About Me

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There are times that I really do feel like The Little Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe. I even call our little house "The Shoe". I am a stay at home mom. I do really think that was my calling. My kids are 13, 10, 10, (yes they are twins) and 5. Our life is an adventure, most times it really is a beautiful adventure.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Living In The Moment, In The Now.


The Essence of a New Day

"This is the beginning of a new day.
You have been given this day to use as you will.
You can waste it or use it for good.
What you do today is important because you are 
exchanging a day of your life for it.
When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever;
in it's place is something left behind....
let it be something good."

    The above poem, inspirational poem came at a perfect time for me.  After waiting for three hours in the emergency waiting room for Grace to be seen by a doctor, listening to a man wretch into a small newspaper bag, and smelling said wretch, I was ready for the next step.  I was so happy and relieved when we were called into a small examining room.  The walls were white with skids from beds, and who knows what else.  There was a big poster on the wall that stated something to the effect of "Sexual and physical assault are not love, call us if you need to talk to someone".  It don't remember the exact wording, but it was something like that.  On the other side of the wall was a framed picture of a beautiful tree at sunset.  Under the beautiful picture was the above, even more beautiful poem.
    I have often heard it said that the right thing or the right person comes to you when you are ready, and in the most need.  I believe this.  The poem came when my soul most needed reminding.  This summer I have been feeling robbed of my summer.  I have been feeling resentful, overwhelmed.  It is one thing to realize that you have chosen this path, it is another to accept it.  I have spent almost everyday feeling resentful and overwhelmed instead of choosing to see the possibilities of the day.
   The funny thing is that I am a "Glass Half Full" person.  I generally see the good in most things.  I think I drive my "Glass Half Empty" husband crazy.  The thing is that I have to see the world as a great place.  I have to see everyone as a good person.  I like to think that everyone in the world is like me, and wants the best.  That is why this resentfulness is so strange.  I have become so trapped in my negativity loop of thinking that I am not able to see the "Glass Half Full".
    Last night I was standing in that small dingy examining room, thinking what a big waste of time all of this was.  A few days ago Grace hurt her pinky finger riding her bike.  She has been crying and complaining about it everyday for the last 4 days.  My first instinct was to say "suck it up, it's just a sore finger."  Then I remember that Grace broke 3 bones in a six month period (and that she's just a little girl and deserves more sympathy).  We took her to her specialist who did a bone density test.  She has low normal bone density for an adult. They don't have statistics for children.  Every time that Grace hurts herself I wonder if it's a broken bone.  It was for that reason that I finally took her to the hospital last night.  After X-rays and 4 hours, we discovered that she had not broken any bones.  I was relieved.  It would seem like the evening had really been a waste of time, and money (gas and $14 for parking), but it wasn't.
    Because Grace hurt her hand, and I needed to make sure it was alright, we went to emergency.  Because we went to emergency we were placed in that dingy room that had that at least temporarily, had a life altering moment.  It seems like a funny thing to say, but the poem shook me awake.  I read it and read it.  It reminded me of that corny "Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is the future, but to day is the Present, and the present is a gift".  It reminded me like a stinging slap in the face, that I was wasting my summer, wasting my future, not making the most of my life right now.
    How many times have you looked back at your past and wished desperately for a do over?  Do you look at your past and wish you had made better choices, or even enjoyed the good more often?  Have you wished that you had been more present in your present?   When you look back over even this year do you remember the days that you did nothing?  Do you remember fondly the days that you wasted?
 By changing the way I look at my present, I can affect my future.  I need to find more joy in the simple.  I cannot find joy if I am bitter.  I need to make a change in the way that I am thinking.  Today is the day that I live in the now.  Today is the day I will not waste on negativity.  Today and everyday forward I will make a difference, even if it is only in a very small way.  Today is the day that I will change the way I think, and in so doing I change my future for the good.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Case Of The Stinky Piano... Two many Pianos


    For a number of years my husband wanted a piano.  I had no objections to this, I don't play, but I would like the kids to learn.  I want to raise well rounded kids, and I feel like the arts are a big part of that (you notice that you never hear me singing praises for anything physical).  My cousin called me two years ago and asked if we would like to buy their piano.  I jumped at it, especially since they were kind enough to accept a ridiculous payment plan.  We found ourselves with a little piano.
    More times than I would care to have heard, I would hear my kids thumping on the piano, I mean playing the piano.  Christopher taught Grace how to play.  It was beautiful to see the two of them sitting head to head while my husbands huge hands directed Grace's small hands onto the correct keys.  Often I would come home from being out with the kids and find that Christopher had come home before us.  There he would be at the piano, a serene look on his face as he played.  That little piano fit perfectly into our home, not just in the case of space, but in the case of making our house a home.
    Last year our next door neighbour became very ill.  Her daughter had to place her in a nursing home.  That meant we would have a new neighbour.  One day when her daughter was there cleaning up her Mom's house she asked if we would be interested in purchasing her Mom's full sized piano.  Christopher's eyes became large.  He wanted that piano!  I did not!  I liked our little piano.  It fit it's little space perfectly.  Christopher began to harass, I mean explain why the large piano was better.  "There is no point in the kids learning to play a piano that did not have all of the keys!"  That was his first argument. "But I like our little piano".  There was no point, I knew it was all over, we would have the full sized piano.  I decided to play my last card, "If we can sell our piano, we can buy Pat's".  Agreed.  
Thankfully my stipulation proved a great bargaining chip for me.  I had no idea how difficult it is to sell a piano.  I was not sad about not selling our piano, or getting a much bigger one that would not fit into our tiny little house.  I was selling the piano for what we had paid for it, seems simple.  
    Everyone is talking about kijji.ca.  It's a free site that allows you to list items that you would like to sell.  It's pretty easy to set up.  The only thing we had close to an offer was someone who offered us less than half of what we were asking, and wanted delivery.  That was a NO, but perhaps I acted to quickly with my NO.  A year later, we still had my little adorable piano.  It looked like that was how it was going to stay, oh and I like that.  It allowed me to come out smelling like roses!  I was still the awesome wife who begrudgingly agreed to the new, much larger piano.  It was not my fault if people don't want to buy small adorable pianos.
    Last week our old neigbour's daughter was at the house.  She was finishing up the last bit of cleaning before they put the house up for sale.  She thanked me for keeping an eye on the house, and for being such a great neighbour to her mom.  I was humble, and told her that's just what neighbours did, no big deal.  It was around that time that my beautiful stroke of luck failed me.  "I know that you guys were wanting to buy the piano, but you had to sell yours first.  We would really like you to have it.  I know a local lady who would take your smaller piano, like a trade." she said.  My plan lay there on the floor, dead.  "Oh that is so kind of you, are you sure?"(please say no, please say no).  "It will just be nice to see Mom's piano being used!"  When Christopher came home he was over the top delighted, I was not!
    The big day came.  Christopher asked his bosses to help him move the piano.  I took the kids out to the park so that they would not be in the way (o.k. the truth is that my house was not as clean as it should have been to have Christopher's bosses see it.  It just pretended to be a nice lady and take the kids out so as to avoid embarrassment).  I came home from the park with three happy little kids, only to discover two pianos in my tiny living room, one of which stunk very, very much.  There really are no words to describe how bad the new piano stinks.  The closest I can come is take an antique that has been dosed in nicotine, and old urine, and a heavy dose of mildew... yup it smells that good!  So apparently the other lady had not been consulted, and by no way shape or form did she want our piano.  So now I have a piano that smells so much that it permeates through the entire house, leaving the living room uninhabitable.  I have a second adorable piano, that is on the other wall.  The kid's will only play the non-stinky piano.
    I poured vinegar into one cup and baking soda into another cup and placed them on top of the piano. I then took an entire box of dryer sheets and covered every spot of the piano with them.  The effect.... NONE!  Now I have to start the whole stupid Kijjii thing all over again!  Soooooo if anyone knows how to de-stink a piano, I could really use your help.  Also, if anyone is looking for a slightly used husband, he and the piano are available.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Grace's "Smelly Socks"



    Do you ever go to see a professional theatre production?  To me it is like being transported somewhere else.  The costumes, the backdrops and the actors!  You see those people stand there and sing.  Sing is not really the correct word for what they do, but I do not know what you could call what they do.  It's like saying that Lance Armstrong rides a bike pretty good.  To me this point was truly made when I took Grace to see her very first Mirvish show, Little House On The Prairie.  The year before for Christmas we had purchased the first season of Little House On The Prairie on DVD for Grace's Christmas gift.  I had found out that Little House On The Prairie had been made into a musical, and was starring the original "Half Pint", Melissa Gilbert.  We were so excited.  What made it all the more special was that it was just Grace and I.  What became very obvious that day is that the stage actors and actress are very different than other actors.  Melissa Gilbert had a lovely singing voice, but she could not sing from the tips of her toes like the other actors.  I felt so badly for her.  I wondered if she knew how out of her league she was.  My first instinct is to say that stage actors have a gift, but the reality is that they have worked hard to hone their skills.  God may have blessed them with a nice singing voice, but it took years of teaching and practice to achieve the power behind that voice.



    When Grace auditioned for "Munch Tales" for the Young Stirling Festival Theatre I knew that I would be spending a lot of time in my car driving her back and forth to Stirling.  My imagination did not prepare me for the tedium of it.  On one of the many trips I was moaning in my head, when it suddenly occurred to me, those amazing stage actors began here! Many of  those people with the amazing talent began their careers at theatres such as the Stirling Festival Theatre.  It was here they learned to take direction from their director.  It was here they learned to thicken their skins and pull up their socks in the audition process.  It was here they learned about lighting and where to stand, how to make their voice carry to the back of theatre.

    When you go and purchase a ticket to see youth theatre, you not only get entertainment, you get to see the stars of tomorrow.  The cost for all of the seats at the Stirling Festival Theatre for "Munch Tales On Stage" is only $8.00.  Imagine being able to boast to people that you had seen Meryl Streep before she was "Meryl Streep".  One of the kids in this cast could very well grow up to be an actor that you will see on the big stage or in movies.  August 7 at 11:00, August 8 at 11:00 and August 9 at 2:00 and then again at 7:00 you have an opportunity to witness The Stirling Festival Theatre's Young Company.  There is original music and even a play that has been written by one of the cast members, oh yeah, and you can see my Grace make her stage debut.



    For more information about the Stirling Festival Theatre, or to purchase your tickets to see "Munch Tales on Stage", go to stirlingfestivaltheatre.com

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Reklaw Farms - Community Supported Agriculture

This is taken from reklawfarmcsa.blogspot.com

    As promised, here is more information about the Walker's farm (remember yesterday's "Hunt's / Walker's Corn".)  As anyone who is a regular reader of mine, you know how I feel about whole foods. If we could afford to do so, I would only feed my family organic whole foods, that we had purchased locally.  I think that it is really important to know where your food comes from.  There is also something to to be said for eating what your local farmer feeds to his/ her children.  It just stands to reason that he / she is only going to feed his / her family the very best, therefore feeding your family the very best!
    Yesterday I was discussing my addiction to corn.  I also shared that in speaking to Verna Walker, I discovered that her family was transitioning to Hunt's corn.  She had mentioned their "Community Supported Agriculture".  I was intrigued.  The way this system works is that you essentially buy a share in the farmer's stock.  You gamble what they gamble, but without the back breaking work.  You purchase a share, and in return, at harvest time, your share is returned in produce.  I LOVE this concept.  
    I am by nature a super lazy person.  I love the "idea" of my own vegetable garden.  I have in years past planted said garden.  In the late spring I am super excited about all of the amazing vegetables I will produce.  I was super excited to see the little seedlings struggling through the earth.  I would water them religiously, until that is I became bored with it, which was within the first month.  I am lazy!
I really love the idea of feeding my family fresh, from the earth produce, I just don't care for all of the work required in doing so.
    You may be asking yourself, why would I buy a share in a farm, when I can just as easily go to my grocery store and buy my produce for the same price?  Good question.  How do you think that produce got to the grocery store?  How many trucks did those carrots ride in before arriving at your home?  When were those carrots picked?  For that matter, where were they grown?  Not all countries use such strict pesticide policies as ours.  When we were in Florida and picked oranges, this question about what I was feeding my family became more pronounced.  On our family trip to Florida, we stopped to pick Oranges at an Organic Citrus Grove.  The oranges we picked were not orange, but mottled with orange and browns and greens.  They were the most delicious, most juiciest oranges I had ever in my life tasted.  The oranges that we purchase in the stores have essentially been painted orange to make them more attractive.  Who knew that?  Apples are coated in red tinted wax to help them to look more attractive, and to give them a longer life.  Do you see my point?  These fruits are still really good for you, I'm not saying that they are not.  I am saying why would you want these unnecessary extras in your food?
     The other important reason to purchase directly from your local farmer, is really a very simple reason... taste.  Fresh tastes so much better.  A potato that has just been dug that day, or better yet within the hour of eating it, tastes night and day different from that same potato two days later.  The tastes are more pronounced.  The other part of that is the fresher the produce is, the better that it is for you.  If you think about vegetables as living things, which they are, then as soon as you pick them they are beginning to die.  Every minute off the vine / plant  they loose their nutrients. We eat vegetables for their taste, and their nutrients... so fresh is best!
    I realize that I am sounding a little preachy, o.k. a lot preachy.  I just really feel strongly that we need to support our local farmers.  Without farmers we don't have food!  So many farmers are no longer able to just farm.  They have to farm, and have a second job to support their families.  It seems criminal that these hard working people should have do this.
    My family plans to purchase a share in Reklaw Farms this winter.  Last year the cost of a share was $500.00.  The $500.00 entitles you to 16 weeks of produce.  That is only $31.25 a week!  Shares must be purchased by April.  That is perfect, because it is in line with our income tax rebate.  Come the summer it will feel like we are receiving free baskets of produce every week ( feel like free because it will have been ages ago that we purchased our share).  The Walkers do not use chemicals or pesticides on their garden.  Instead they plant heirloom, hardy plants that have stood the test of time.  For a mere $31.25 I will be feeding my family good whole foods, that contain no pesticides of chemicals.  The bonus is that it will feel like Christmas every week for 13 weeks!
    To find out information about Reklaw Farms go to their website and take a peek for yourself, 
or visit Verna's own blog.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Hunt's / Walker's Corn


    In the cold of winter I dream of corn.  Corn is one of my addictions.  In the winter months when I can find corn I make do.  I add a table spoon of sugar, and a quarter of a cup of milk to the water I boil it in.  It improves the lackluster taste, but it does not recreate Hunt's corn in the summer.  There are many farmer's selling corn, and they are good enough, but they are no Hunts, oh no they are no Hunts.


    Come mid July, I begin to eagerly anticipate the arrival of that beautiful  bright yellow shed.  That shed signifies the beginning of corn season.  When I see that yellow shed I begin to get the sweats (like they describe junkies on TLC's Intervention).  My mouth begins to water ( I know I have problems.  I mean I don't drink, I don't smoke, I just Jones for Hunt's corn).  I begin my fantasies of corn bathed in butter, lightly dusted with salt and pepper... ohhhhhhhhhhhh.  


    We have been going to Hunt's corn for as long as I can remember (that's not necessarily a long time, I have really pathetic long term memory).  I have been fooled a few times, enough times that I have learned a valuable lesson.  Sometimes you will see corn for sale, fill a bag for $2.00.  Guess what, you get what you pay for!  Hunt's corn seems to be a special type of sweet corn, because no one else sells anything like it.  I remember a few years ago my mother-in-law came to stay with us for a few days.  She is former farm girl (when she was a girl her parent's farmed).  She loves corn on the cob! For years we have told her about Hunt's corn, and that it is the world's best.  She gave us that little "poor little idiots", smile.  You know that smile akin to "whatever you say sweet heart".  Upon finishing her tenth cob (o.k. I'm not certain it was really ten.  Ten sounds better for dramatic effect, it was probably really more like two), she declared "This is the best corn I have ever eaten!".  I then got that "I told you so" smile, akin to "IN YOUR FACE, IN YOUR FACE", and told her I was glad she had enjoyed it.


    The bright little yellow shed has been sitting at the side of the road, teasing me for a while.  Last week Christopher came home from work and told me that "Hunt's Corn is open!!!!!!!"  I then berated him and asked why he hadn't brought any home.  Every single day for the last week we have been eating fresh beautiful corn!  I am in heaven.  If heaven exists, I am pretty sure that there are mountains of sweet corn, and rivers of butter to dip it in.  I know... I have a problem.

I make several different butters for corn.
This one is fresh chives,  parsley and dill, mixed with salt and pepper.
 I also mix powdered barbecue rub into the butter.

    Today I went to buy the corn.  In the bright little shed was not a member of the Hunt family, but a very nice lady named Verna Walker.  Verna told me that they were transitioning ownership.  My first instinct was "but only the Hunt's know the secret magical seeds".  I then gave my head a shake when Verna told me that they had grown the corn on their own farm.  I remember that I had been eating the corn for a week now, and was still very much in love with it.  Denny Hunt had helped them pick out the corn, and recommended a number of things to help their corn business.  I then exhaled knowing I was in good hands.


    Verna, her husband Will, and their three kids run their family farm, Reklaw Farm.  I was telling her how much I enjoy fresh straight from the farm produce, but was too lazy to plant and maintain my own garden (too lazy is really being too kind to myself.  I would not last two minutes in the Amish community).  Verna was telling me about their community garden.  I was intrigued.  I could pay into their farm, and receive a "share" of the harvest, all while sitting on my lazy butt!  I LOVE THIS CONCEPT!  

  I went to the Hasting's Harvest website, and copied this information for you about Reklaw Farm.  It makes excellent sense.  I will find out some more information from Verna, and report back to you.  In the mean time, if you find yourself in the Tweed area, go and buy the world's greatest corn (they are right across from the Tim Horton's, you can't miss it)!  If you are not in our area, do yourself a favour and go seek out a local farmer for your needs.  For those of you who only buy from your grocery store produce isle, you are in for a really great treat.  Food tastes so much better when it is straight from the ground.  You know what they say "Farmer's Feed Cities", "If you ate today, thank a farmer".



Reklaw Farm Community Supported Agriculture
Know your farmer
 You have a dentist to care for you teeth and a family physician to care for your health. Do you have a farmer to provide local healthy produce  for you and your family? If you are concerned about what you are eating the first step is to, know your farmer.
Community Supported Agriculture is a community of individuals that pledge support to a local farmer. In return the farmer grows vegetables and or meat products to be distributed to its supporters. Many supporters of CSA are concerned with food safety. Shares are purchased at the beginning of the growing season. Clients receive a weekly basket of the freshest vegetables. The client and farmer share the rewards as well as the risks.  There are things out of the farmers control such as extreme weather and pest infestations. We will endeavor to grow a variety of vegetables from early June to early October. We will do as much as we can to ensure a bountiful harvest.
We would like to be your farmer.
Full shares will feed a family of four. Half shares will feed a couple or a single person that eats a lot of vegetables. Some vegetables our clients enjoyed last year are:  lettuce, spinach, kale,cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons,zucchini, squash, potatoes,broccoli,radishes, carrots, onions, parsnip,kohlrabi, leeks, celery, swiss chard, peas, beans.
Pick up at the farm will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the early evening. Local delivery will be available for $5.00 per week.
We do not use pesticides or chemical fertilizers. We instead use crop rotation, row covers, and hand weeding.
We will also be offering pasture  raised chicken, pork and turkey  this year.
This summer will be very exciting for us for another reason. We are going to be growing sweet corn. Our sweet corn will be available at various corn huts in the area. We will also have wholesale sweet corn. So if you are thinking about having a corn roast this summer give us a call ahead of time for wholesale pricing.
Lastly we have a growing herd of Irish Dexter cattle.



Saturday, 21 July 2012

Our Tree Frog... so much better than a bat in the face.


    So this was supposed to be yesterday's blog.  I will say, that I much prefer dealing with adorable frogs, over bats flying in my face.  Frogs are so much nicer that bats!

    Last week we kept hearing the strangest noise whenever we were on the deck.  I kept trying to decide if it was an unknown bird, or a squirrel, or who knows what.  I kept walking all over the deck, straining my ears trying to find the noise.  
    A few days ago my parents were over and my Mom was walking around carrying the cutest little grey frog around.  "It's a tree frog!" Mom exclaimed.  I have to admit I wanted to yank it out of her hands.  I love frogs!  Frogs bring out my inner child.  I have been known to chase them around, trying to catch them.  I'm not proud of my childishness, nor am I ashamed of it.  I think that my kids may tend to be a little embarrassed  about their middle aged mother making dives in the grass for frogs.


    Apparently the adorable little tree frog had some how gotten itself trapped in the kids outdoor toy bucket, and they had rescued it (thus my mother walking around holding a little frog).  I will admit, I did not expect to see tree frogs on my deck, or for that matter in town.  It was like a little gift (remember the part of my story where I told you I was childish).
    Last night I heard the same strange noise on my deck.  What was it?  I walked around trying to figure it out.  On a chance I happened to look in the big yellow toy bucket.... mystery solved. It turns out that tree frogs when in distress (or trapped in a toy bucket), make a weird noise, like a cross between a demented bird and an angry squirrel.  I nearly crushed the poor little thing trying to rescue it.  
   So if you by chance hear a weird noise on your deck that you cannot quite put your finger on, you know a cross between a demented bird and an angry squirrel, it might just be a tree frog trapped in a toy bin... you're welcome!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Another Stinking Bat In The HOUSE!




    I lay awake in bed last night thinking about today's blog.  I thought I might write about the adorable little tree frog we found.  I lay there thinking about what I would write.  I then began to read my book.  For a while now lots of lady's that I know have been telling me that I have to read "Outlander", and warned me that  I would not be able to put it down.  I began reading Outlander, and as predicted I have become addicted.  So it was pretty late last night when my eyes began to droop.  I turned out the light.  I had only just turned out the light, when my bladder yelled at me.  I stood up, turned the light back on, and then I heard the strangest noise.  It sounded like it came from the wall.  It was a flapping noise, then I looked up.  It was a frigging bat (I did not think "frigging", I thought another word that starts with "F", but is decidedly unfamily oriented.).  I then jumped in bed, pulled the covers over my head, and started punching my sleeping husband and screaming.
    My husband has been working a lot lately.  People are dying left and right, and they all choose to die early in the mornings for some reason (just a little black funeral director humour for you).  My poor exhausted husband had been in a deep sleep just before my screaming and punching woke him.  I think I might have been screaming "bat", but there is a really good chance I was screaming gibberish.  During this time, that stupid bat is still circling around my room, like something from an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  At this point my husband who is not great in a crisis situation to begin with jumps out of the bed all disoriented, when he realizes what I have been screaming about.  He then begins to shout obscenities.
    All the while my husband is spazing out, I am shouting things at him from under my covers.  THANK GOD I had pulled the covers over my head, because it was shortly after that the bat landed on my face.  This set Christopher over the edge (I did not much care for it myself).  He is still at this point really disoriented and he starts shouting "It's on your face, it's on your face!"  I know it's on my face, I can see it's silhouette through my quilt.  So today I can see that it would have been really funny.  It was not unlike the scene in Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase is running around with the squirrel on his back.  So I have a bat on my face, and a husband who is acting like he might be on drugs (for the record he's not on drugs... well I don't think).  I am waiting for my husband in his panic to hit me in the face with a tennis racket in an effort to kill that bat.  I am waiting for it to come, and yet powerless to stop it, it is at that point that I begin to pray.  I'm not sure if I was praying that bat wouldn't eat my face, or that my husband wouldn't rearrange my face.
    I think I should at this point in the story share with you that my husband is quite tall.  At 6 feet 4 inches, he  is not all that far from the top of the ceiling where our unwanted guest is flapping around.  At some point the bat flew off my face.  Christopher started yelling "Where did it go?"  At that point I pulled my head out from underneath the covers, only to discover that apparently the bat that was sitting on my face had pooped on my quilt, and that said poop was now on my face.  I decided to brave the bat attack and scrub my face until there was no skin left.  When I was satisfactorily disinfected, I ran like they do in horror films back into my room.  I then shoved my husband with all my strength out of our room and shut the door.  "What if the bat is still in our room?" he asked through the closed door.  ""You'll know because of my frantic screaming!  Now catch that frigging bat!" (I didn't say frigging.  For that matter I said quite a bit of that bad "F" word that night).
    I sat bolt upright in my room, listening for the "caught it!"  I felt like if I just sat there bolt upright, it might give me super human hearing.  There was profuse swearing.  Christopher shouted words that I did not even know existed, and strung together other words that I did know even went together.  After what seemed like hours, my husband staggered into our bedroom.  He was covered in a thin layer of sweat, and looked like he had just been in a war.  "I caught it, and you'll be happy to know I released it outside!"  He then fell into the bed, and fell instantly asleep.  I was too wired.  I picked up my book again, listing the whole time for more bat attacks.
    I don't know how those stupid bats are getting into the house, but by the God, I will (what that really means is that Christopher will, because one bat sitting on my face is good enough for a life time).   It turns out that bats are great outside, they eat thousands of mosquitos.  In the house... not so awesome!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Conquering Shyness - Grace's Play



    I love summer.  I do not love summer because of the heat, I hate hot weather.  I love summer because it means no routine.  I do not have an alarm clock to get up to.  I can spend quality time with my kids.  During the summer we do fun things, and many of them are actually educational.  We learn about something and then we take a field trip to see it.  Summer is nice, summer is relaxing.... this summer is NOT!
    It all began in April when a nice boy that Grace knows invited her to come with him and his mom and brother to see a children's production of Cinderella at the Stirling Festival Theatre.  Gracie came home flushed with excitement waving a sheet of paper around.  "I want to audition!" she squealed.  "Mom, Dad, can I audition?", "Yes" we said.  After all of that was out of the way she went on to tell us how great of a time she had, and how much she had enjoyed the show.  Everyday after that she would ask me, "Have you called the Stirling Festival Theatre yet?".  Let me just tell you that "Are we THERE YET?" pales in comparison to several times a day "Have you called yet?"  Everyday "Yes, I called, they will call when the audition time are set."  That was then followed by a variation of the first "Have THEY called yet?"  There are no words to describe how very delighted I was to receive an email from the director telling me that they were now booking auditions.   
    I know that I have shared this before, but it I think I should share it again.  I am amazed how far my little girl has come.  For the first 6 years of school she barely said a word to anyone.  She was a very anxious child, always.  When we had our car accident when she was three, she was trapped in a car for hours in the freezing cold surrounded by strangers trying to save her big brother's life.  Strangers had to cut her out of the car after several hours, and only after Gabe had been rushed away by ambulance. It was then a week before she saw her parents again, and a week after Gabe's funeral that she really saw us again.  It was almost as if all of this proved to her that she should be afraid of the world.  I spent my time trying to gently nudge her out of her comfort zone, trying to prove to her that the world is really a nice place, not so scary.  The worst part of all of this was that she was a extravert trapped in an introvert's body.  It was almost like a prison for her.  You could see in her eyes that she would so desperately like to be the centre of attention, but that introvert kept telling her she needed to be afraid.
    A few years ago I found out that our local arts council was sponsoring a theatre camp.  This camp was being run by a young man who had been trained in theatre.  I thought that this was perfect for her.  She was afraid.  She so desperately wanted to go, but was so anxious.  In the end I signed her up, and told her that if she didn't like it after the first lesson, she would not have to go back.  I reminded her how important it is to do things that scare us, because then we learn how to live without fear.  When we entered the room we were greeted by this young curly haired man with a huge infectious smile, and I knew that we had done that right thing for Grace.  She came home from that first lesson in love with theatre, and we all fell in love with Tim Porter, the young curly haired man who helped to bring our butterfly out of her cocoon.   She transformed herself that first class.  She went from not being able to make herself talk to Tim, to at the end doing a small solo singing part.
    That first class gave Grace the knowledge that she could do what she loved, and that it was o.k..  She mastered her shyness, well enough that she could allow that extravert to come out and play occasionally.  It was shortly after that she asked if she could audition for YTV's "The Next Star"
 (Canada's children's American Idol).  My answer, "YES!".  We left our house at 4 a.m. to get a place in line for the auditions.  We waited with thousands of other children and their parents outside in the cold. She had been practicing her audition piece for weeks, and was ready.  She went down that escalator all alone, looking like she was going to vomit, to audition for the show.  I stood watching my little girl go down that escalator, barely able to see her for my tears.  I was so proud of what she had conquered.  After that there was no stopping her.  She auditioned for her school talent show, and made it.  She from there was asked to sing the national anthem for our community's Canada Day, and she was amazing!  Grace has kicked that cocoon to the curb, and is trying to embrace her new wings.
    When Grace asked if she could audition, how could we not say yes.  I knew that if she made it I would be sacrificing our summer to her, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make, and would make up to the other kids.  I not so secretly hoped that she would choke at her audition.  She would have an excellent experience, but at the same point she could learn from it, and grow from it.  Unfortunately for me, and extremely fortunately for her, she made it.  Not only did she make it, but she received the part that she auditioned for!  I now stuff the three other kids into the van to drive Grace to Stirling, and then to go and pick her up.  We spend two hours a day in the car.  So far the three kids have been for the most part gracious about our trips.  I have bribed them with treats along the way.  To me it is worth the sacrifice (I may have to pay for some counseling for the other three later).
    Every day Grace comes home so excited about her new friends, her play and the nice director.  We are inching ever closer to her performance.  Everyone is asking us to get them tickets for the shows.  Everyone is proud of Grace and excited to watch her unfurl her wings.  I don't know if this is Grace's path forever, but it is a wonder path for right now, and if she continues on this path, I think that she will shine.

    My summer does not look anything like I envisioned it when the snow was melting and I looked dreamily to the future.  My summer has routine.  I am still trying to decide how to better use what little time I have in the day.  It's worth the sacrifice.  We will all have more summers.  This is an opportunity that is too important for Grace to miss.  We are so excited to watch her up there on the stage, although I am pretty sure that I will barely be able to see her for tears.

    If you would like to find out more about the Stirling Festival Theatre, or would like to purchase your own tickets to see our little rising star, you might be interested in this link...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Outdoor Movies - The Night We Were Almost Eaten Alive


    My husband is the love of my life, but he is not a man to be easily persuaded. Case in point, we have lived in our house for 11 years now.  From year 2 of living in our house I tried to persuade my husband that we should buy a pool.  He listed all of the reason's it was a terrible idea.  Summer after summer we sweated until I thought we would die.  Four years ago, I think I threatened divorce if we did not get a pool.  We bought one of those non-permanent pools that you put together every year and fill with water.  It's about 4 feet deep and 15 feet in diameter.  It's perfect for us.  The funniest thing of all is that the man who fought the pool the hardest is the one who uses it the most, and loves it the most.  So you might think that this would be a lesson to my dear sweet husband that I am always right, but he still fights me tooth and nail on everything.
    After we had the pool, I started my campaign for a projector.  It was once again a hard sell.  I had visions of us sitting outside, bonding and making life long memories.  In my head we would all laugh, and everyone we knew would be jealous of us.  The kid's would invite friends over, life would be good.  Two years ago I think I may have threatened divorce and we bought a Sharper Image projector for a family Christmas gift.  I will be honest we went with cheaper Sharper Image projector instead or Epson projector that we should have gone with.  It was the difference between $100 and $700.  For a cheap machine, the Sharper Image one actually works pretty good for what we use it for.  
    Last summer was a beautiful blur of swimming, fires in our outdoor fireplace, and outdoor movies.  In other words it was a summer that we made beautiful memories.  This year has been the hottest, driest summer that I can ever remember.  We have gotten plenty of use of the pool.  There is a fire ban right now where we live, so we can't use the fire place.  It takes about half an hour to set the movie up. To a pair of really, really lazy people that is off putting.  
    We decided that a movie was worth the effort, we would have a movie.  Last night we were really smart and started setting our movie us just after dinner.  We were humming and happy, I was certain that we might just be the greatest parents in the world.  Nana and Papa were invited over.  We set up the chairs.  I spent half an hour making pop corn.  We selected "A Dolphin's Tale".  The kids were liberally sprayed with "Off", and mosquito coils were lit.  We were ready.  We each selected our spots, treats in hand.  I had my glass of wine in hand, ready for the movie.  
    After the last person was seated (it was me, it's always me), Christopher started the movie.  I should add that it is not just a "movie", Christopher sets up a surround sound system.  It generally takes a while to set everything up, but it is a great movie experience.  We are sitting, excitedly waiting for the movie to begin.  As we sat there, a plague of mosquitos desended upon us.  It was not just some mosquitos, it was of biblical proportions.  I honestly could barely see the movie screen for the literal cloud of mosquitos.  The kids were getting a pit paniced with all of the bites they were receiving.  Christopher kept telling them "but you're wearing off!"  One of the kids shouted out something like " You should tell that to the mosquitos that are biting me!"  I sat there, wine in hand, watching my beautiful summer memories being eaten alive, not unlike my children.  It was shortly after that that Grace announced she was going in.  Rowan quickly followed suite.  
I have never seen so many mosquitos in my entire life.  I gave up, I just surrendered.  "Let's go inside."  I proclaimeg, resisting the urge to kick something in temper.  I thought Christopher was going to cry.
    The end of the story goes something like this... we went into the air conditioned house and watched our movie, it was a good movie.  In the end we did make summer memories that will last forever, as perhaps will the scars that the kid's have given themselves from over scratching bites.  We will all remember, although not necessarily fondly the summer of 2012 where we had plagues of mosquitos, and did nothing outside at night. 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Godspell


    I love theatre!!!!!  I have shared this before, but it bears repeating, it is a rare treat that I get to the big city and enjoy a Mirvish production.  The reason I only get to a Mirvish production is because the cost is prohibitive.  There are no inexpensive tickets for Mirvish.  I have all my life wished that I had the courage to do theatre.  It has been a secret desire of mine for many years, it's on my bucket list.  I get to live through my oldest daughter Grace.  Grace LOVES, acting and singing.  I look at my little girl, and am so proud of her, and marvel at her courage, and talent.
    We are very fortunate in Tweed to have a young man named Tim Porter.  Tim began his own theatre company a few years ago, producing original Canadian works of art ( yes I am using art correctly, I consider the theatre to be art.  Beautiful, well crafted art), to much critical acclaim.  He has partnered up with our local arts group, to bring his theatrical productions to Tweed, to the Marble Church in Actinolite to be exact.  There, we people who enjoy small town (actually we live in a village) living can also be treated to the things we love about the big city, namely excellent theatre.
    As I mentioned my Grace loves theatre.  She gained this love of theatre through an extremely talented teacher, Tim Porter.  We thought that it would be a treat for Grace to go and see one of Tim's plays.  We decided on Godspell.  She was really excited.  I had taken her last year to see "Little House on The Prairie", staring Melissa Gilbert as Ma at one of the Mirvish Theatres ( I felt a little sorry for Melissa Gilbert, because the rest of the cast had obviously been classically trained, and while she had a nice singing voice, she could not master their sound or quality).  Little House on The Prairie got Grace hooked on theatre.
    When I had taken my Mother as her Mother's Day gift to see Stalkyard Hurts, we dressed up, and went a half hour early.  We were apparently 20 minutes too early.  When the handful of people came, they were dressed extremely casually... we were overdressed.  It was the same when Tim invited me to closing night.  For Godspell we arrived 10 minutes early, and were delightfully shocked to discover there was barely a parking spot to be had, and barely a seat to be had.  We also discovered that this time we had really underdressed, who knew.
    I feel that at this point I should share that I have never read the bible, nor to be honest, do I desire to.  I've tried, but I just could not understand it.  I know bits and pieces about the stories in the bible, as I do have religious family members.  I went to see Godspell under the belief that the music would be amazing.  I was correct!
    Watching this show was like going back to school in September.  There was our teacher (Tim), and all the kids that I was friends with last year (Karine Berube, Michael Collin Jones, Danielle Leger.. the class clown).  I was sad that some of my friends were in a different class (Stalkyard Hurt's Justin Collette, and Tricia Black).  There were also some new kids that I didn't know that first day of school, (Emilee Nimetz, Jaqueline Martin, James King, Joel MacMeekin, Samantha Marchinonda, and Sara Wilkinson).  Turns out the new kids became my new friends by the end of the first day, but I still missed my old friends.  I guess what I'm saying is WHAT A TALENTED CAST!!!!!  I know very few bible stories, but I know that this cast is so talented.  I was impressed by the way Tim made full creative use of such a small stage.  I was extremely impressed by the crucifixion scene.  "Oh God, I'm Bleeding", brought me to tears.  James King did a beautiful job.  This talented cast could easily be in any Mirvish production based on their talent.  Their voices blew me away once again.  They were all just so very, very talented.  Michael Collin Jones was amazing AGAIN.  Danielle Leger  and Karine Berube had a smaller parts in this production, but they certainly made their presences known, wow.  The new kids (well new to me) were amazing.  It's obvious that Tim knows talent.
    I was delighted to discover the night that we saw Godspell it was to a nearly sold out crowd, and that the last two shows are completely sold out.  We need to show Iana our love.  We need to show them that we appreciate their hard work, and extreme talent so that Tweed continues to be blessed with high quality theatre.  Godspell was the last production for the Iana Theatre in Tweed this season.  It will be touring the shows throughout Ontario, and if you have the chance you should treat yourself to a show.
    August 22 - September 1, Iana Theatre will be performing their original "Aleck Bell" at the Stirling Festival Theatre stirlingfestivaltheatre.com.  I think when I am buying the tickets to Grace's production (more to come on that, don't you worry your pretty little heads about it) of "Munsch on Stage", I should try to pick up some tickets to see "Aleck Bell".
   For more information about the Iana Theatre visit their website ianatheatre.com





Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sand Clay


    Gracie auditioned for a part in the Stirling Festival Theatre at the end of June.  It was an amazing opportunity for her, the little girl once could not make herself speak to anyone other than her immediate family.  You've come a long way baby!  Having said all of that, Stirling is a half hours drive from us.  Rehearsals for her play would be for the entire month of July and the first week of August, therefore monopolizing our summer.  I wished her good luck in her audition, but secretly hoped that she would choke... she did not.  Grace was offered a role, much to her delight, and my grudging pride.
    The play is an amazing opportunity for Grace, but kind of puts a kink into the rest of the family's summer.  We are getting up to an alarm, something that we DO NO DO in the summer.  I load the four kids into the van twice a day to drive and pick Grace up, that represents two hours in the car for three children who gain nothing from this amazing opportunity.  I promised the kids that I would make it up to them, that their sacrifice would not be in vain, we would fill our summer with fun still.  This was a promise made before the running lead me into an exhausted stupor.


    Today I made good on my promise of summer fun.  For some time now I have been mulling in my head an idea to make sandcastles that will last.  I considered mixing white glue with sand, but that seemed expensive and messy.  Then I stumbled across this picture on Pinterest of a sandcastle, so I stole it.  I had very few of the ingredients that the recipe called for, so I improvised.


    I began my sand clay with my basic play dough recipe. 
1 cup flour                                                      1 Tbsp oil
1 cup water                                                     2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup salt        

You combine all of the ingredients into a pot and mix them over medium heat.  Your arm will feel like it is going to fall off.  There will be times in the process of stirring that you will wish for death, or perhaps to stop stirring.  When the mixture starts to pull away from the sides, and looks much like mashed potatoes, take it off the heat.  Let it cool, trust me on this one, don't get ahead of yourself, because that dough is pretty hot.

I quadrupled the recipe, and added three cups of sand to it.  Surprisingly it turned out great!  


    The kids were really excited when I told them that we were going to make sandcastles that would last.  It kept them happy for an hour.  I gave them each a green paper plate to make their castle on.  I also found deep at the back of my cupboard, little Canadian flags, perfect for castles.  I found some shells that we had brought back from Florida.


    At one point Miss Smartie Pants Riley shouts out, "Hey Mom, I just made a fossil".  I wish that I'd thought of that!  It's too late now, but I should have lied and pretended that it was my idea, and you would say how clever I am.  It's clever all right, it's just not my clever idea.

    My plan is to let everything dry.  When it's dry I will mix glue and water to a half to half ratio and we  will paint it onto the castles and fossils.  I have to admit, the clay looks really attractive.  The kid's really had a fun afternoon, and it only represented perhaps 15 minutes of my time.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Bead Girl - Art in the Library

Riley's bracelet and rings that she made

    Recently our library received a grant that would allow local seniors to teach local children art at our library at no cost to the children.  The art classes are very different ranging from jewelry making, to photography, oil painting, sketching, right down to rag quilt making and quite a few others.  What an amazing opportunity for our children, and most especially for the price... free.
    I painstakingly poured over the sign-up lists as soon as they made their appearance at the library.  My Riley is talented little artist for her age.  She also really loves art.  She has so much natural talent, just imagine what she could do with some help.  I signed her up for jewelry making, oil painting, mosaics and sketching.  She was delighted.  I signed Rowan up for oil painting, sketching, and mosaics.  Grace was limited because she is rehearsing for a big play, so we could only sign her up for the mosaics and sketching.


    Riley took her first jewelry making class last Wednesday.  I expected her to make macaroni necklaces or some little kid lame craft.  I settled her into her class and then had to run to pick up Grace in Stirling.  The woman teaching the class was lovely, and she assured me that if Riley needed any help, she would help her.  I felt really guilty leaving Riley, but the alternative was to pull her out of the class, and that seemed unfair also.  So off I raced to get Grace, leaving Riley to her macaroni necklace... or so I thought.

Riley and Cindy Crowson

    When I returned to the library, Riley was sporting beautiful rings.  These rings were as beautiful as anything that you might buy at a high end shop.  Her little face was beaming, as well it should have been.  She was so excited about her class.  "Mom, my teacher is sooooooooo nice.  Aren't my rings beautiful?"  Every finger was adorned with a ring, shades of Liberace.  She was so excited to show them to everyone.  Grace tried to beg one off of her, "Sorry Grace," she said with a self important half smile "I would, but I fitted them to my own fingers."  She then set about explaining how she had done that.

The rings that Riley made by herself.

    This week Riley made a safety pin bracelet.  Once again it rivals something that you could buy in a store.  She is so loving this class.  This afternoon she came bouncing out of the car "Mommy she has half day workshops, could I go, could I go?"  The selfish me thought, "but I want to make pretty things!!! (put in a foot stamp here)".  I then had an amazing idea, what if near the end of the summer she invited some of her friends, and Grace invited some friends, and their moms, and we had a mother / daughter jewelry making party?  I have to give myself a little pat on the back for that one.  It seems like a great bonding activity and a perfect way to send off the summer, now I just have to see if I can arrange it.

    The lovely lady who is teaching the class is Cindy Crowson.  She owns "Bead Girl" and is situated in Deseronto, Ontario.  She also sells her beads and accessories online at beadgirlonline.com
It may have been a bad thing that I visited her website, because now I would like to buy pretty much everything that she has for sale.  The other problem is Cindy's, philosophy, she tries to price her classes so that they are fun, but not expensive.  My big issue with this, is that I have an addictive personality, and know that once I try jewelry making I will become hooked, and if the prices are reasonable (and they really are) , then I will spend more time with Cindy than I will my husband.  I guess that's a chance I am willing to take.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Please Daddy Can We Keep "Them"!!!!

Sir Squeaks Alot

    I am not an animal person.  I have already shared that if I am at your house I will pet your dog, not because I want to, but because I would look like a jerk if I didn't.  Having said all of that, I loved my pets.  We had to put our 14 year old dog down last July.  Maggie was perhaps the best dog in the world.  She was amazing, you couldn't ask for a better dog.  Towards the end she began to develop dementia.  She was no longer the gentle trustworthy dog that she had been, and we had to make the difficult decision to put her down.  I lost my 16 year old cat Percy this past February.  I mourned him like I would a family member, because that is what he was.  My Percy did not know he was cat, he thought he was a dog.  After the pets died, Christopher decreed that there would be no more pets.  I secretly laughed to myself thinking that my poor husband had finally lost his marbles.  I just sat back and let him think that he had a say.
    Last night an adorable little orange kitten wandered into the yard.  It was followed by it's almost as adorable tabby sibling.  The kids fell instantly in love.  They named them Ginger and Percy Jr.  Almost immediately we heard "Can we keep them?"  Christopher's response was "NO, we are not having any more pets!"  I secretly smiled.  I told the kids we needed to wait to see if they had owners.  We fed them left over hot dogs.
    Christopher made a fire in our fire pit for the kids last night.  They sat around the fire sharing stories, and picking out images from the flames.  They were out for at least an hour.  The whole time they were out, their little kitten friends were with them.  When the kids came in smelling like smoke and summer, they asked again, "Please can we keep the kittens?"  Daddy's response was the same, only he added "Pet's are expensive."  I secretly smiled.  "Let's see if they are still around tomorrow." I told the kids quietly.
    As I lay in bed, I heard rustling outside of my bedroom window.  I turned on the outside light, and carefully cracked open the screen door (we have neighbourhood skunks and raccoons, thus my caution).  Out on the deck, sitting on top of the covered barbecue were Ginger and Percy Jr.  I took them out a hot dog, and not so secretly smiled.  When I woke up this morning I heard that same rustling outside my window.  I opened the door and saw Ginger and Percy Jr.  in their same spots.  I took them out hot dogs.  When they were finished eating they scampered off.  I went back to bed.
    Coffee on the deck is a morning ritual.  It is a rare, but a wonderful treat for Christopher and I to have coffee on the deck alone.  This morning was one of those rare treats.  The weather was perfect, it was warm, but not yet oppressively hot yet.  There was a cool breeze, but not too cool.  The coffee was the perfect combination of sweet, creamy and tart.  In other words, my world was darn near perfect.  We sat there in the quiet with only the birds making any noise.  The silence was soon broken by  a squeaking kitten.  Apparently there are three kittens.  This one was a tabby, but smaller than Percy Jr.  I went into the house for more hot dogs, making a mental note to purchase cat food on my next trip to the store.  This kitten was lively, and squeaky.  I named it Squeaky, Christopher corrected me and told me that "his" name is "Sir Squeaks Alot".  As we drank our coffee Sir Squeaks Alot performed acrobatics for our amusement.  At one point he was juggling a piece of hot dog and lost his footing, and nearly tumbled over the side of the deck, to a roar of laughter from my supposedly pet hating husband.  
    When the kids woke up their first question was "Where are our kittens?".  I assured the kids that "their" kittens had been here in the morning, but had gone off.  They were delighted to discover the their kittens' playful sibling, Sir Sqeaks Alot.  They spent the morning throwing balls for Sir Squeaks Alot to catch.  The girls made him a baby bed.  They are in love.  I can see Christopher's resolve weakening.  He told me earnestly that we can't have three house cats (meaning that two might be o.k.). He then asked if two cats could share a litter box.
    I guess that I will need some kitten supplies.  I knew that Christopher would not see his dream of being pet free.  I figured it would have been a year or so before we were having the discussion.  I'll be honest, these kittens are older than I would have chosen.  I would have chosen younger, fluffier kittens.  The thing is, really we didn't choose them, they chose us.  I will give it another day or so to see if they have a home, but if they are still around tomorrow, it looks like our family just grew.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Ghost Of My Childhood Self


    I am being haunted right now.  The worst thing is that I am being haunted by my childhood self.  That familiar tap on the shoulder from that shy insecure little girl, asking her grown up self "why?"  No matter what I do to take my mind off of it, that little girl keeps tapping my shoulder.  I worked really hard to lay that little girl to rest, but apparently that is not what she wants.
    Growing up I felt invisible.  If you were to ask any of my childhood teachers about me, they would ask if I had been in their class.   I was shy, and quiet (in school) and tried really hard to be invisible.  At recess I was not however invisible to the bullies.  I seemed to have a bully radio collar on.  The only thing that saved me was my cousin Matt.  Matt is two or three weeks older than me.  Matt was my saviour.  Every recess Matt, and his friend Mike would let me play with them (looking back I must have been really irritating just hanging around).  They were my protection.  One recess I ventured out on my own without them and wound up with stitches in my face.  Matt and Mike made sure that person was sorry for what they had done to me.  I'm not sure what made the bullies like me so much.  Maybe it was because I was so shy, or because I so desperately tried to be invisible.
    The torment followed me into high school, although it stopped being physical bullying by around grade 3.  For some reason still unknown to me today I made a perfect target.  I had a little lisp, and that made great fodder for everyone.  I became known as "Sssssistan".  There were other kids at school with much worse lisps than mine, but they were safe, their lisps ignored.  To the taunters I gave a brave face, and acted like I didn't care, but on the inside it ate me alive.  I would go home and quietly go up to my room to cry it out.
    I spent most of my adult years working hard to rebuild that little girl.  I worked hard to wall up the parts that I could not rebuild.  I put it behind me.  I became a mother.  I tried to exercise my demons through my children.   There would be no way that I would ever let that happen to my children (the funny thing is that I don't think I ever told my parents the Hell I was going through, I just kept it to myself).  I worked hard to make sure that my children could not be invisible.  I made sure that they were some of the best dressed kids in school.  I made sure that they stood out, but not in a bad way.  I put extra effort into treats I brought into their class, Damn it, people will remember my kids!
    I have worked really hard to suppress my memories of torment, until that is a couple of weeks ago.  It was the last day of school, and my daughter was receiving an award (actually both girls received an award, but go to different schools).  There in the row of parents was the boy who most made my life hell.  I wanted to spit in his face.  I wanted to shout obscenities at him.  "Who the HELL did he think he was to do that to me?"  "WHY?".   Instead I found a seat, and politely nodded to him.  It brought it all flooding back.  Everything that I had so carefully walled up, was back in the forefront of my mind.
The funny thing is that he was not some great hulk of a kid.  He was unusually small, and exceptionally homely.  He was the one who should have been bullied, and maybe he was.  Maybe I was just his verbal punching bag to make himself feel better.  He not only included the famous "Sssssistan", even though I had long ago conquered the lisp.  We were in the same class in high school.  I can't even remember the name of the class now, I just know that we followed the stock market, it might have been a business class.  At the time my Dad drove an old beat up Gremlin car.  My Dad worked from dawn until dusk.  He worked hard, but we never really had much.  On this particular day my tormentor asked our teacher what a Gremlin would be worth.  He did this with a smug little smile, all the while holding direct eye contact with me.  Our teacher gave a little laugh, not knowing he was participating in a bully job, and said that a gremlin was worthless.  My bully then looked at the kids around him and told them all with a laugh that was what my Dad drove, that was our family car.  I'm not sure how he knew what my Dad drove, I had no idea what his parents drove, for that matter even what his parents looked like.  Another time he was in my math class, and kept harassing me.  It took half the year, but by that point I was sitting with a bunch of really nice, funny guys who just happened to be on the football team.  They liked me, not in a sexual way, in a "they enjoyed my company" way, I fit in.  On this particular day I can't even remember what he was saying to me.  All I remember was that I had finally had my fill.  I looked over at him and said "Sorry, what did you say Bert?  By the way, where's Ernie?"  This caused all of my group to go into hysterics.  "He really does look like Bert!" they all roared.  That was the day I stopped being "Ssssitan", and he became "Bert".  He really did look like bert.  He was small, and had a long oval face, and most importantly an enormous unibrow.  That was the day he stopped bullying me.
    Here's the rotten thing about the past, it is just that... the past.  No matter how hard you try, you cannot change it.  The only thing that you can change is the present and the future.  That is all well and good unless there are things in the past that you would really like to change, or better yet, erase.   I guess that I am just stuck with the ghost of my former self, until she is ready to leave.  Even if I knew why I was bullied, it would not change the fact that I was.  Many of the decisions I made that effect me now as an adult were made because of my past.  They have made me the woman and mother that I am today.  I don't know if that is good or bad, it simply just is.