Vacation Stop Ends But I’m Still On Vacation

The newspaper is being delivered to my door again.  I put the longest vacation stop on it that they’d allow (even though I’m not on a REAL vacation, just an extended pretend one living alone with nobody to care about but myself), and already it’s back, and already today I’ve spent too much time flipping through it.  Practicing my sneery face of disdain because there’s never anything worth reading in there.

Except for these two things.  Yes, TWO!  I couldn’t believe it either.

Calgary’s Twitter sensation Kelly Oxford woos Hollywood

It’s not the actual article I read because I get the Edmonton Journal which reprinted theirs from the Los Angeles Times.  I think the Calgary Herald,  being closest to home should be the best source for this feel-good story.  Anyway, the facts appear to be the same.  So all of you young moms out there writing about your life experiences, take heart!  You have a huge audience that genuinely wants to hear what you have to say.  Even if it ultimately ends up being only your grown up kids who read it, searching your blog trying to pinpoint when exactly it was that you lost your sanity.

The other article in the “Arts and Life” section (stuck in amongst the Disasters and Death and Sports pages letting us know that there are idiots out there still playing hockey even though it’s nearly July)  was a picture of the reunited Beach Boys to feature their album “That’s Why God Made the Radio”.  They will be performing at the Calgary Saddledome on July 11th.  Why is Calgary having all the fun?

Those guys are OLD (-er than me, even.)  This is their first new material in 20 years.

They are still very sharp dressers.

Reliving the glory days. Good for them.

The Last Supper

What I seriously needed on my last night in Ontario was a trip to Lord Elgin’s restaurant for all you can eat fish and chips.  I hope you can imagine how high my eyes are rolling.  Not that their fish isn’t absolutely delicious, but I’ve eaten enough food in the past two weeks to feed a small country.  But they really do have the best halibut EVER and they encourage you to eat lots of it.  So it’s only polite to oblige.

It’s been incredibly hot all day but the wind has been blowing a gale.  There have also been power outages on and off all afternoon.  After dinner we went on a tour of the countryside.  It’s quite amazing how many wind turbines there are now in North Bruce.  It’s definitely not the landscape of my childhood.  Hard not to get mixed up in all the controversy surrounding their construction and operation.  I wonder if people made such a fuss when power lines were being put up everywhere.

It’s still a beautiful area and it’s interesting to see how things have changed.  Of course there are some things that seem to never change too.  We drove by the farm where we grew up, the little red school house that’s been converted into a home, and along country roads that used to be gravel and are now paved with brand new houses in the strangest (to me, anyway) places.

My sister and I were able to go through boxes and scrapbooks and photo albums yesterday and today, and I have gleaned a whole bunch of treasures from things that were moms.  I’m sorry my sisters house has been the storage place for everything and it does seem a bit incredible that the process of sorting it all has taken such a long time.  Some things have been too hard to throw away until now.

One last lunch with my brother tomorrow in London and then I’m heading home.  If there’s snow in Edmonton I’d rather not know about it until the last possible minute.  I’ve decided against wearing flip flops though, just in case.

Life Is Too Short To Be Anything But Happy

I copied this from someone on facebook.  I think I used it as a status update once.  Still think it’s worth repeating.  Pretty much like everything else I’ve said more than once but at least this one I actually remember having shared before.

We had our week late Easter dinner with eleven out of a possible 15 people present and accounted for.  Today was a very successful day for surrounding myself with people who make me laugh.  I think my brother is an inspiration to us all having been the latest one to fall down and get back up.

He also makes a wickedly good red wine!  Although he confesses it doesn’t always turn out the way he expects it to.  He was able to take a couple of empty bottles home tonight and I certainly didn’t see anyone dumping it down the sink.

Ever noticed how, when you’re having a REALLY good time, nobody remembers to take pictures?  I’m playing Words with my oldest grandson so it’s not like I didn’t have my phone with me (except when I had to recharge it and eat and pour more wine.)  I’d like to say I also helped with the clean up and the dishes but I won’t because I didn’t.  The kitchen was way too crowded.  And then people were going home and it was too late for photos AGAIN.  I would make a pathetic historian.

Now it’s late and I’m tired and I think sleeping in is the next thing on the agenda.  Only two days left before I head back home.  Time flies.

My Tax Return is Filed!

Electronically!  Via Turbo Tax!  What a stupid name.  Nothing irritates me more or puts me in worse humor than having to complete my income taxes every spring.  Usually I put it off until the end of April (because why should the government get my money before I’m good and ready to part with it) and spend about 60 days (prior to actually sitting down and figuring it out)  dithering and stewing and brooding about it.

Today I got it done.  And yes, I think I do deserve huge rewards and medals and commendations.  Or at the very least some words of praise.  Which I will no doubt have to think up for myself because no one else really cares, except maybe the revenue people, and they only pay attention if you DON’T get it done. This year I’m finished with it a month early because I’m going away and I didn’t want all that anguish to accompany me on my holiday.  So now I have over thirty fret-free pre-tax deadline days.  Wow.  I could get a real head start on next year.  And I could work out some kind of system for all the receipts and deductions and paperwork, but I always have plans to get right on that and then never really do.  I put a label on a file folder and then wonder a year later why there’s nothing in it.

Tomorrow I’m leaving with my daughter and grandaughter to go visit the cousins and celebrate a couple of spring birthdays and maybe we’ll toss in some Easter festivities as well.  Just for the weekend, and then back home and then off to Ontario for two weeks to see my brother and sisters and other miscellaneous relatives.  The furnace should be all installed early next week, and the renovations at work in our department should be finished by the time I return.  And the grass should be green and the leaves should be out and the lawn people should be hard at work on our yard.  And W will be off to the island for the summer having officially retired.  Again.

I will be hauling my lap top with me everywhere I go, as well as my phone and my camera, so no one I meet will be safe from turning up in this blog.  I hope to gawd they’re more interesting than taxes.

Just in Case You Really Want to Know….

…..And even if you don’t.  I’m falling way behind on my Plinky Inspired Answers to Inane Questions Which Are Reallly Just a Lame Excuse to Talk About Myself Ad Nauseum.  So I’ll just get at ‘er.

Share something you’ve changed your mind about.  I change my mind about inconsequential things roughly every 30 seconds, so my answer to this prompt would be interesting only if I’d ever had a complete change of heart about something earth shatteringly important.  Like global warming or the economy or celebrity nose rings.  I prefer to hover somewhere in the middle when it comes to such weighty issues, looking at both sides of the story and not ever actually making up my mind at all.

What do you think of reality television?  I think it’s about as real as anything else that’s written and scripted and edited to death before it goes on the air.

What’s the most unexpected thing a stranger has ever said to you?  So, not just strange, weird, rude, crazy, incomprehensible, far out or completely ludicrous?   Merely unexpected.  That certainly narrows it down.  Well there was this one old guy at work who came in and sat down and proceded to tell me that I had always given him the most incredible customer service and he really appreciated it and he’d bring all his business to me because I was one of the nicest most knowledgeable opticians he’d ever come across.  I have no idea who he was, and strongly suspect he got me mixed up with somebody else.

Come up with an idea for an awesome prank.  “Awesome Prank” is an oxymoron.  Pranks are rarely awesome.  I would describe them as mostly idiotic, moronic, and pointless.

Could you pull off a different hair color?  I guess that depends on what exactly I’d be trying to pull off or accomplish by changing it.  Jet black or green or flaming orange (orange is in this season!  I read that somewhere, but I don’t think they were talking about hair color),  would probably capture a lot of attention, most of it negative.  My current natural hair color, which is salt and pepper (heavy on the salt) seems to go well with the rest of me right now, so why mess with that.

Milk, dark, or white chocolate?  A question that’s not really a question.  Like “window, middle or aisle?”  Just pick one and get on with your life.  I’m not sure why, but for me, white chocolate easter bunnies just feel wrong.  As do chocolate easter tractors and soccer balls.  Bars and cakes, on the other hand, no matter what time of year, feel right and normal.  Dark chocolate can be bitter, and white chocolate too sweet.  Milk chocolate is okay, but I’d rather have chocolate milk.  With a straw. Out of a little brown carton.

Describe what it feels like when the season begins to change.  Could you not just haul your dumb ass outside and find that out for yourself?  Sorry, but sometimes you just have to say dumb ass or you’ll explode.

If you could be an editor for any magazine, which would you choose?  Magazines are so full of glossy eye blinding advertisements that I can’t be bothered trying to search out the articles.  Half the time it’s impossible even to come across a table of contents.  Editing out the ads would probably not make good business sense, so I’m quite content to leave the editor’s job to somebody else and all those over priced floppy books full of ads on the shelves.

When you need a good laugh, who/what do you turn to?  The Dilbert comic strips and Savage Chickens come to mind.  Yesterday I went to Chapters to get in on their “buy 4 get one free” book deal and picked up “I’m Better Than Your Kids” by Maddox and I’ve been laughing ever since.  It is definitely not everyone’s idea of funny though.  I read a couple of pages out of it to W and his face remained set in stone.

What game are you the champion of? Angry Birds, but only in my own mind. I work on getting all the stars and try not to look at any one else’s stats and get discouraged that there are people out there who are better at blowing up pigs than I am.

Would you ever take a cruise?  Maybe a river cruise would be okay, but for one on the ocean I think I might have to be heavily medicated the entire time.  I don’t like the idea of all that deep water everywhere.  Having never been on any kind of cruise I suppose it’s not fair for me to judge but my uninformed opinion is that sitting around on dry land would be a lot more fun.

Y is for Yesteryear

Yesteryear – sometimes feels like yesterday.  Bygone days, days of yore.  Well, in this case, not exactly ancient history, but often time out of mind.  Maybe when my kids remember this they’ll think of it as the good old days.  Or a brief part of their miserable childhoods.  But I hope not.  We had some happy times.

These little scenes of yesteryear are brought to you courtesy of the big red van that took us south and west to the mountains where we spent our family holiday ski weeks.  The body of the van was a piece of junk when we got it, and an even worse pile of crap when we were done with it, but in it’s glory days it was all fixed up to be practically luxurious.  Because W worked on it relentlessly until it had new windows and plush new captains chairs and panelling and privacy curtains and a sky light and a bright red paint job.  I don’t even want to think about the amount of money we poured into that thing, but it went a lot of miles for us and it carried a LOT of stuff.

In the parking lot, after the morning ski, breaking for lunch.  Open up the back doors, and voila – instant outdoor bistro.

Our chauffeur, the infamous W.  We spent all the moola on the vehicle and ski lessons and lift passes.  None left for hair cuts.


Kids being kids…give them enough snacks and they’ll stay happy for miles and miles.

Mom being mom.  Probably being asked something cute and endearing from the back seat, like “Can we please skip lessons and just ski all the black diamond runs tomorrow??”  Have to love the ski hat hair and the fat lips.  I always got cold sores from the cold and the sun, so that could be why I look like I’m having the least fun of all of us.

Still, I remember those trips with nostalgic pleasure.  Looking back, never to return.  Filed under Y for yesteryear in my little box of memories.

Free Plane Tickets

Being the boring person that I am with little ambition to travel, I would probably ask around until I found some deserving person with a burning desire to go somewhere (if only there was sufficient money to do it), and then I’d give the tickets away.

If it were possible to have completely open-ended non expiring tickets, I’d just save them for a time when I HAD to take a trip whether I really wanted to or not.

How did I win these things anyway? It’s not like I’d enter a contest if that was the prize. I feel the same way about taking an ocean cruise. I seem to be rather attached to terra firma and reluctant to leave it to fly through the air or sail across the water. Unless you can promise me that when I get there it will be a thousand times better than where I am right now and I can put down roots and stay there forever.

Give me an all expenses paid staycation where I can party in my own back yard enjoying all the comforts of home. Send me postcards from wherever you’ve flown off to. That way we’ll both be having a fabulous time.

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Worst Flight


Is there anybody out there who loves to fly?  Who wakes up in the morning with the fervent wish to just hop on a plane and fly around for hours and hours? Do pilots and flight attendants dread having a day off where they have to content themselves with wandering around on the ground? Maybe that’s the thing that needs complaining about. I don’t get to fly to Paris for breakfast today! Damn, my life sucks. But I could if I really wanted to. There’s a certain beauty in that.

Travelling from one place to another has never been my favourite thing, but when it becomes necessary, I’m happy that there are so many choices in how to get from here to there. And so far flying is the fastest. Everybody has had a “bad” experience on a plane; screaming children, long delays, crazy turbulence, a seat mate from hell, luggage lost, cookies tossed. The ultimate worst case scenario would be to crash and die, and if you keep that in your mind while you’re zipping through the air at ridiculous speeds it makes the rest of your complaints seem a bit silly.

So I’m very reluctant to pick one particular flight out of the many I’ve taken and gripe about it. Because every one of them got me to where I was going or got me back home in one piece and here I am, alive and happy and able to talk about it, and not so annoyed that I’ll never do it again.

Life is short. And in the grand scheme of things, so are flights. How incredibly lucky we are to live in an age where travelling anywhere in the world is possible. All you have to do is buy a ticket and get yourself and your passport to the airport and the rest of it is all done for you. Think about that when the in-flight movie is boring crap. Your flight might not be perfect, but it’s perfectly amazing that you get to take it.

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Lawn Mower

Lawn Mower (Photo credit: Beedle Um Bum)

If you want some kind of specific information from W you will have to ask your question probably two or three times before he tells you what you want to know. And even then you might find that asking him something completely different is what works to finally get the answer you were looking for in the first place. People don’t believe me when I tell them this. But here’s a typical example.When are you leaving for Ontario?

There’s a lot of stuff I have to take care of there. I could be gone for two or three weeks. Hard to say.

But what day exactly are you leaving?

I’ll probably take a couple of days to drive down. No point in trying to do it all in one day. Sixteen hours is too much without a break.

Okay but what day of the week will you be taking off exactly?

Yeah, it’s good that I can take off whenever I want. I’m really lucky to have a job where they are okay with me taking off the time when I ask for it. They’ve been really good about that.


I’ll be leaving first thing Monday morning.

(Don’t worry, I already knew the gas cans location, so I did not have to inquire about the price of turnips in Japan to find that out.)

I’ve learned over the years that it’s more fun and less frustrating to just ask random questions for no particular reason and see what pops up out of his strangely confused male brain.

I’d love it if you could sit down with him now and ask him something simple like ‘what did you eat for breakfast.’ I guarantee you will not find out for at least half an hour and that I’ll get to say HAH! I told you so! when you finally do, and that he will not have a clue in hell what is so damn funny.

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