Hi I am The Edmonton Tourist, and I am a bad Mother

Rocotillo pepper (Capsicum baccatum) is a type...

Rocotillo pepper (Capsicum baccatum) is a type of chile pepper originating in Peru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Apparently I am a bad mom.

 

I am cool with that.

 

I mom sent over some garden treats yesterday. The cherry tomatoes tasted like candy and the tiny red peppers were shiny and beautiful.

 

I popped a red pepper in my mouth thinking they were sweet bell peppers. HA! So wrong. Yes, they were sweet but it did end there. My lips burned for an hour afterwards. These gems will be delish in Fajitas, stir fry or chopped finely and put into pasta. They are lovely, I just wish I knew they were hot.

 

This morning, I was making lunches, ChatterBox was sitting at the counter eating  breakfast. I congratulated her on the terrible job she did cleaning the kitchen after dinner last night. To her credit, she is good at looking sheepish and apologized. She will give it another go tonight after dinner. Enough said, change of topic. I mentioned the peppers her Grandma sent over. I proceeded to rely the story of how hot they were and laughed at myself because of the sheer stupidity of just biting into it KNOWING it was a pepper.

 

In between the story, I would ask lunch questions, “Nectarine?”  She replied, “yes please.” Then the hilarity of events would continue.

 

I placed the nectarine in the pile of food for her lunch when she asked if she could try one now.

 

I opened the fridge and pulled out another nectarine.

 

ChatterBox looked at me like I had two heads.

 

“No, a pepper.”

 

I shrugged and said sure while I passed her the bag of peppers.

 

She pulled out a tiny red shiny bulb and proceeded to pop it into her mouth.

 

“OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD WHY THE HELL DID YOU LET ME DO THAT!!!”

 

I looked at her bewildered because I had told her my experience of the peppers and yet she still wanted to try them.

 

Her rant continued,

 

“WHY do you let me do what ever I want? What kind of mother are you? Other moms tell their children no, but not you! You think its a good idea that I experiment and try new foods. Other moms would say NO. My friend’s mom never lets her do what she wants and is she cocky and arrogant like me? NO SIR! She is nice calm and shy. I, However, am cocky and arrogant because I get to try what ever I want like this pepper that might in fact kill me!”

 

She demanded water and I said milk will work better, but I gave her water because she yelled,

 

“I AM LACTOSE INTOLERANT”

 

I laughed.

 

Whatever…

 

I just kept looking at her, smiling.

 

The ironic part is, I often get lectured about the kind of easy-strict mom I am. I have a dress code my girl must live by, I demand for my children to think in terms of “is that appropriate? Could you share that with your Grandma?” If the answer is no – then they better think twice about doing it.

 

I am not the “my word is law” mom, I am “think for yourself and judge it against your values” mom. Then I become the “suffer your consequences” mom. All of these things circle around actions/consequences. I think it’s the best learning tool on the planet.

 

Mean while, I was still smiling as she left for school with her burning mouth.

 

It’s not like I didn’t warn her.

 

The Birthday Snapshot

The family went to my sister’s home for cake. Her fiance had kindly invited the family, arranged the party. Mom made the cakes. Sister is the cake maker in the family but it is wrong to make your own birthday cake. Not sure why, but it just is.

August 2011 008_crop

My brother, for various reasons is sometimes at family events and sometimes not. He came today. My baby brother who is 43. It was good to see him.

He walked in, said hi to my sister.  Mom said she told him it was her Wedding Day so he felt he should come. He sat down on the steps and we all laughed because we will celebrate her wedding in August.

Then my sister looked at him and said, “You come to my Wedding and you dressed like THAT?”

He had on jeans and a hoodie.

I laughed because no matter how old we get, 45, 43 and 38, we always talk to each other like we are 16, 14 and 8.

It’s great having siblings. I recommend it.

Happy Birthday Sista – Love ya!

geezer

 

Dear Mom: I am now you. Not cool mom, not cool.

It has finally happened.

I have become my mother.

Every daughter has that fear and makes a pact with their sister/best friend/cousin/daughter to inform us of that moment so we can take stalk of our lives and figure out how to correct the anomaly from happening. Unfortunately for me, no one told me. I had to discover this for myself in public. So this is an open letter to my Sister and Daughter.

Dear Sister and ChatterBox,

You suck.

Love Robyn/Mom

Don’t get me wrong, my mom is awesome. She does things that we all tease about and accuse her of being crazy, but I know you do the same to your mom. That is how daughters roll. It is called evolution. Then one day it happens to us. We turn into our mothers. We hear her words in our words, we see her figure in our figure, we notice her OCD tendencies in our OCD tendencies and we realize we married our fathers.

Dear Mom,

Thanks (for nothing!) 

I love you

Love Skichucky

Yes, my parents call me Skichucky. Tease me, I dare you.

One day I was sitting in the car with my mom and sister and mom said something. I can’t recall what it was, but I said to her, “Mom, remember when you said we were to tell you when you started becoming Grandma? Well, it’s happening.”

Mom replied with, “OMG (or something worse, I can’t remember) you are right! I do sound like my mother!!!!!”

She took immediate action to alter her behaviour pattern, every now and then it comes back. I like to think of it as a birthright. It makes me feel better calling it a birthright so stop hassling me already. Your turn is coming, I promise you.

I use to work in the family business. One day my mom came into the office and she was limping.

Me: Mom? OMG Mom what happened???

Mom: What are you talking about?

Me: Mom! You are limping!!

Mom: What???

We looked at her feet and noticed she was wearing two completely different shoes. One Navy and one Black. The Navy shoe had a heel and the Black shoe was a ballerina flat.

Of course she was limping. You try walking in two different heel sizes and see what happens!!

In my infinite wisdom of 34, I said “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM How could you leave the house like that???? I am clearing you appointments and you are staying in the office today unless you are going home to change! GEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE MOM!!!”

Dear Mom,

I am sorry I criticized you and judged you.

Please forgive me.

Love Skichucky

Yesterday I went for a run. I have two different pairs of running shoes. Both are Adidas Gel 4, both have the same lacing configuration, yet each pair is a different colour. I rotate my shoes because I fear plantar fasciitis. I carefully monitor the mileage on my shoes and get new ones when they wear out. I rotate through the shoes (every run) to give each shoe the opportunity to gain the same mileage as the other. They wear out at the same rate and my feet are happy campers.

As of late, I have had a lot on my mind. I have a heavy course load because one of the projects is not pretend it is real life. I am focusing on it and think about it lots because detail will be paramount in the execution of this project. I am excited about it, but it is scary as well. I have not been sleeping well and I think the fatigue from driving home after the race in Calgary is still affecting me. I also have that tumour annoyance in my brain.

Okay…Okay…All of these are excuses.

If I turned on the light in the hallway to grab my shoes this wouldn’t have happened:

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I didn’t notice it until my 5th hill climb. Obviously I don’t look at my feet when I run.

This is what I learned from yesterday’s shoe episode:

  1. If you can’t dress yourself, hire a Lady’s Maid (Downton Abbey taught me that)
  2. If someone asks about the separate shoes, lie and say it is a training technique.
  3. Stay focused on the task at hand. Think about the project while running. That is when you do your best thinking.
  4. Start buying the same colour shoes and label them on the INSIDE
  5. Take a picture and brag about your forgetfulness before anyone can tease you first.

 Dear Mom,

Let’s get matching Lady’s Maids for us.

Then let’s go shoe shopping.

Love Skichucky

This is me and my parents in the good old days when we had it all going on and didn’t need Lady’s Maids

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Birds will be the death of me

Big Bird - Library of Congress, Living Legend ...

Big Bird – One of many muppet birds who don’t scare me like the real things do – not that Big Bird isn’t real, you know what I mean.

I get asked LOTS of questions here at the Edmonton Tourist. Usually they come from the ‘contact me‘ page, people will message me on my facebook page (hey come like me!) or they message me and chat away with me on twitter @edmontontourist. Sometimes I get asked questions directly in the comment section here on this blog or my Me and Mo Running blog. I get invitations to speak at gatherings, events and even summits (hello Canadian Medical Association!). But sometimes someone who I consider a bloggy friend, who morphed into a facebook friend asks me a question that has me stumped.

This is hard for me to take because I brag CONSTANTLY to my children about how I know EVERYTHING. Although now that they are approaching their adulthood – and quickly – they don’t believe me with the same intensity. If fact – sometimes I am called a LIAR. Shocking…but true. They have called me worse, but that might shock my grandma – so let’s just leave it at ‘liar’.

Mark Petruska, or should I say Author Mark Petruska who hails from Portland Vancouver, Washington asked me this:

Does your fear of birds stem from old Hitchcock movies? Scientific documentaries proclaiming that birds are descended from dinosaurs? Mitt Romney throwing Big Bird under the bus? Or is it something else entirely?

 

Hmmm. Good question Mark! I need to think about it.

For as long as I could remember, I feared birds in the “HOLY CRAP I AM GOING TO DIE!” way. Never in the “EWWW THEY ARE ICKY” way. Because Birds are not icky. Rodents are. Birds scare me in ways that I fear a stroke or a heart attack.

But the question remains WHY?

I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds when I was a teen, but I was already REALLY SUPER SCARED of birds by then. I would never pet chicks, never feed chickens, never feed ducks at the pond, and never EVER help grandpa fill his 9 billion bird feeders or paint any of his bird houses because I had no interest in those birds being anywhere near me – EVER.

Then a memory came to me. Then I realized I had REPRESSED this memory. Thinking about it TERRIFIES ME STILL.

I was 6 years old and living in Canada’s Arctic in a town called Yellowknife, North West Territories. Ravens were as bad as mosquitos. I kid you not. They were huge from my point of view and memory – so I looked them up. They are like flying chickens. My mom threatened to cook one for Thanksgiving one year. The problem with Ravens is they are smart. And not your usual “oh look a bird feeder” they are “hey fella’s, look over there, I see a grocery store. Let’s devise a plan to open the door and have a feast!”

I know you don’t believe me.

I remember walk home from school and my friend was eating a snack. The ravens swooped in, pulled my jacket so I was not in reaching distance of her. Another one flapped his wings in her face, while a third took the food out of her hands. It was scary.

Another time I was sitting in the window of our home and I watched two raven hover over a garbage can while a third one took the lid off. Then the other two went in and lifted the garbage bag out – first guy drops the lid and the 3 of them fly off with the garbage bag.

They would tease dogs for fun. I read about a raven working an automatic light and turning it on then wrapping its wings around the light to keep warm. These critters are smart. This was my first close encounter with birds. No wonder I am scared.

I saw a video of a Yellowknifer playing with a Raven. He would stick his finger out, say don’t peck me and of course the Raven would and the Raven would LAUGH! Are you kidding me? THAT BIRD LAUGHED! Fast forward after  you watch the beginning – PROOF!

These birds are far to smart for my liking, they will gesture to their pals, point with their feet, wings and beaks to hatch a hunting plan.

Now, I know they can talk but it isn’t the same as if Big Bird was speaking to me or if Clara and her hen party were singing at my birthday. These birds are normal in my eyes. Ravens have scarred me forever.

So now I need a little Muppet Happiness so I can sleep tonight.

 

Once upon a time there was a little girl who could make babysitters cry…

06443029462bcbe897d59a3467928dc4_answer_6_xlarge10 o’clock at night and my girl is upstairs blasting Time Lord Rock while baking Rose Tyler esc cupcakes for a dear friend and fellow Whovian’s birthday. I have been told that she is quite capable of following the instructions and baking on her own. Agreed.

Then I hear “Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom, can I have your opinion on these cupcakes please? They are giant but liquid in the middle. How long should I put them back in for? And why do they taste like Cherry Cough Syrup?”

Good Question… Ask Grandma.

My mom was a good egg in lots of ways. She always let me listen the radio station of my choice when we were in the car. She didn’t care. Dad on the other hand would say “This stuff is utter crap, I can’t listen to this.” And the station would change to some oldie station playing Peter, Paul and Mary or the Limelighters. This would account for my obscure and amazing talent of knowing every song ever written between 1948 and 1989, this includes jingles and TV theme songs. It’s a handy talent for some great trivia games and for radio quiz shows where I get to win tickets to The Who and The Rolling Stones.

Mom would also encourage me to experiment in the kitchen. I learned the basics from her and my Aunty Mary Poppins, but the fine tuning I did on my own. I dad would eat ANYTHING I put in front of him and he would always say, “That is the best I ever had! Did I make it?” Between both my parents, that made me fearless in the kitchen. I am not a swell cook – but I am an AMAZING baker. There is a difference. I think some people can be great at both but often they are only good at one or the other.

My girl is a self proclaimed distraction in the kitchen. I let her do all kinds of baking and cooking experiments but there is usually some disaster that happens and we need to figure out how to fix it. To be honest, it isn’t always fixable, so we pack it up and give it to her Grandpa (my dad) who will eat ANYTHING and say it’s the best ever.

I remember baking on Friday nights when we had a babysitter because Mom and Dad were off Dancing  – I know…it was the olden days when people went dancing at the club – (as in country club) It sounds fancier than it was, but my parents loved it. We went through babysitters like some people go through socks. My brother and I were THE WORST KIDS EVER – not true  – were only bad if we didn’t like the babysitter. I liked the weak ones. The ones that were nice on the outside but I could make them cry in an instant. One time we had this gal, a neighbor of my grandma, she came over and wanted to play games or watch TV and I would say – no. I am baking cookies.

“Are you allowed to do that?”

Me: NO – are you kidding? Mom is going to kill you. “Yes, my mom lets me all the time.”

“Okay – call me if you need help”

Me: pfffff whatever – “okay”

I went into the pantry and pulled out all the ingredients for Quaker Oatmeal Cookies. The Just Add Water kind of cookie mix that mom would buy and add a billion things to for granola bars. I used an entire package (enough for 1000 cookies) and a gallon of water. I think it said one cup but the measuring cup was really big – I think it was 8 cups. But I filled it because it was still only one cup.

I had made cookie cake. It was liquid porridge. I couldn’t spoon it onto a cookie tray, it would run all over the place. So I left it in the bowl, put all the dirty dishes and baking garbage into the oven and shut the door.

I went to join the babysitter and my brother and said I changed my mind. I didn’t want to bake.

Later while I was fake sleeping, my mother called me into the kitchen.

She had the keen sense of Sherlock Holmes. There wasn’t a dish left out, yet she knew.

“What happened in here tonight?”

Me: I was fake tired and said “What???’ in my sleepy fake voice.

“This kitchen is a disaster!”

Me: What are you talking about? I hid the evidence. I knew I needed to stay silent.

“Were you making cookies?

Me: How does she know this stuff? Silence…………

“Where did you hide the stuff?” She looked around and likely saw a fingerprint on the oven door.

Then I remember the oven door opening and the angry voice lecturing me for what seemed like a week. But thankfully dad came home and sent me to bed.

Now that I am a parent myself, these are the thoughts that run through my head:

  1. Why would the babysitter let an 8 year old bake cookies unsupervised?
  2. Obviously mom saw the flour dust all over everything. What is clean to an 8 year old is not clean to a mom.
  3. Why didn’t my parents just lock us up under the stairs to go out? We tortured babysitters for fun. How we make it out of our childhood alive is beyond me.
  4. I always thought my mom was crazy about cleanliness – I still do.
  5. Why did my parents change babysitters so frequently? Did the girls just say no? I would – but to be fair, I could talk those girls into anything and I think they didn’t expect that from a kid. I was the evil emperor of kids needing supervision. Let’s face it, after every girl in Sherwood Park failed and became brainwashed by my charms, there wasn’t a whole lot for them to do. They became powerless. I would put my sister to bed, I would talk my brother into running away or hiding or really – anything to make the sitter never wanting to come back. I’m sure my parents paid well, but sometimes no job is EVER worth it.

Meanwhile, my daughter just made cupcakes that taste like cough syrup and I am proud like I am raising a little me. Luckily her grandfather lives a block from the school, so when her friends don’t eat the cupcakes – he will.

And the family tradition continues….only the dirty dishes better not be hidden in the stove.

Be Amazing

images (3)I follow  my kid’s school on twitter to get regular updates and happenings going on in and around the campus because here is a surprise, I don’t hear it from him until 35 seconds before I need to do something about it. Like bake for the theatre cast rehearsal.

The thing I like about those tweets is every morning they end with “Go out and be amazing today!”

I like that sentiment.

Last week was a hard week emotionally for me. I took the tragedy in Boston hard. I just found it profoundly sad that innocent people were hurt or killed and the bombers had a sucky social life and blamed Boston. I am not a vindictive person, perhaps it is my Canadian upbringing, but wow – that kid put the gun in his mouth on an apparent suicide attempt and karma still makes him face the consequences. I think about how his life might have been awesome last Monday had he did something different.

I am currently reading Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. The premise is the main character dies, the world goes dark and rewinds to the moment before her death with things changed slightly to prevent the death. It is an interesting concept. I think it will generate great discussion as to what moment could you change to slightly alter your life.

What would I do?

Well, I wouldn’t change anything I did last week. The events made me think about my life a little bit harder. I spent time with friends, I ran 33km, I had lots of mom time with my kids, I had a lovely dinner with the trusty steed, I made plans with dear friends, I spoke up when I felt hurt and did nice things to make others feel good. I was grateful, appreciative and thankful for my life events last week.

Weather was another story – But there was sunshine today! That always makes me smile.

So heading out into the new work week tomorrow, I am going to depart this little life changing tidbit:

Go out there and BE AMAZING this week!

routine-be-amazing

 

Wishes on Stars ALWAYS come true for me

wish-upon-a-starI know a lot of people don’t believe in wishing on stars, people are hopeful, they want to believe but it usually doesn’t work out for them. I have wished twice upon a star. Both times they have come true. That is a 100% wish successful rate. So one would think that if you wished on a star for everything you want, you would be filled with bountiful wishes right? I don’t think it works that way. I think you have to respect the star and respect the wish.

My first wish is turning 17 tomorrow.

17!

My second wish turns 15 in two weeks.

15!

I am thankful my wishes came true in separate pay periods, that was just smart planning on my part. This weekend’s events have me thinking about my birthdays as a teen. I cannot remember my 17th birthday nor do I remember my 15th birthday. Odd. I usually have a very vivid memory of my past. What I do remember are not major events but incidental moments that make up my childhood.

My dad married the girl next door, down the street and around the corner when he was a kid. After 46 years of happily-ish married bliss (lets be honest, 46 years is a long time to be happy every stinking day. It doesn’t happen like that. But my parents ARE great friends and still do TONS of stuff together. Luckily they don’t play old people sports like bridge, lawn bowling or canasta. There is still time for that though…) When I came a long, we lived within walking distance of both my grandparents homes. I was one of those lucky kids who had 2 grandmas, 2 grandpas and a great grandma and a great grandpa. Most of my friends only had one or two, I had the collectors set.

I remember Sunday dinners, sleep-overs, craft days, stages productions, Barbie bliss and general good times at both homes. Eventually we moved away to the Arctic (I know, insert pity party here —>     ) and what I remember most was missing my grandparents. When we moved home, my brother and I were placed on an Airplane and met in Edmonton by my Grandfather. I remember the sense of relief at the age of 6 to be met by that hug. They took me home to their house and the fun times resumed. But I missed my other Grandparents terribly. When I eventually saw them, more fun times ensued.

When we moved back to Edmonton for good (I know…but it is PARADISE compared to the Arctic) I lived a bike ride away from my Grandma. Believe it or not, I was the opinionated kid of the family and often disagreed with the way my parents bestowed RULES upon me. Injustice raged through my veins so I always called my Grandma – she loved me and she would rescue me.

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I would ask if I could sleep over. The answer was always yes. The green chip bowl was always ready with Old Dutch BBQ and Carol Burnett was always brought to you by Kraft. When I wished upon the star many years later, that was part of my wish. For my wish to have the same relationship with their grandparents as  I had with my grandparents.

It mostly came true. The grandparents were only on my side, but they came with extras. One great grandma each and a great grandpa who was EXACTLY like Carl from UP.

up-carl-russell-characters

My grandpa and my son

 

I moved down the street and around the corner so my wishes could visit and run away every chance they got. One wish goes there after school every thursday to hang out. One stops by for milkshakes on a regular basis. There was a suitcase packed and one ran away to grandma once, and many movie and sleepover nights were held. The grandchildren even had their OWN bedroom at Grandma’s house.

So now that my first wish is 17 tomorrow, I asked him how he wanted to spend his birthday. The reply was, “Dinner at (favorite restaurant) and invite Grandma and Grandpa.” No family or friend party? No cake or donuts?

“No, just a really good steak and grandma and grandpa.”

I am living proof that wishes come true. Sure I augmented it by moving close to my parents but what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t at least try to provide the circumstances that enhanced my childhood?

Happy Birthday Wish #1 xoxoxox

Why is International Women’s Day so Important?

International Women's Day (4 of 10)

International Women’s Day (4 of 10) (Photo credit: pdxjmorris)

In case you slept in this morning, let me be the first to share the news: Happy International Women’s Day!

If you are like me, then you must be wondering why we need a day to celebrate women. I gave this some serious thought.

I realize it was only 100 years ago that women (in western cultures) were not considered people under the law.

I realize that in my lifetime women’s professions went from housewife, nurse, teacher – to anything you want to be – ANYTHING.

I realize that equal pay for equal work is still not happening in many parts of North America – not to mention my city.

I realize that many women are still expected (and do) the bulk of the home stuff, cook, clean, raise kids, make the decisions, work full time and in many cases go to school as well. Although this is mostly a generational thing. It takes a long time to change attitudes.

I realize that many women have been prosecuted for their beliefs and strive hard for the opportunity to have what I take for granted.

I realize that women in other countries are still oppressed and do not get the choice of free will because they are still considered property.

I realized all of this last night when my 15 year old daughter came down to my office to talk to me about her days events. She has been visiting different schools around the city trying to make the right choice for her. I am the one who told her to look at the schools with an open mind and evaluate them on a set of criteria that she has created in her mind.

Now that she has visited the short-listed schools, last night was the time to decide.

Her list of must have for a school were the following:

  1. Excellent Music Program
  2. Great-excellent Drama Program
  3. Opportunities to try new things
  4. AP Math
  5. AP English
  6. An atmosphere where you feel welcome and a part of something bigger that can actually make a difference.

The first school she visited during the week actually offended her. She was angry by the time we had left. There were no welcoming gestures from staff or students and she had a sense that she would be alone yet working along side people rather than in a team atmosphere.

The second school had a great drama department and was welcoming but it didn’t feel to her there were the well rounded opportunities she was hoping for. She talked extensively to teachers and other students and thought – maybe. The location was great and many of her friends had decided this was the place for them, but she wasn’t sold.

After last night’s visit to the last school on the list, she sat down at my desk and looked at me like she was very concerned. I asked her to tell me her thoughts. Her first concern was finding the time to do all the things she wanted to at this school. She was quite sure she couldn’t be on the Cheer Squad AND drama and music. There was no time for guitar class if she was taking photography. The opportunity for learning (yet another instrument – she plays keyboard, guitar, percussion and ukulele) was available if she took Jazz Band. She expressed the desire to play the upright Base. That was 3 separate music classes plus all the other classes she wanted to take. Not to mention the AP courses for core classes. Then there was the different sciences she is interest in like forensic, bio and chem. SHe loved the way the students told her the school wasn’t full of cliques and everyone intermingled and was supportive of each other.

I looked at her and thought she has decided which school she is going to. Then I thought about her grandma’s options and realized this is why we celebrate International Woman’s day.

The achievements from past women are significant – not because of lack of intelligence, but because of opportunity. It does not occur to my daughter that she is not capable of doing any of these activities. It does not occur to her that she wouldn’t be permitted on the basis of gender. She becomes indignant when she hears no on the basis that she is a girl and will argue with intelligent information to make her point. She does realize time is a factor and the ability to keep her marks up are important to HER. Her plans for the future are huge and she doesn’t want to limit her options.

She has OPTIONS. She has more options than I had. More importantly, she has more options than I was aware of.

I’d like to take a moment to thank all the women of the past who forged a path so significant, they changed my daughters world. I am eternally grateful and I can only imagine the good things ahead for future generations.

I am Judging a Book by it’s cover for the first time and it isn’t pretty!

Do you judge a book by it’s cover? I want to say no, but then THIS happened:

annecover

 

Who is the Blondie in plaid? The last time I read Anne of Green Gables I was 42 (for the record that is 3 years ago). I have read this book on a consistent basis for about 37 years. The funny thing is, Anne Shirley – the main character, the ANNE of Green Gables – was a red-head the first time I read it and EVERY SINGLE TIME SINCE. Well, once she met a peddle on the road and promised her the dye would turn her hair a beautiful Raven Black – but it turned green…but Marilla cut the green bits off and it was good again.

There is a long tradition of Anne of Green Gables in my family. My Great Grandmother lived on Prince Edward Island and made sure all the girls in her family had the first 3 books to read. Being a teacher, reading was important to her, reading about the Island also important and being a smart girl was the most important quality any female could posses. In keeping with the tradition, I gave a copy to my daughter and told her it was an old book, but the character was just like her. She would make you laugh and you will be amazed at the crazy stuff she gets involved with, yet she is the smartest girl in any book ever written about a 12-year-old without magic.

The 100 year anniversary9780670067800 edition came out in 2008 and it was a traditional type cover.

 

But Seriously….Who was the brains behind this fiasco?

 

This is how I imagine the marketing meeting went. Imagine a board meeting in some Urban Publishing Setting with Suits (men) who have never read this classic Canadian Tale.

Big Wig: Minion, tell me the new projects on the table for this month.

Minion: Well, Our best selling classic book Anne of Green Gables had it’s 100 Anniversary in 2008 and that launch was a huge success, but since then we feel the numbers should be stronger but we found they have actually tapered off. We propose a revamp of the cover. Re-market it as a package for this new hip generation.

Big Wig: I like it! Show me what you have.

Minion: Nothing says sexy like a Blonde in Plaid on a hay stack. Guys love that.

Big Wig: Who is our target audience?

Minion: Teen girls who buy sexy magazines and duck face themselves in club washrooms across the nations. Girls who appear on ‘Girls gone Wild Spring Break’ and girls who are looking to attract that special someone. This new cover will be perfect.

Big Wig: Tell me what this book is about.

Minion: Well sir, this book is about a hot a girl who is very popular and gets all the boys.

Big Wig: Then this cover would be perfect, but why the plaid? It feels a little Daisy Duke to me.

Minion: Well Sir, it takes place in Canada. They all wear plaid in Canada.

Big Wig: Are you sure Minion?

Minion: Yes sir, I went to EPCOT in Florida  to the Canada Pavilion last year with the wife and kids. The Canadians all wore plaid sir.

Big Wig: Nice research Minion. Start printing right away, I want them out for Valentines day.

Minion: Consider it done.

Well the book came out and you should have heard the rant from my ChatterBox.

“Why is the new cover of the Anne of Green Gables a sexy blonde in plaid? Anne is a self conscious red head 12 year old with freckles and a pointy nose. Anne was NORMAL and now they have ruined it! What is wrong with the plain old hand bound books? with solid colour covers. If they rewrote the book from Josie Pye perspective then perhaps it might work but the book is called ANNE OF GREEN GABLES! ANNE OF GREEN GABLES IS A 12 YEAR OLD GIRL! 12 YEAR OLD GIRLS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE SEXY BECAUSE THAT IS CALLED PEDOPHILIA.  18 IS WHEN YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BE SEXY BECAUSE THEN YOU DON’T ATTRACT PEDOPHILES. WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING?”

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Did I happen to mention how proud I am of my girl? I should have name her Anne but I named her to honor my Great Grandmother. I promised I would never name her Agnes or Christina, instead I named her for my gram’s mother. It was the best I could do. I raised a smart girl just like my Gram hoped I would. Thankfully I still have the books that she gave me, and I passed them down so the tradition can continue.

Miss you Gram.

Tell me how well do you know Anne? 

 

15th Anniversary of the beginning of Harry? I suddenly feel very old and melancholy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

15 years ago the J.K. Rowling released the first of her epic series of Harry Potter Books. I know the first one as Harry and the Philosopher’s Stone, the Americans know it to be the Sorcerer’s Stone. Why? I don’t know, something to do with it being more marketable in the USA. I HATE it when they do that to books.Publishers did it with The Book of Negroes in the rest of the world and Someone knows my Name in the USA. Anyways…

I became a Harry Potter fan by accident. I needed to find a story book to engage my young son in so he would want to become a reader. Books that girls would like to read seemed easier to find. I picked up this book in the Scholastic Book Club Flyer and decided it would be the bed-time story for the next few weeks. By the time we had caught up on the series, we were waiting for The Goblet of Fire to come out. We dressed up and went to the book launch at the local book store, picked up the book and went home. I read the first chapter to him for bed-time as was our usual routine. I then took the book to MY room and finished reading by 4:00 AM. This became a trend for me. Taking the book and reading it in one go, then preceding to read it my son.

By the time we had reached the (near) end of the series, my son was reading novels on his own. He preferred adventure stories but would never read Harry Potter on his own, that was reserved for me. He would watch me read the book through with tears rolling down my face, or so caught up in adventure I couldn’t hear what was going on around me. The advantage to reading first was I knew when a good time to stop the book for the night. Chapters aren’t always a good break in the story.

Rowling isn’t the worlds greatest literary author, but who cares. She made children readers because they finally understood that a book can transport you away to another time and place and lets you spend time with characters who might resemble you and your friends. Better yet, they might show flaws that make you feel normal. I knew Harry had an impact on my son when, as a 16 year old, he came home from a School Trip to California sporting a wand, 11 inches long, made of holly and had a phoenix feather core. It made me smile. The movies were fine, but both of us agree the books had that extra detail that became important to the characters and their lives.

They were important to me, because it gave me some extra cuddle time past the age when your mom reading to you at bed-time was not so cool. Those books were important to him too and set the stage for the future us to discuss books, movies and other geeky things we both find so fascinating. Even now, both my kids like it when I read to them occasionally  I take advantage of every second because these times are growing few and far between. One day it will be me and my grandkids cuddling up to read new adventures.

I’ll leave Harry Potter for the future grandkid’s dad to share with them because that needs to be a special time between a parent and child to let the tradition continue.