Friday, December 23, 2011


Here I am in my polka dot pajamas, catching up on last minute work, DD is downstairs watching Dolphin Tail, the snow is gently falling outside my office window.... all seems calm and right!

I have finished my Christmas shopping, almost everything is wrapped, the Christmas Tree looks amazing and the house is cozy, warm and festive.

And again I was able to buy all Christmas presents locally and ethically. It was a great challenge... an easy challenge thankfully... we did do some LLBean orders... although they do source ethically and give back all is good!

Merry Christmas -- here is to a better 2012!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Random Thoughts

Some Random Thoughts: Why I love Living in the Country

A local dairy farmer, on a quiet, dusty side road near here leaves the gates open for the cattle to wander across the road in the morning to their main grazing pasture.... and then the cows make their own way across again later in the afternoon toward the barn.. in time for milking. So nice to see!

Peaceful... it is so very peaceful here this morning. All I can hear is a rooster crowing in the distance

My daughter loves catching frogs and we seem to have an endless supply and a dizzying array of species to choose from!

Our apple trees are full to bursting. Trying to keep up with picking before they all rot on the ground

Went for a run yesterday across the back fields and the sun had turned the recently harvested wheat to a lovely golden shade. Love it!

My neighbour left something for me to pick up.. she just called to say she has left the door open and I can go over anytime

I love star gazing

Playing croquet in our big back field

I love the smell of freshly cut hay

Our dog Chelsea is outside without being tied up, fenced in or shocked by an invisible fence

I cut my lawn and field with a big green John Deer Tractor

I walked the dog this morning in my pajamas

I always hang my laundry on the line outside and love to hear the crisp sheets flapping in the wind. Nothing smells as good as line dried sheets!

The cats are free to come and go as they please

Sitting on the porch at night as a cool breeze freshens the air and our conversation floats across the meadows

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Monarch Butterfly

Two days ago, en route to meet up with friends at the beach, Lu and I came across a poor, crumpled Monarch Butterfly. She was still alive and had one wing that was only slightly damaged... the other wing was a wretched mess.... but we picked her up anyway. Lu begged me to keep her, to try to save her. I knew we probably only had a few hours with the poor insect.. yet I agreed anyway - so hard to say no to those imploring, vivid blue eyes.

Luckily for the Monarch - whom Lu had named Mona - we had a lot of fruit in the car for our beach picnic. Lu made a little nest in my upturned straw hat for Mona...while I passed back grapes and some pieces of apple. Lu was awe-struck to watch, up close, the Monarch feeding on the fruit. We also stopped for juice to offer our little patient - Mona gratefully sipped on lemonade and apple juice, as well as from our offerings of fruit, which Lu had scattered on the inside of my once favourite hat - the hat that had become Mona's home.

I found a shady spot at the beach to park the car, yet still expected Mona to be "gone" by the time we got back. Lu excitedly exclaimed that Mona had fluttered her wings and was still feeding on the apple pieces upon our return. Once we got back home, Lu brought out her butterfly cage - which previous to now had housed frogs, beetles, worms and a moth for short periods. We quickly went to work to fill the cage with grass and leaves, a milkweed flower, sliced strawberries and a capful of lemonade (Mona's favourite).

It is now two days since we found crumpled Mona at the side of the road... and she is still with us. I am amazed at her strength of will and her inherent beauty - regardless of her injury. It is sad to think that Mona will no longer be able to soar through the back fields, to flutter from flower to flower... to rest in a shady spot... but we have at least given her a few more days on this earth with Lu hoping upon hope she will lay an egg. I am sure Mona is too traumatized to grant Lu her one wish, although this has been a wonderful learning experience for my inquisitive five-year-old who has been so gentle and kind to our bruised visitor.

I just hope Mona stays around a bit longer to continue showing Lu the wonders of nature and the power of her determination.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Can I Divorce my Parents?

My parents have been going through a nasty split for the past year... seems like forever now.. forever because the details are sordid, the reasons are pathetic and it is so tragically sad when one discovers that you are now wiser and more sane than your parents.

Sordid because my father left my mom after refusing for years to get her help for mental instability -- yet he is a doctor.. he chose to ignore it which has made the situation worse - oh so undeniably bad. He is also pathetically going through an "old-life" phase... which means he has taken up with his high school girlfriend -- because (wait for it) the two of them have actually been seeing each other the entire time he has been married to my mom. Yup.. the entire time.. throughout my sister's birth..... my birth, toddlerhood, scraped knees, camp drop offs...endless riding lessons, boyfriends, high school angst, marriages, the birth of my daughter.... the whole entire time. It makes me ill to think of. But there you go -- ripped from the headlines sordid (Arnold and Maria anyone!)

Pathetic because my parents can't get their shit together. And mostly pathetic because the person who suffers through all this...isn't me because I have become numb to the details.... not my sister because she has (wisely) cut off contact with my dad and is dealing with mom's antics at arm's length -- but most definitely is my daughter. It is my daughter who will lose.. she barely has any contact with either grandparent; my father is too busy trying to reclaim his lost high school years that we rarely see him.. until he makes a five minute stopover on his way from point A to Point B (Gee, thanks.. hope it wasn't too much trouble) and my mom has just been too consumed with her own misery and abandonment that she cannot literally see the forest from the trees. She chooses to stay isolated in her home.... rather than spend time with her granddaughter.

For the most part, the husband and I can laugh at it - we can laugh at the absurdity of such painfully selfish people who are my parents. If it weren't for the reminders that there are amazing grandparents out there... I might not notice my parents giant lack of empathy.

Those reminders arrive almost daily in the form of all those loving grandparents out there who have an invested interest in their grandkids. And yes.. I am jealous. I am jealous when we run into friends, their cheeks flushed with giddy excitement when they announce -- we've just dropped the kids off at grandma and grandpa's place and now we are off for a weekend of adult fun and bonding. Oh the joy of it all! While I wish my friends much fun during their weekend away sans children, I can't ignore the cloying nausea, the hurt in my heart knowing that will never be me. My husband and I give each other a knowing glance and say our usual "We're in this together - just you and I!"

The worst reminders are the times, too many to note, where we are at our boat for the weekend and we see someone's grandparents parading down the dock -- matching Tilly hats and pressed khaki shorts with two apple-cheeked kids in tow. "We are off for a sail this morning and going to take the grandkids to a drive-in this evening -- we are so happy to have them this weekend!"

Again, I fight back the tears, I fight back the hurt.... the husband and I give each other our all-too-familiar knowing glance. It sucks. Many times we have joked -- let's put an ad in the paper to hire grandparents. There must be some sort of grandparent foster program out there ... or maybe I have stumbled upon something! But first I often wonder if I can just divorce my parents. They certainly have not added anything to my life for many, many years and certainly are not going out of their way to make up for it.

Indeed, we are in this together dear husband and for the most part, I wouldn't have it any other way... yet sometimes it would be nice to have caring and invested grandparents who can laugh when Lu tells her endless knock-knock jokes, or when she earnestly tries to peddle her bike - pigtails flying, grinning ear to ear, or when she asks me to draw yet another unicorn for her growing collection. Or most importantly, when we watch her on stage at her kindergarten concert - the husband and I are beaming as we glance around the sweltering gymnasium at all the families with grandparents -- cameras flashing to capture the fleeting moment... I grab the husband's hand, look toward the stage at the gorgeous children singing their hearts out and think to myself.... "We're in this together... you and I!"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Leaving the Past Behind

My parents recently split up. It's shitty, it really is. My mom is not doing well - it's just a mess.

My sister and I are gently nudging her in the direction to sell the farm. She doesn't want to. I get it though.. I really do. As much as we would like her to start somewhere new.... without reminders of the painful last year... I 'get' why she doesn't want to sell her lovely, sprawling Ontario farmhouse. At least not just yet.

My daughter and I spent the weekend with my mom. I wanted to see if she needed anything done around the house, if she needed a shoulder to cry on, if she needed to vent, or all of the above. My first thought has been for her to move -- just get out of this place, it is too big for you on your own and contains too many painful memories.

But after I put my daughter to bed... and then grandma followed suit... I wandered through the house and looked at the pictures on the walls, I ran my hand over the woodwork and furniture, I leafed through books and peered into cupboard doors. And I got nostalgic and sad; we have so many memories in this place and it might very well be gone soon - and with it all those lovely memories of why we moved to this rambling farmhouse in the first place.

We moved when my sister and I were in our teen years; both were competitive equestriennes and the move to a bigger place with space to ride, train and build a small barn to house our show horses was the perfect excuse to leave small town living behind. My mom had admired this house for years; she could see the potential under the dull, grey siding, the unfinished rooms inside, the unused property out back. Once this place went on the market - we jumped at the opportunity.

Over the years, the house was transformed to mom's vision... and the barn was built to my specifications.

Once complete we enjoyed this place so thoroughly. We held family gatherings here; hosted neighborhood parties and apres-horse get togethers. It was a warm, friendly and inviting spot. But like anything in life, you eventually move on.

Fast forward years later; I have been busy transforming my own old farmhouse and building a family, opportunities and business - during these times you tend to forget the past because you are so busy planning the future. But I took time that Saturday night to remember the past. And at that moment I "get" why mom isn't in too much of a hurry to move. I get it now.

I had one last chance to savour cherished memories. Just before heading to bed myself... I started turning out all the lights downstairs. Once I got to the porch light, I stopped to admire the scene outside. That scene has always been one of my favourites. Our house is set on top of a hill and I always loved looking out over the moonlit paddocks, across the road to the neighbour's house and beyond. I stood there, motionless for what seemed an eternity, just staring at my favourite view and felt such deep regret that this all might soon be gone. It is easy to get bitter at times like this; you wonder, if dad hadn't left mom, they would still be living at the farmhouse without any impending need to sell; that I wouldn't worry so incessantly about mom living here on her own; and I wouldn't be mourning the potential sale of our cherished, once happy family home. Does life have to be like this; is this how memories end? I guess we all have a lot of healing to do; and perhaps mom's healing starts at the house she loved so much.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Planning our Euro Getaway

So excited about our upcoming Euro Trip... will def. be here:

and here:

and here:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Some Random Thoughts for the New Year

Beautiful winter day... just strapped the x-country skiis on and went for a lovely glide. Not much snow cover so wasn't optimum.... but was lovely to get out in the peace of nature!

Am loving this cute retro dress by Tiny Modernist ( Wonder when she might design a mommy-version!

Piled on too many pounds over Christmas... so am following Martha Stewart's Whole Living 4-Week Action Plan. Lots of great advice, support, recipes and detox strategies.... (

Must run.. time to put a fire on and make chicken soup from our weekend chicken stock making endeavour!