Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Miss Heard

My daughters are getting to that awkward age where boys are quietly becoming a part of their lives. Although they don't talk directly about their romantic interests, I hear snippets of conversations and know that puberty is happening.

Now, take that parental knowledge and add a suspicious edge. You now have the girls' mother's mindset. I got a second-hand description of a conversation that went on one evening between McMonk and the Warden about one of McMonk's friends (Zach) and his family.

McMonk: Do you like Zack's mom? (which, to the Warden, sounded like "Do you like sex, Mom?")

Warden: Well, I ... that's a difficult question to answer. Honey, why do you ask?

McMonk: Well, I sure don't!

I would have given anything to seen the expression on the Warden's face.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Off To The Fair

Our family has a long tradition of road trips. Road trips are de rigeur for the Collins Family. With Banana and McMonk, I have driven across our nation TWICE, been to Vancouver Island (a 14 hour jaunt, not including the ferry crossing), up to the mountains at least monthly and back and forth between Edmonton and Calgary (a paltry 3 hour trip) more times than I can count. Our trips are always enjoyable and always a bonding opportunity. The girls and I love our chats, be them winding down before bed or trapped together in a metal box, tearing down the highway.

Two years ago, we started a tradition quite by chance. One fall afternoon outside of our favorite record store, we saw a poster that caught the girls' eyes. There was to be a Pop Culture Fair, where you could get t-shirts, music, collectables, and other trendy knick-knacks that was right up their alley.

"Oh, this looks like fun, " McMonk said.

"We should go." Banana said.

"Hmmm, it's being held two weekends from now, in Edmonton." I remarked.

"Oh well," remarked Banana, "that's the end of that."

They both looked pretty sad when they realized that the event was 3 hours away, as my car had just been totalled in an accident. They saw us with no way to get there. I thought it would be a good bonding thing, remembering all the trips we had done in the past and decided right then and there that we could do it - it would just take some arranging.

The weekend of the fair, I got them up early and told them that we were going to go, and not to worry how. They were extatic. We called a cab and took it to the airport. From there, we rented a tiny little car (for all of $38 a day plus gas) and proceeded to drive to Edmonton. We played our music, joked, stopped for lunch, went to the fair (which was good, but not the highlight of the trip), wrote haikus (a different, long story) and had a wonderful, wonderful day.

This weekend, we did a return visit to the same fair. hightlights of the trip included:
  • a dance party at the Millet turnoff by the side of Highway 2

  • stopping for a Tim Horton's fuel-up of sugar and caffiene (me with hot chocolate, the girls with Moccacinos) as our first stop

  • our vegetarian exclaiming, "Mmmm, gravy and chicken" and meaning it

  • Banana saying, "Everything that's important to me is in this car." McMonk and I, thinking it meant us, responded with a heart-warming, "Awwwww." Banana clarified by saying, "I meant my bag of candy."

  • having a Zen-calmness test by getting stuck in traffic for 45 minutes on a detour

  • imitating the Zoolander-dance-and-drive actions as we'd pass other cars on the highway

  • planning our Free-Range Rodent shop that we will someday open beside our Scary Clown Hotel

Making time to uphold traditions is important. It gives us all something to look forward to, look back on and bind us together as a family.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I had a successful experience setting some tiles and grouting in the new downstairs bathroom. Jim, my contractor-turned-instructor gave me the low-down on how to set, grout and sponge the tiles and the result looks great! I am as proud of the skills I have gained as I am of the finished work.

As well as working on the new bathroom, I was also using the basement to do some computer work. As I sat downstairs, I couldn't help but admire the basement in it's 95% complete stage. It's not fully furnished yet, but the family drum set, the guitars and a new-to-us soundboard are all in place and working now. The X-Box and TV have also been set up, leaving me to wonder how I thought a sofa and several bookshelves would all fit. Speaker wires hang from the ceiling, waiting for me to be able to afford a theatre-style sound system. The walls are a comfortable, warm green and the pine flooring completes the cozy and enveloping feel.

After an enthusiastic start to the basement, I hit a major speedbump with my relationship turmoil. It knocked the wind out of my sails with regards to finishing the space and making it habitable. My thoughts were, "Why finish building it if it is only going to be me in the house?" Also there were a lot of emotional ties to the old girlfriend down there. I started working on it while she was a big part of my life. I had intentions of sharing the finished product with her and her kids, and now she was gone. After lots of grieving about lots of other things, I remembered that although I asked her input on the design, she wasn't involved at all in the creation of the space. I was the one who had done the framing (with Jim's help), wiring, drywalling and painting. All that I saw around me when I was down there is my effort, my decisions, my attention to detail.

My basement is a nice place to be. My house is a nice place to be.

When I moved in here, I nicknamed my place The Haven. The work on The Haven is allegorical to the work on my life. In the work that I am doing, I am gaining skill and learning lessons. I realize that I still have much work to do on both, but both are both livable and I am in no hurry for either if them to be finished. I am taking a few days off this week to do some work on my house. As my life moves on, I look forward to creating many great memories of being here.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Yep, I'm doing this again (blogging, that is).

It's about time.


Thanksgiving is my kind of holiday for a number of reasons.
  • First, it is a holiday all about gratitude. One of the messages that I keep reminding myself of is we all need to be grateful for the situation we are in and what (and who) we have around us. I have to work harder sometimes to realize the hidden gem that I'm meant to appreciate, but I can usually locate it after some introspection.

  • My second reason to love this holiday is the food. I am lucky enough to be invited to two, (count 'em) TWO turkey feeds this weekend. I'm a big fan of mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and carrots, warm buns and dessert in whatever form it may come. I'm going to have to ensure exercise is part of the weekend so I don't feel sluggish the day after the dinners.

    We live in a time of abundance, in a place of abundance, and (personally) in a situation of sufficiency. I, like the ants from the well-known fable, am working hard to ensure I'll be comfortable further on in life. Right now, I have enough food, enough company, a little too much space, and way too many interests and options for activities. I definitely have an abundance of experiences, wonderful and harrowing, to draw upon for stories and knowledge. This idea of abundance is most easily celebrated and shared by big meals.

  • Another, tertiary reason for loving this holiday is having an extra day off work, and knowing that I can't do much for errands so fun will be the order of the day. Work has been a mixture of busy and slow, feast and famine. I'm looking forward to some home-focussed time. McMonk and I are together on Monday, so I hope we can find some fun to get into. A crawl along Inglewood might just do the trick.