentlemen...(insert lengthy gasp and some escaping spittle here), that is a teacher!"

And so my public speaking evolved, doing what I had to do. I can't really think of anything else in my early life that traumatized me as much. I tried. I improved. I learned. I gained confidence. I still hate it.

So, what's your greatest fear?