Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pepé Le Pew

Have you ever woken up to a smell so horrible that your eyes are watering and you're gagging and trying not to vomit but you just can't pinpoint what it is?

That's what happened to us last Wednesday morning.

At around 6:00 in the morning on Wednesday I awoke to a smell. It wasn't at all what you'd expect a skunk to smell like.  In fact I immediately assumed something was burning. It smelled like burning rubber and I looked everywhere to find the source. I also checked our smoke and carbon monoxide alarms because I couldn't understand if something was burning why nothing was going off.

I woke my husband and together neither of us could find any evidence of something melting or burning so we assumed the furnace must be malfunctioning and, concerned, we turned off the furnace, took the kids and the cat and left.

From my parents' house, where we ended up staying for 3 nights, we called a furnace repair person who went into our stinky house and came out to announce that he thought we had a skunk.

Apparently skunk doesn't smell like skunk when it's a direct hit. It smells pretty much like death and it's a very difficult smell to get rid of.

On Thursday the skunk family was found under my next door neighbour's house. Unfortunately, living in a townhouse, we share a wall and both her place and ours smell the same.

So far we've washed all of our clothes, sprayed all the furniture down with skunk smell removal spray, placed bags of charcoal and bowls of vinegar around the house, and wiped things down with hydrogen peroxide.

It is getting better but the smell is not gone and we're lucky that this is a warmer week because our windows have all been open while the furnace is on.

Looking on the bright side, I've never had so many conversations with our neighbour.

We may actually bond over this experience.

But I won't go as far as to thank Pepé for that. . .not even close. lol.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Day at The Fair

Heavy Horse Show at the Fair

I can remember going to the fair practically every year as a child. I looked forward to it.  I loved going on the Scrambler and the Dragon Rollercoaster and popping balloons to win a prize.  The balloon pop was my favourite game. I usually played it twice.

I remember fair food, sitting on the grand stands watching some kind of cow or sheep show while eating a pile of french fries with a french fry fork.

By the end of the day we were tired, sometimes cold and wet, and as we got older, actually pretty cranky. I'm not sure if we were always cranky by the end of the day but I can remember as an early teen that my parents always bought too many ride tickets and kept pushing us to go on more rides so they didn't go to waste. Unfortunately they'd buy the "deal" and by our teens we were more interested in playing carnival games rather than going on a tea cup ride.

Still, as a mom, I find joy in the fair.

I really don't have an interest in riding on the Dragon Rollercoaster or the Scrambler any more, but I do love the look of glee that was on my daughter's face today as she experienced the fair for the first time.

She went not knowing what to expect. In fact, she told me she was worried that it wouldn't be fun. I guess I didn't hype it up enough. haha.

She's 5 1/2 now and 43 inches tall so she was finally tall enough to ride something. We told her we weren't sure how many rides they would have for kids her height and as we entered the midway she started to get concerned.  She kept picking big kid rides, standing beside large rulers to measure herself and finding out she wasn't quite there yet. :)

However, as we turned the corner we found the Kiddieland area and I got excited. haha.


She IMMEDIATELY started picking out things she wanted to do. She wanted to play all of the games. She wanted to ride all of the rides. She wanted all of the prizes. She was a little excited!

We took a twirl around the Kiddie area and made a plan then bought some ride tickets.

First she went on the Dragon Rollercoaster. She wasn't sure if she wanted to or not as it looked kind of "scary" but she would go if Daddy would go with her and my husband agreed to ride with her off they went.  When she came off she was jumping up and down and smiling.  It was "SO MUCH FUN!"

The rest of the rides she was able to go on by herself - a carousel, a flying dog, a flying bee, and the spinning strawberries. I've never been a fan of anything that spins so she must take after my sister or her dad when it comes to that department. I couldn't even watch lest I get sick. haha.

Bee Ride

After that she settled on playing the balloon game.  She won a butterfly but begged us to let her play again. So she came home with a stuffed giraffe. She played twice of course. I couldn't say no.

Before leaving the midway she climbed the fun house with Daddy. We debated sending her on her own but we had only 4 tickets left and it took 3 and assisting parents could get in for 1 ticket. I'm not sure if she needed the assist but we were a bit concerned that she might get scared at the top and it's not like my husband complained. I don't think he minded climbing in there at all. :)

Then we checked out the giant pumpkins (300 something lb winner!) before heading to the car.

A good day at the fair. :)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Box

I remember watching Little Women back in 1994 and during the movie the main character, Jo, tries to get her writing published.  It's her dream to be a published author.  She tries to write a fictional fantasy about dungeons and dragons a story where Lords and Ladies go on a quest to find love, slay dragons, and more.

She approaches publisher after publisher and each time she's turned down because her name is Josephine March, she's a woman and women don't write.

I think the movie had a large impact on me growing up.  I see myself as a lot like Jo but also like the oldest child in the story, Meg.  I don't fit into any particular mould of who I feel I should be as a woman and especially I find, who I am as a Christian woman.  I'm feisty though I appear quiet. The difference between me and Jo is that Jo's character is outspoken and pushes boundaries and takes her own path despite the risks where for myself, though internally I may feel a certain way, I also feel a certain pressure to live up to other people's expectations.  I guess I'm a people pleaser, but despite how I try, I fumble like Jo, and I don't necessarily live up to everyone's expectations.  

It's hard being a passionate progressive Christian woman.

It's possible that all of us experience these kinds of feelings at one time or another but maybe we don't talk about it when we don't quite fit in a box.  We're kind of between a few different ones. Too conservative for one, too progressive for another.  Maybe it's more common than I imagine and we're all sitting around feeling weird and slightly out of place at times or like we don't really know what we're doing?

This could be partially why we often find ourselves on Pinterest clicking through pictures of other people's perfect houses, perfect cookies, perfect children, perfect. . perfect. . perfect.. .

Which box will we fit in today?

Do we really have to choose just one?

I often feel a deep burning in my heart.  It's a passion perhaps a strength but at times a curse. Sometimes I say something really stupid because of it but, like I said, I'm feisty and sometimes I just feel angry about some injustice or just mildly irritating and slightly disappointed like yesterday.

Yesterday I was looking at Christian women's retreats online and I realized why I don't fit in. I'm not in the box.  My box is perhaps orange and their box is, I don't know, purple.  Their idea of fun is sitting around making crafts and painting their nails and although I wouldn't be totally against those things should the opportunity arise where I was already somewhere it wouldn't be on my top 10 list of things to do with my time and it's unlikely that I would travel somewhere specifically to do those things.

Well, I read the retreat form wrong.

I started reading the women's retreat information and my eyes skipped a few lines and I saw "skeet shooting" and "riflery" and my heart skipped a beat.  Although it's not really something I would think to sign up for regularly it sounded totally interesting! I was pumped!

. . And then I saw that I was reading about the men's retreat. . . 

Yup, don't fit in any of those boxes. . .


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Music, the 90s, and Me.

In the early 90s I was just starting to discover who I was.  These days I'm still very artistically expressive and I love to sing but back then I also wrote stories, and poetry and did sketches but times change and I've grown up and there just isn't as much time in a day now, so stories and poetry have turned into random blog posts of memories.

Looking back I'm somewhat ashamed of some of my musical choices.  I bought a few tapes in the 90s and one of those was Mariah Carey "Music box".  These days it's painful for me to listen to her music.  That said, some of the artists I listened to during that time have have stayed with me over the years.  For example, I still sometimes find myself singing Alanis Morisette's "Ironic" which was one of my favourite songs at the time.

But the song I think that has stuck with me the most and, possibly had a positive influence on me, from the 90s is "You Gotta Be" by Des'ree.

I found the song inspirational.  It speaks to me.  It tells a story of strength, listening to your heart and being true to who you are despite what other people might think which I've done a lot over the years.

It's a message, and a song, I've also shared with my daughter.

"Listen as your day unfolds, challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears, stand up and be counted
Don't be ashamed to cry

You gotta be
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day"

Have a listen. . .

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Do You Smell That?

Patricia and I met when I had a two bedroom apartment and needed a room mate and she had a 1 bedroom apartment and was looking for the same.  Our building manager introduced us.  We were both in our early 20s and working full time. We shared the two bedroom apartment. She worked a night shift and I worked a day shift and luckily we got along relatively well so on occasion shared dinner as we didn't have a whole lot of money and Patricia unfortunately wasn't the best cook. It wasn't unusual for her to set off the smoke alarm while making dinner. However, on this particular night neither of us were expecting it as she had planned to make Kraft Macaroni and Cheese from a box. How could you light the kitchen on fire cooking that? . . .Apparently we were going to find out. .

"Patricia, do you smell that?" I was stretched out on our threadbare, nearly beige, white couch flipping through a magazine. "Smell what?" She said.

"It smells like something's burning."

"I don't know, I don't smell anything?"

"Are you cooking something?"

"I just put a pot on the burner to heat up some water. I'm making macaroni and cheese. You want some?"

"No, I'm good Thanks."

I continued flipping through the magazine. The smell was starting to get worse.

"It smells almost like chemicals or something. . .burnt. . ."

Patricia walked over to the stove.


*BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP* The smoke alarm suddenly broke the silence. I jumped up from my chair and dashed over, turning on the exhaust fan. We were coughing, smoke rising all around us.

"I turned on the wrong burner." She said.

I looked over to see my Betty crocker cookbook sitting in the sink, the spine completely melted, a brown burner shaped mark across it's front and back.

"I'll buy you a new one. I'm sorry."

"I thought you were making mac and cheese?"

"I was. . .was thinking I might make dessert too."

We laughed. 

"Don't worry about it. . .I don't really use it anyway. I thought the kitchen was on fire."

"Yeah, it almost was!" We giggled.

Patricia and I eventually went our separate ways and lost touch but I still have the Betty Crocker cookbook with the melted spine and brown burner mark to remember that day and many similar ones though that was the last time she ever burnt a non-food item in our place.

This post was inspired by the writer's prompt, "Tell the Story of a Mistake made in the Kitchen."

Thursday, January 22, 2015

. . .And we said Good Bye

On the first day we met her she didn't come with much.  A small diaper bag, a soother stuffed in her mouth, a bottle and a scruffy blanket.  We were leaving to go camping in two days and life had happened and so she was sent to us.  We weren't really sure what to expect but soon we were introduced to a whirlwind of joy that hit the floor running.  We found ourselves at Walmart at 10pm buying clothes for a child we'd just met.  She wasn't our biggest fan then. She didn't like shopping carts, she didn't know us, and things were a little crazy. . .after all we were going camping in two days and she didn't really have any clothes to wear.

She was only a toddler and she was a busy one at that and that camping trip was one of the most memorable, and least organized ones I have ever been on in my life but the kids had fun! Bubbles were blown, rocks discovered, there was swimming and precious hand clapping, and dancing from a new little child shaking her tiny bum back and forth and circling in dizzy circles in a camp church hall. She just couldn't stay away from the music!

Yes, that weekend was crazy.  A weekend stay turned into a week and we settled into routine, a week into a month and a month into nearly six.  It's crazy how time flies!

There was joy and, of course, there were challenges.  Sisterly fights, temper tantrums, bad dreams, bumps and bruises and illness.

She felt as much my child as our own even though unlike our daughter she rarely wanted to be hugged, though every night before bed we offered and almost every night she hid under her blanket and said "no".

So that day, as I stood in our hallway and helped gather her bags and told her I loved her and that she was going to go home, this time for good, I watched, to my surprise, as her arms wrapped around me in the tightest hug, head on my shoulder, warmth of her body encompassing my body and she held me there tightly as if she truly understood, until it was time to leave.

Her worker came back then and I handed her over and she smiled and waved and said "Bye Mommy and Daddy."

Those words melted my heart and I fought back tears as I watched the door close.

Good bye little one!

Good luck!

We'll miss you!

We hope you have a wonderful life with your family with many many happy memories!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Top 12 Photos of 2014

Top 12 Photos of 2014

Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, there are some photos this year that I haven't been able to share because of who is in them. So perhaps these aren't my absolute favourite photos of 2014 but they are my favourites of the ones I can share.  Here they are in no particular order.

This is the first time we tried making home made, gluten free banana bread. I chose this photo because it makes me feel happy.  Hubby said it tasted just like the real thing and E kept asking for more.  Unfortunately I couldn't try it because I'm allergic to bananas but I still felt the love. :)

This is Scamper.  Scamper is 11 years old (12 in February).  I found him at a no-kill shelter when he was 2 years old and brought him home.  We've been through a lot together.  He's my cat buddy even though he can be fairly grumpy at times these days.  I love this photo because he's so content, and also looks like he's posing for it - which who knows, he may have been. :) We didn't buy the chair for him but it has been claimed as his and since then we've encouraged that.

I know what you're thinking, more baking. . .haha. I just can't help it.  I was so proud of myself after making these.  I used a family recipe and made them just replacing the flour with a gluten free alternative.  Doing that always has it's risks but I was so happy with how they turned out! Makes me smile looking at the photo.

This was taken in March 2014.  E had been asking to build a snow man for a while but the weather had been so cold.  This time we had just enough snow.  She was so proud of her snowman.  The picture makes me chuckle. :)

I had a hard time choosing just one Great Wolf Lodge photo because we had such a good time there.  I had narrowed it down to this photo or one of E on a water slide.  Both are great photos because they are both firsts for E and really show how she's grown over the past year but in the end I picked this one.  Although you don't see it in this photo hubby is standing off to the side teaching her how to bowl and afterwards E high fives everyone and continues to encourage us as we bowl.  This photo gives me proud mommy feelings and happy memories.

This photo was also taken in Niagara Falls while on the Great Wolf Lodge trip.  We went to an indoor garden and E enjoyed exploring it.  I like this photo because of the colours.  It just looks really pretty.

E giving a paramedic bear a high five. I love this photo because it's adorable.  E loves fire fighters, paramedics and police men and their vehicles.. .especially their vehicles. :)

Look a tomato! I love this photo because it's the first tomato from our tomato plant this summer.  It's the first time I've kept a plant alive long enough for it to actually make edible food.  I was pretty excited!

E relaxing in the grass by our building enjoying the weather in July.  I just love the carefree nature of this photo.

I thought this photo was awesome. E had just come from dance class so her hair was up in a bun but light wisps of it were escaping because of the wind.  We went to the Airport for a special event and she got sit in this plane for this photo.  She announced that she wanted to be a pilot after that so now she wants to be a ballerina, firefighter and pilot.  I love how she dreams. :)

The first time E had ever had poutine.  E has Celiac disease and we were really excited to find out that McDonald's Canada was offering a poutine with gluten free gravy. 

Perhaps a bit of a cheat since this isn't a photo that I personally took, it was taken back stage at E's dance recital while we were of course sitting out front but it's my absolute favourite photo of 2014.  E is the one in the photo with the arm around her back.  This is her and her dance class mates waiting to go on stage. I love her perfect little bun and the tutu. She was lovely and performed beautifully that day.  We were so proud of her!