Mary Poppins and 365 Days of Fun

mary poppinsI have talked about this many times before, and I am going to talk about it again because I can.

This morning I was talking to my dad on the phone. We were conspiring about my mom’s Christmas gift and when we finished the conversation my dad said, “Thank you Sweetheart!” 46 years old and my Daddy calls me sweetheart and baby still.

And I like it.

After we hung up, my memory took me back for a flash of Dad helping me get my winter coat on so we could go see Mary Poppins at the movie house in Yellowknife, NWT (for the uninitiated, that is in Canada’s Arctic).

Things I remember about that day include singing the songs from the movie, walking past the town’s only parking meter, sitting in the damp movie theatre beside my Dad and my brother and visualizing myself as Mary Poppins.

My dad didn’t take me to as many movies as my mom did. But he did come with us to the “last day of school’ movies. We saw Superman, Goonies, Indiana Jones, Silverado, The Right Stuff, and countless other action/adventure movies with my dad and mom. I am not sure, but in my memory Mary Poppins was our first “last day of school” movie. I was in grade 1 and my dad finished his very first year of teaching. He was the local grad 5 teachers, so we had plenty to celebrate. AND we were driving from Yellowknife to Disneyland later that summer. For the record the drive is 4302 km. With me 6, my ADHD brother 4, and my aunt 12, in the back seat.

We saw a lot of cool and interesting things that summer but what stuck with me were two things:

1. Sitting on Main Street Watching the Electrical Parade right in front of the emporium. My mom came out of the shop with what are now ‘vintage’ Mickey Mouse Sweatshirts – but at the time they were ‘new’.

2. Memories of the Mary Poppins movie.

We sang every song a million times on our drive to Disneyland. Singing in the car was always a huge pastime.  I suspect it is why I know the lyrics to every song written before 1990.

Everything about that summer was magic for me. From visiting my Grandma in Sherwood Park before leaving to Disneyland – to driving through a giant redwood tree that was on the way.

This Friday is the “last day of School” celebration for Christmas. Saving Mr. Banks is on the menu for me. I am dragging my family to it because of the significance of Walt Disney and Mary Poppins in my life and because it was so important to me, my kids know everything about it and have become massive Disney fans in their own right.

I love walking around Disneyland tell stories of the place of when I was a kid. Showing them where Skull Rock was located, telling stories of the Short Cut to Space Mountain before it became a backstage area – or maybe it was then but my brother and I went that way anyways to be first in line. Then my children ask me to tell them stories of their first visit, like when The Boy whispered secrets into Pooh Bear’s ear or when Chatterbox wore the Mickey Ears that caused seizers from the constant flashing. We have been enough times to have a million memories of our own.

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Just the way I like it.

But I also value the memories of Dad singing Bert’s part and my singing Mary’s part.

I can’t wait for Friday…and Christmas because I asked for the 50th Anniversary Mary Poppins edition.

My days have been loaded with fun and anticipation. This 365 Days of Awesome has been awesome so far.

 

Late to the Party…again

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Why am I always late to the party? And by party I mean Mad Men.  I am currently binge watching this series. It fascinates me. As one of those kids who were born in the 60′s I watch this show and look at the mothers, fathers and society and think “wow, that sure explains my childhood”.

I am one of those moms who loves her children fiercely, wanted to be the one who raised them so made huge sacrifices to be a stay at home mom. At the time, I thought I was sacrificing things. Hindsight is an amazing thing. This is not true, We survived just fine without ‘things’. What I sacrificed in many ways was me. The intellectual me. The self-esteem me. The me who did things a certain way to get through the day and now it is an expectation of those around me to keep it up. HA…that’s not going so well. I created monsters and now am trying to undo all those things – like dinner ready at 5, like ultra planned events, like parties where details are lovely.

I pretty much have unzipped that persona and stepped into the new me where I am usually still studying at 5, food is fuel – you don’t see dinner? Make it yourself – you are capable because I taught you. Parties? How about we meet at a restaurant? That way I don’t have to care about what my house looks like. I have pretty much become a man of the 60′s. I would love a 60′s house wife…but who wouldn’t?

I had a grandmother who had 5 children. She did house work and cooked but always changed into a nice dress and but on makeup before my grandfather came home. She said he worked hard and it was the woman’s job to pamper the man and to put herself together and look nice for him. Dinner’s ready, wife is cute, children are sparkling… wow.

This is not something I ever did. Should I have? Would it have made a difference?

Did the man actually appreciate what the woman did? Not sure. It isn’t like that on Mad Men. It is an expectation. It was an expectation of my grandfather too. My father just expected food and quiet. At the end of his day, he needed 30 minutes of solitude before dinner. I soooooo understand that. He never cooked, actually, the time my mom was in the hospital, he did cook. Once. I then took over cooking duties. How can you expect someone to do something well if they had never been taught? Or had time to practice? You can’t…or shouldn’t…. just teach them. Now that dad is retired he is starting to learn, but mom still makes all the meals and looks after him that way. I suspect it has more to do with her feelings for him then it being an obligation because I learned about feminism from my mom. Besides, my mom really and truly loves to cook.

Not me.

I HATE COOKING. I hate being a restaurant. I detest cooking meat.

I fail as a housewife of the 60′s.

I am cool with that.

But what I didn’t anticipate is how I feel about the men of the 60′s.

I like their assertiveness. I like their vulnerability. They were the providers and it was stressful. That isn’t an expectation anymore, it is a shared burden. As difficult as it is for men now, I think it might have been harder for them in the 60′s. Aside from the condescending attitudes towards women, I really think bearing the brunt of all financial matters was a tough position to be in.

So I watch Mad Men with a keen sense of nostalgia and it has my childhood making perfect sense…the the 70′s came along and ruined everything from weird attitudes to fashion. The 70′s and 80′s were just wrong.

Do I wish I was an adult in the 60′s? No…I prefer the hierarchy of today.

However, the fashion was kick-ass…I miss that kind of swanky luxury.download

Musings of the Tourist

Do you even remember me?

I have a new blog, new look, new attitude   scratch that, same attitude. I still look at things with humor. I find things odd and I have become less tolerant of immature behavior.  I chalk it up to being old -ish.  I have figured out a lot of things and now I am ready to just be. I am celebrating the butterfly stage. For those of you wanting more detail, head over to the About ME page, it’s all there. Meanwhile, I am forging new ground for myself and calling it Musings of The Edmonton Tourist.

I spent my summer thinking…I should blog about that – but I didn’t have the forum. I knew I would come back to the bloggoshere, eventually. Let’s get started shall we? We have to catch up!

This summer I started a new project with a friend of mine that I will announce in January. It is pretty exciting and takes up a lot of my time. It makes me crazy and it makes me laugh. I am inspired by it and I wish it was a paying job. Meanwhile, I love spending all my spare time on it. Curious? HA! wait for it. It will blow your mind.

Then I did the usual things like run races, go to festivals, hang out with friends and read. Wait a tic…I didn’t read much.  I quit book club because I need more time to read books I want to read. I just don’t have all the time in the world lately – did I ever? But the moment that sticks out in my mind was  my sister’s wedding. It was a beautiful affair in her backyard with just family. My brother, of course was there.

When I say of course, that isn’t a given. You may expect my brother to show up for these events but circumstances are such that he may or may not make it. He requires lots of reminders, as does my sister. I am known as the family calendar. I am suppose to remind everyone of these major events. But this past year has me forgetting everything. Clearly we have now all reached that age of forgetfulness.

I arrived at my sister’s wedding decked out in my new fabulous red shoes and Teal Dress that is – 7 sizes smaller than I would have previously bought. I know 7 SIZES SMALLER!! The back yard was filled with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head decorations, Hot Wheels as a cake topper and charming black and white photos of the Bride and Groom and their family. Hmm, when I put it that way is sounds redneck, but honestly it was fabulous and charming! The Ice Cream Truck drove by and the Bride and Groom ran to get ice cream, the even got their picture taken in the back of the ice cream truck. Cute and adorable!

I was hanging out visiting with all the people I love in the back yard and my brother came to join the conversation. He will always be Mikey to me. My baby brother 1.5 years younger than myself. My partner in crime and my bench mark for when my kids do bad stuff. I say to myself, “Did Mickey and I do that? Is it worse than anything we had ever done? No? My kids are then ANGELS.” It’s true, Mikey and I were HELLIONS in a big way. From having campfires under the bed to skipping school for an entire week when we were in Grade 5 and 3, we were bad, but we have great stories for our kids!

So Mikey comes up to me and says,

M: “Hey, I called you to wish you a happy birthday!”

Me: When?

M: Yesterday, wasn’t yesterday your birthday?

Me: Yes, Awww Thanks Mikey I don’t think you ever called me before!

M: Well, I was really calling because I needed help updating my Apple TV

Me: Oh… gee thanks

M: Well, I CALLED! How come you didn’t call me back?

Me: Did you leave a message?

M: No I hung up.

Me: Then how was I to know you called?

M: You don’t have fink phone?

Me: Only for numbers in my phone, I don’t have yours because you never answer the phone, so whats the point?

M: True, but you still should have called me back.

Now if you can see the logic in that, I will introduce you to my brother, I am sure you will get along famously.

Goodbye, Farewell, The End

In one month it will be the second anniversary of the Edmonton Tourist Project ( I woke up this morning and realized it is the third anniversary! WOW 3 years!).

I can no longer recognize the girl I use to be.

I began this site as a way to help me become accountable, take risks, heal the hurt and become the person I dreamed I could. I learned the difference between goals and dreams. A goal is a way to realize your dreams and wishes. I have learned the secret to goal achievement and it is satisfying in ways I never thought possible.

I will graduate in December. WOW. I once never dreamed I was smart enough for University. Now I find it mundane and limiting in my learning. Looking forward to having letters after my name. It automatically gets people’s attention when the reality is, I was just as smart before, but now I know how to put it all together. That is progress.

I say yes more often to try things and no more often when I have taken on too much or just really don’t want to do something.

I have traveled solo and figured out where I begin and my family ends. This was also important for me. I needed to learn boundaries.

I have learned and practice great nutrition. I have lost nearly 95lbs in two years. I have  another 90lbs to go, BUT it has become habit. Great food choices made of REAL food have taught me to listen to my body. I know what it needs and when it needs it. Eating gratuitous sugar because it is someones birthday is rarely worth the calories. It has to be OUTSTANDING before I will spend calories on sugar laden food because there are consequences to those actions. I either eat less, work out more or gain some temporary weight. Neither of those options are awesome. So I choose carefully.

I have learned that loving someone doesn’t mean it has to be a married relationship or a parental one. I love my girlfriends, fella friends, and family with a fierce intensity that I didn’t know existed within me. This has given me permission to spend time with those people and the ones I just like…get less time or none because my time is limited and valuable. It doesn’t mean you are not valuable it just means I am prioritising my life. I come first, then family, then friends, then school, then work. Work is last because it is a means to a lifestyle. However, it made the list so you can be sure work is filled with passion. If it isn’t on the list, it lacks passion. Without passion, I have no desire to put in an effort. That was my problem before the project. I had my priorities mixed up. I need to nurture me so I can nurture my passions.

That makes it simple.

I place me first for the reason listed above, however, I didn’t put into what ME means:

I have learned I am a social introvert. I like socializing but not all the time. Please don’t drop in on me, call first. There is a list of people who are welcome to drop in and that list includes my mom, dad, sister, my best friend and George Clooney. Call first or I get cranky.

I need to include fitness in my life for lots of reasons, but the big one is if I have to face surgery for my brain tumour, then I want to be as fit and healthy as possible. Death does not scare me, but my children still need their mommy for the time being and I intend to be there as they need me. Being THE MOM is a responsibility that I do believe I was created for. I take it seriously and approach it with humor and humility. I have raised amazing humans and can’t wait to see how they shape their future.

I need to read. I need to continue learning and I need to sit in stillness and reflect. This is what defines me. Include fitness in there and those things need to be done alone for me. That is my recharge time. People exhaust me, I love them but I need that space away – and often, like everyday.

I need to set goals to reach new dreams. Goal setting and dream achieving is simply amazeballs.

So does this means I am fixed and no longer need the Edmonton Tourist Project? Well?

I have been think about that a lot while I run. Running has become my focus and passion lately. Writing is my creative outlet. I am writing 2 books right now. They tumble out of me like movies. That leaves me with nothing left to say on the Edmonton Tourist Project. While my growth continues, I no longer feel blogging about it is the right platform.

That must mean this is the end.

I am so incredibly grateful to those of you who have supported me all the way along. I have met incredible bloggy friends along the way, some turned into real life friends, some have drifted away and others have died. This tells me that endings do not have to be bad. Happy endings are lovely too.

Is my blogging career over? NO WAY! I am devoting my writing over at my health and fitness blog called Me and MO. Mo is short for momentum. You can find it HERE or http://justmeandmo.wordpress.com/  It is the same me who looks at life slightly skewed with humor in her brain and wit on the tongue.

I get it if all that running and nutrition talk isn’t for you. I do understand that. It isn’t for everybody. For now it is where I need to be.

Soon I will close this site, revamp it and change it into something different. But I am taking the summer off.

This feels right. It is time to say goodbye to old me and embrace the me I really am. It kind of feels like the final episode of M*A*S*H* and I feel like BJ. Not wanting to say it but needing to.

Keep in touch friends.

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Lesson’s my Dad taught me: Happy Father’s Day

I was one of those lucky kids.

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You know the kind, I had a dad who would play with me. As a teacher I could always spot the kids who had a great relationship with their father, they would talk about him and tell stories or behave in such a way that reflected the good times they had together. I was one of those kids.

I learned plenty of great things and was fortunate enough to be scarred for life because of my Dad, so I decided I need to have a Dad Tribute today on my Dad’s 45th Father’s Day Milestone.

Things My Dad Taught Me by the Edmonton Tourist

  1. To love Superheroes: Sure my Dad is a Superman fan, and I think that is sad and pathetic because he is the WORST SUPERHERO EVER. But I was encouraged to be my own superhero. I was Danger Girl. I had my own cape and my own super powers. I stored lightning bolts in my chest and could throw them at a moments notice. I learned that I had my own inner power to conquer all things difficult. I just needed to put my mind to it and work for it.
  2. It never hurts to be kind: I was taught the kindness, manners and respect was a common courtesy that everyone should enjoy. This didn’t mean you had to like the people, but you had to be polite. It makes the world a better place. I’ve witnessed it.
  3. Appreciate other’s strengths: Life is too short to harbour jealousy. Everyone has a talent that should be celebrated. Embrace each other’s talent and be thankful they are good that things you are not. Work together and be a team, more can get done that way.
  4. Be a Reader: The fact that my Dad was an English Teacher is the reason I am a reader. Sure he would give me books and then talk to me about them, but that was because reading for pure joy will take you places you can never imagine. There is nothing more delightful than being so caught up in a book you think about the characters and places long after the book is over. Reading great novels has made me smarter through understanding, questioning and researching further to gain a greater understand of the events.
  5. Travel: I have been all over the world the seen things that only a handful of people have had the privilege to see. Dreams came true on holidays with my parents. I saw the Bird Lady feed the pigeons on the Steps of St. Paul, I’ve stood at the base of Vimy Ridge and felt the whispers of Canadian boys who died there so that I may live the life I have today, I learned how locks and channels work on a rare sunny evening in Amsterdam and learned about laughing until your sides hurt and tears spring from your eyes because being silly is way more fun on vacation than being serious.

Of course my dad has taught me many more life lessons, I just appreciate these ones the most and have taught my children the same life lessons.

The biggest and best lesson I learned from my Dad, is don’t take yourself to serious and laugh at yourself more often. Think about it, you are hilarious. Embrace it.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy! Love you! xxx

Me and Dadeo at the finish

Me and Dadeo at the finish

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.

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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!

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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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Been there, done that and got a t-shirt and medal to prove it

Good News! I ran a personal best in Calgary! And can I just say, Calgary knows how to put on a party. They are really good at it. I knew this from their Stampeders coming up to Edmonton for various events and putting on a pancake breakfast. These people take food, music and fun to a whole new level. Not only that, but their Calgary Race Marathon organizers shame Edmonton by a mile. The City knew there was a marathon and came out to cheer in a big way – big for Canada. When the half the city is running, and the other half is cheering it sounds like a massive people event, but the population is small compared to the Marathon Majors like Boston, London, New York, Berlin, Tokyo and Chicago. But still! I didn’t run very far without a band/DJ/people cheering me on. The best part was running past a group of preschool dancers dressed as butterflies showing me their moves and suggesting I give it try. HA! Oh honey, I couldn’t do that when I was your age, please don’t ask me an hour into running to do that. But I shook what my mama gave me, high fived them and kept going.

Only in Canada when the Temperature is 8C is there a guy on the course with sponges trying to soak you. You see the sun was out and therefore that equals summer. So if the sun is shining that and it is almost June, that means WATER FIGHT! I was drenched. BUT, it was fun.

That was the biggest thing I took away from this race – it was fun.

If you wish to read about my race and more about the Calgary Marathon Weekend, please visit my running and health blog Just Me and Mo by clicking HERE.

Saturday Morning My Boy and I went to pick up Dadeo at his home – 2 blocks from mine. From there we drove in the pouring rain to Calgary – 3 hours away. My Dad is a pretty funny guy – especially when he plays the Cranky Grandpa. He was logically complaining about things in such a way that we laughed a whole lot this weekend. I did learn that if it wasn’t for my mom, I would have grown up in Wales. Why you ask? Well, on a vacation my mom had a nap in the Caravan. She left dad with instructions to stay on the road we were on until we got to London – we needed to catch a flight home. Mom slept and dad drove to Wales. He just randomly follows people thinking they know where they are going. True – they do know where they are going but it is rarely where WE NEEDED to go.

Dad freely admitted that a map to him is a bunch of squiggly lines that mean nothing. So when I printed off the instructions for the boy to navigate to Stampede Park, we arrived exactly where we expected to. Dad was amazed. From there I just drove without mapping assistance. I studied the map before I left and knew where I needed to be, so I drove there. This also amazed him. It was nice for Dad to just sit back and relax while I drove and he didn’t have to worry about anything. However, I must admit, I was tired driving home 3 hours after running for 1:47:01 hours. I felt good but I was stiff. That sucked. I am thinking about Running the Calgary 50th Marathon Anniversary next year (half marathon 21.1km) because if their regular party is awesome, I can only imagine what their milestone party will be like!

This weekend was a celebration of my dad’s 65 birthday and me running in my first official race. I achieved my personal best, although I need to work on refueling and running at the same time. I just can’t. I am not coordinated enough. Or perhaps it has to do with the Grandma’s and moms in my life who constantly reinforced “DO NOT RUN WHILE YOU ARE EATING!! YOU WILL CHOKE!” So consequently, I have to slow WAY down to get gel and water into me. I also can’t bring myself to throw the paper cups on the ground. Sure  I know there are volunteers who sweep them up. But to it is WRONG to just litter like that, I just can’t do it! So I stop and work my way to the trash can. This is my downfall. It was these moments that slowed my pace from an 10:15 – 10:30 pace WAY down to 11:40 – full stop. I am pretty sure I am not competitive enough to throw garbage on the ground or have my mom worried about me choking while I run and eat so…I guess I need to step up the regular pace so my refuel pace can stay slow.

After the race when I was running into the shoot, fist pumped my way over the finish line and received my medal, I heard my ChatterBox’s voice calling me. I thought it was weird and must not be her because she was in Edmonton with her dad. But I was in the shock of my life when I saw her at the finish area! My Trusty Steed and her got up at 4 to drive to the finish line and surprised me with this:

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It is 30″ long. I have 3 medals. Good thing I am a medal whore because I need to get out there and earn more so I can fill this puppy up! I am not sure where to hang it. It is WAY bigger than I figure it would be so the space I had allocated for a medal hanger won’t work. It meant a lot to me for my family to be there at the finish line. It was a great day.

On the way home my dad said to me he was officially retiring from racing, but when I turn 65 I have to promise to run at least a 10k on my birthday.

Absolutely Dadeo, but only if you are at the finish line.

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