Mid-summer Already?

Where is my summer going? It cannot be August on Monday it just can’t be. This summer is slipping away much too quickly. It feels as if I haven’t done nearly 1/2 of the things I wanted to do or the things I should do and I’m running out of time.

I realize it was an awful late start to the season as spring adamantly refused to show up hiding behind gusting winds and weeks of ice cold rain and sleet.  When finally spring came it leaped into summer very quickly and now that seems to be disappearing at a rather alarming rate as well.

I don’t think I’ve spent more than a few minutes swinging in my hammock, we have only been to the beach once and I’ve barely begun my warm weather to do list. The next few weeks are packed with plans as well so those peaceful moments I so love about summer will remain hard to come by.

Maybe that is part of why those moments are so special simply because they are oh so anticipated and rare. So what if I don’t get the dishes done and sweep up all the dog hair, or even if I don’t get my to do list done I would rather have one of those lazy summer days I love so much, a day with nothing to do and all day to do it in.  

So I vow that at some point this weekend between birthday plans for E and things that really do have to be done I will find some time to chill out with a book and a glass of wine on my hammock, feet up and swaying in the breeze. 

Time to try and ignore all the little stuff, and the big stuff I should get done, it will still be there next week. Before I know it summer won’t be.

Instant Friends

Do you want to play with me?

That’s all it takes in the world of children to make a friend. I was thinking about it after our second night at the hotel last week when both girls were bugging me to go out to the pool. They wanted to meet friends from the night before.

All they knew about each other was their names and ages, which have already been forgotten since, but having played with them for just a short time they were considered to be a friend.  Certainly these are not lasting friendships only as long as we happen to be in the same hotel or sometimes even simply the short time spent playing together just that once.

Watching one of these instant friendships blossom reminds me of just how much our perceptions change as we age. The innocence of childhood which allows for such friendships seems to get lost over the years. The ability to play with a stranger in the same way you would play with a long time friend disappears.  

I certainly wouldn’t grasp the hand of someone I met 5 minutes ago and jump into a pool together or suggest we play a game.  Perhaps it is this, our inability to play in quite the same way that prevents these instant friendships from happening.  Our idea of what makes a friend also changes, someone we will meet only a few times is not considered a friend, still a stranger or at the very most an acquaintance.

My oldest in fact wasn’t calling her playmate a friend simply “the girl I was playing with”; her idea of friendship has already begun changing just shy of her 12th birthday.  She recognizes that someone she plays a game with isn’t the same as the kids she has known and played with for years.

For me and I’m sure for most adults those moments in which we share a few words with a stranger while waiting in a long line or commenting on something of mutual interest is perhaps all that is left of these instant friendships.  I think that these friendly moments which give us a short connection to another person are the remnants of these unique instant friendships of childhood.

Writing Challenge 10

A Haiku

A Rivers Reflection

Water flows down stream
Shining bits flash upon the flow
A memory of the sun

Holiday Fun

A week spent with nothing more important than to relax and have some serious fun has done me some good but it is now time to come back to the day to day routine.  Last week was one where I washed not a single dish nor cooked a single meal and had someone to tidy up after me. My phone was ignored and forgotten, no e-mail or anything and it was absolutely fabulous.  

I don’t particularly care for hotel rooms as the beds are never quite as comfy as home and there is never anywhere comfortable to sit but having someone else to make my bed and clear out the trash and dirty towels more than makes up for it. We ended up spending very little time in the room anyways as we had lots planned out and Mall of America rounded out whatever time was left.

I always love a good vacation, really who doesn’t,  and this past week spent in and around Minneapolis was a blast.  It was relaxing fun and full of shopping just as a great vacation should be. There were no arguments or moments of stress, it was calm and peaceful and packed with museums, amusement parks and family fun.    

My husband, kids and I together with my husband’s siblings and their families all traveled down to Minneapolis for the week.  Having all the cousins together is always a great experience particularly when they are willing to consent to a day at Valley Fair wearing matching t-shirts labeled cousin 1, cousin 2 etc just to make us Moms happy.

We had originally planned to spend our holiday in Toronto but decided on travelling to Minneapolis for this group vacation as the kids are all getting older and we don’t have much time left when getting all the cousins together is going to be quite so simple. We didn’t spend the entire week together as our family was the only one interested in visiting museums but we did do a number of great things together. 

Thanks to our GPS I didn’t get lost in the maze of interstate travel during rush hour excursions in a city I don’t know well. For the most part it kept me on track with the exception of telling me to turn right when turning right would have sent us careening off a 50 ft drop; I obviously ignored that particular instruction.   

The trip also gave us the opportunity to break in the new SUV we just purchased, nothing like putting 2,000 KM on a vehicle in the first 2 weeks. Well it gave us a good idea of what mileage to expect and it’s handling. This SUV also has a DVD player for the kids so the 7 ½ hr trip from Winnipeg to Minneapolis and back was actually quite pleasant.

Everything about this trip really seemed to work out perfectly not a thing went wrong the entire time and everything was great. Even the border crossing which during the summer often involves a rather lengthy wait was fast both directions. Whenever we travel to the states for a shopping trip or a holiday away I always love that moment when we cross back over the border, that moment of contentment of time having been well spent and the welcome feeling of being home.     

Is it hot enough for you?

I just received the following email from the organizers of a road race I am scheduled to run in a couple of hours:

We are getting tons of calls, emails questions. The race is still on. Yes, it's very hot and we want everyone to have a safe, enjoyable race - so please hydrate accordingly, cut back the pace if needed and come on down to the race and enjoy the ocean breeze (and water if you want to jump in).

Race Organizers

I have been an avid runner for about 15 years now and do not recall having run a race on a day this hot. According to weather.com, the current temperature is 96 degrees and “feels like 103”. This ought to be interesting……

My Portfolio - 2011 - Updated

Check out my new portfolio guys


What's the Buzz

Welcome to Winnipeg mosquito capital of Canada where you will find mosquitoes nearly large enough to carry off a small childMosquitoes scourge of summer, Manitoba’s provincial bird and all around pain in the ass. 

The worst mosquito problem has to be when one gets into the bedroom at night.  At about 1 am last night I woke up to the sound of a very distinct buzzing in my ear.  Sure enough one of the many blood sucking creatures which have recently begun to develop into swarms was buzzing around my head.  

You lie awake listening to it buzz past your ear over and over again just waiting for it to land so you can crush the bloody thing before it bites you.  Except they never seem to land when you want them too and there is no way you can fall asleep with it dive bombing your ear every ten seconds.

Turning on the light in no way helps as the second you turn it on the offending mosquito will disappear as thoroughly as if it did not exist in the first place. Only once you have given up on finding it turned the light out and found a comfortable position will it return.

Seeing as it is always the middle of the night when the dive bombing starts its quite likely to drift off only to hear the mosquito half asleep and finally crush it to find it had already bitten you and was full of blood which is now smeared across your cheek.

Getting up to wash the blood and insect bits smeared over your face off will fully wake up anyone so getting back to sleep is always a challenge.  The new bite will always itch worse than one gotten at any other time of day until thanks to one little bug you’ve spent half a night wide awake.

I leave you off with this little gem found in the town of Komarno, Mantioba(which means Mosquito in Ukrainian) where you will find the worlds largest mosquito.  P.S. the provincial bird in Manitoba is actually the great grey owl

I will be in the US next week and will not be posting back on the 25th

Picture Day 15

Lake Manitoba

These pictures are from 2002 the land you see here is currently underwater as is the cabin these pictures were taken from.  This is a spot that is from my childhood days, I grew up playing on this beach and swimming in these waters. The cabin and land were sold from the family just a few years ago but it is still hard to accept the cabin may not survive the extended flooding irregardless of who owns it.  It is one of many many cabins and homes that have been devastated by the incredibly high waters this year. The beaches and properties around the lake have literally been eaten up by the water as the shores have severely eroded, Lake Manitoba will quite literally never be the same again.


I found something growing in my fridge yesterday, I swear it was so far gone it was probably sentient. Seriously though that thing was so fuzzy you could almost mistake it for a tribble/hamster depending on your preferred reference. It’s alive!

Yech, I’ll happily kiss that container goodbye.  Well no I won’t kiss it wave fondly perhaps for its years of sealed service.  Sometimes a container no matter name brand or knock off just needs to be tossed with what’s in it and this was one of those times. My last good one of that size unfortunately.

I’m usually pretty good at keeping the fridge clean but it has slipped a little the past few months and this container was hidden away behind some rarely used condiments and must have escaped my quick cleans.  Isn’t that always the story though? Really was only just this once.

Well at least I found it when I did, I think it wasn’t too far away from bursting the lid off on its own, that is one mess I wouldn’t want to touch with a ten foot pole.

Now I can almost be thankful for the copious amounts of pink cream soda my darling daughter managed to cover the fridge in as it’s what prompted a good clean. She had put, on the top shelf none the less, a 2 litre bottle of cream soda on its side with the lid on not quite tight enough.

Not a single shelf was spared a smear or two of bright pink stickiness, it managed to travel all the way from one side to the other, all the way down and under the crispers, in the crispers, in the door and on a good portion of the containers and items in the fridge. 

The funny thing is how little it actually must have been to make that big a mess, it was still about ¾ full and with one glass already have been poured it shouldn’t have been that bad. You would never have guessed the mess was from a slow leak and not a full bottle placed in the fridge with a lit stick of dynamite in it…..if a fuse could be lit while wet….never mind you get the point I’m sure.

Well its done and sparkly clean again, hopefully I won't let it get that bad again I'd rather not find some leftovers in there that starts talking back.

Writing Challenge 9

Write a paragraph using these phrases to start each consecutive sentence:

I have never
I wonder
I love
I have always
I know

I have never been in a hot air balloon.  I wonder what it feels like, whether it feels as though where you are standing is moving or if the world around you is.  I love the idea of floating in the sky propelled by nothing more than hot air and a breeze. I have always loved to do things that were a little bit scary, things that give you a unique experience. I know some day I’ll do it I simply don’t know when. 

Something New

I am very excitedly awaiting my KOBO e-reader which is being tracked as “out for delivery”.  I’ve already got a head start on a good collection of e-books ready to transfer over and have an e-books account for the public library.  I have used e-books a few times on either my phone or the ipad but both devices have their problems for reading on. 

My phone is fine for reading in even quite bright sunlight but the text is small and it’s not at all like reading a book, it involves a lot of scrolling which for me seems to interrupt the flow.  The ipad works great as long as you are indoors away from light so the glare doesn’t blind you. I’m hoping my new e-reader will solve both these problems.

I’ve wanted to get one for some time now so I’m a bit excited about getting it.  I have always been a big reader from the time I learnt to read and I tend to read pretty fast. On average I’ll read 3 books for every 2 weeks.  Not long ago my daughter and I both started to read the harry potter series and I finished all 7 in a 2 week period; I thought they were great books.

I can really get into a good story and I love to disappear behind the pages of a good book and become a part of another person’s story while leaving my own behind for awhile.  I have a vivid imagination and am able to see a story in my mind’s eye with amazingly clarity.

For me it’s as good as watching a movie and in many cases better then.  I’ve seen plenty of movies that have left my own idea of a book in the dust and been entirely dissimilar. Ones that have deviated from the theme or feeling of a novel entirely.

One of the most recent to drive me nuts was The Mist I absolutely hated the movie but loved the original story.  The movie ended on such a sour and unforgiving note, whereas I always find Steven Kings books including The Mist always leave me with a feeling of hope that despite terrible events the human spirit prevails.

Reading makes me think, feel a wide range of emotions and allows me to experience things I might not do in my own life.  They are a gateway to another person’s mind fictional or not and I look forward to having something that hopefully extends my reading experience to another level.      

3D Realistic Frame - Work in Progress

Game Design for IPone/Android - Mad Red Rabbit

Playing Tricks

I read a comment the other day somewhere, can’t recall where, that involved a doll that had struck someone as really creepy.  My brother-in-law once had a Darth Vader doll that creped him and my husband out.
What made it creepy was the fact that it seemed to change position independently.  If it was placed face down and you came back later on it would be face up.  The head would somehow always be turned to face the room’s doorway, or so my brother-in-law claimed.  I never actually saw this phenomenon happen although I did happen to be the cause a few times.
By the time I heard about this doll my brother in law had taken to purposely leaving it face down. I admit after hearing about it and admittedly being a skeptic I got into the habit of flipping it back over whenever I passed it and then never admitting I had done it.  In fact I still haven’t although my cover is certainly blown after my hubby reads this post.    
I can’t help but think my sister-in-law was most likely doing the same thing even though we never admitted it to each other out loud. I won’t deny a few raised eyebrows and smirks were exchanged.  We thought it was quite amusing to watch the guys get more freaked out and convinced the doll was possessed or something along those lines.
One of the last times I flipped Darth Vader over was while helping them move.  I never got the chance again as the doll was quite purposely left behind.   This time the boys were convinced no one could possibly have gotten to it and flipped it without having been seen heading downstairs to where it had been left.
I meanwhile had a nice little giggle at their expense and never admitted to it. It isn’t that I don’t believe unexplainable things can happen or deny the possibility of ghosts or spirits.  I think I’m fairly open minded and don’t deny the possibility of pretty much anything but I am a bit skeptical and I don’t think if ghosts are real they can harm us.
I would love to get my hands back on that Darth Vader doll or a replica; I wouldn’t mind having a bit more fun.

The Small Things

A at about the age of 2 began to keep a bag that is filled with all the small items that she loves and that have found a special place in her heart. The bag itself was one of the first gifts that her sister ever gave to her and is special in its own way.   
As she has grown the items have changed although there have also been a few that remain the same. I sometimes feel as if I’m snooping when I look inside to see what she currently has stashed away but I can’t resist a peek now and again.
I love to look at the items in it and figure out what makes them special, although sometimes I can’t.  It’s gotten easier as she’s gotten older to figure things out but it still sometimes stumps me. It’s a peek into the mind of a child and I love to see the mishmash of things she treasures. 
I regularly go through the kids rooms to get rid of toys they don’t use and bits of garbage that have found their way in but this bag no matter how much junk I think is in it doesn’t get touched.
She even has a couple of items in it from my own childhood, a fake key, a miniature glow worm and a Minnie mouse pin.  For those things to have lasted through to her childhood they were obviously of value to me when I was young as well.
It has been a great thing to have for road trips and time away from home, as long as she has this bag she has something to do and something to comfort her.  She doesn’t carry it with her everywhere anymore and not all of her important stuff goes in it now, now she has a purse.
Someday I know she’ll stop doing this altogether and I can’t help but feel I’ll miss the days when a broken shell or a silly shaped whistle are no longer counted as such prized possessions.   

Writing Challenge 8

Write a story about an empty glass.

Mark scrubbed a hand over his face trying to stay awake and suppress the yawn threatening to overcome him.  He was so tired not only tired off the middle off the night phone calls that gave him no time to rest but the constant reminder that he didn’t really matter to this investigation.

He was getting all the jobs no one else wanted to do, the ones that weren’t going to do a damn thing to help solve this case.  He was stuck sitting here guarding an empty crime scene, the guy hadn’t come back to any of the other victims homes and he wouldn’t this time either.

A yawn managed to escape its way past his tightly sealed lips just as an older man with a cane and several heavy bags clumped his way up the stairwell.  He made his way past Mark giving a small nod and continuing on.  Mark watched as the man stopped and looked up at the next flight of stairs breathing hard. 

Finally he started up on what were clearly some painful joints each stair a struggle, he almost lost his footing 3 stairs up and came very near to tumbling backward.  Mark sighed and pushed up from the chair he had been sitting on and called out “would you like a hand up?”

The man looked back at Mark with a smile on his face “are you sure I wouldn’t be pulling you away from something important?” Mark shook his head thinking again how ridiculous it was for him to be sitting here at 3 in the morning guarding an empty crime scene.  Besides maybe the old guy had heard or seen something that could help them out. “No not at all, here let me grab those bags for you”

“Why thank you son, these days you can’t be sure if even an officer of the law will assist an old man”   he said holding out the bags to Mark “I’m just one more flight up, I’ve been staying with my daughter the past week and I tell you she may love her old man but that girl can be hard to live with after a few days I can’t tell you how glad I’m going to be to have a little bit of peace and quiet……” He continued to talk as he slowly made his way up the stairs.

Mark instantly began to tune the man out and regret his offer of help, not only was this as boring as sitting and staring at a blank wall but if this guy had been out of town for the past week he wouldn’t have any new information about what had happened here the night before.

Mark reached the top of the stairs and called back ”which one is it?” he’d just set the bags by the old man’s door and get back to his post. 

“Oh it’s the one on the right, I’ll grab those bags from you in just a second” As if anticipating Mark to ditch the bags and run he continued talking ”set them down and I’ll never get these old knees of mine to bend far enough to pick them back up” he chuckled.

Mark grimaced to himself guess he’d just have to wait.  He impatiently shifted from one foot to the other as the old guy finally made his way onto the landing and fished out his keys amidst a handful of tissue and promptly dropped them.”Oh dear would you mind” Mark bent over and swept up the keys “it’s the blue one” the man said Mark quickly identified the apartment key and unlocked the door rushing inside to set down the bags.

“I’ll just put these on the table” he said noticing as he walked the stale dusty odor in this room as if it had been a year and not a week since someone was last in the place.  He heard the door shut behind him and turned about to say he couldn’t stay to chat.
Instead he heard a distinctive click followed by a loud pop.  He recognized the sound instantly a revolver with a silencer and it had just been fired.  He dropped the bags in his hand and reached for his side arm discovering his own gun missing. A hot wet feeling was sliding across his chest and Mark suddenly found himself frozen in place barely able to breathe as he slowly collapsed to the floor. 
He realized with sudden clarity that he had made what was certainly going to be a fatal error
“Tsk tsk, you should perhaps be paying just a little bit more attention” the old man scolded as he reached over Mark pulling his cuffs from his belt and quickly and efficiently snapping them in place on his own wrists.  “Pity there was a small detail I wasn’t able to attend to the other night and had to come back for it. I’m hopeful your friends over looked it as well or this whole night is going to seem rather pointless”

Mark struggled to breathe staring up at the old man who had most likely just killed him and realized now that he had been fooled by what was little more than makeup and a good act. Too late he had realized the absurdity of believing an old man would be arriving home so late. “What?” Mark managed to croak out; if he was going to die like this he wanted to know what could have been so important to come back for.

“What did I forget?” he asked, Mark could barely manage to nod in answer now.  “Well my dear boy I knocked over a glass last night which happened to fall into a little space behind the cabinets downstairs.  Silly really but I wasn’t able to get it in the limited amount of time I had left to finish my work and I’m quite certain my fingerprints are on it.  I wouldn’t want anything to jeopardize what I’m doing; I’m having way too much fun for that, so I must retrieve it before your friends do”

Mark moaned in protest his eyes slowly closing, he was even more tired now than before.  He forced himself to think of what had been done in the apartment downstairs and with dismay recalled that most likely the glass hadn’t been found as none of the furniture had yet been moved when forensics left for the day.

His last thought before drifting into the waiting darkness was the shocked realization that he was about to die because of an empty glass left behind a cabinet.

A Sunny Disagreement

I’m a little bit sun burnt from yesterday and already I’ve had a few disapproving comments that I wasn’t careful enough with sunscreen.  I did make sure both girls were wearing sunscreen and I was wearing sunscreen myself I just happened to miss a few sections, namely my backside. 
You can tell exactly how much of my bottom my bathing suit covers. It’s my back and upper thighs that are burnt. I don’t however think it’s as bad as people make it out to seem.  I certainly don't think it's enough to question or critisize my approach to sun protection. It’s the first sunburn I’ve had in years and it’s not even a particularly severe burn.
To be honest I don’t like to wear sunscreen and I only do under certain conditions.  I’m a little on the fence about sunscreen use. I worry about the environmental impact of sunscreens, the health impact of so much chemical exposure and the lack of scientific evidence either for or against sunscreen.  
That’s not to say I’m not sun smart or that I don’t protect myself. An entire day spent at the beach is one of those few days that I do use sunscreen.  That or any other time that I will be out all day. Normally I simply avoid being outside when the sun is at its hottest, I always wear a hat and try to stay in the shade as much as possible.
I regularly check the local UV report and base the amount of time I spend outside on it. I normally would have also brought beach umbrellas with us for a beach day but it was rather last minute planning and I forgot to bring them.
Many people may not agree with it but for me and my family it’s the right approach.  I’ve been encouraged by our pediatrician that there is nothing wrong with how I deal with sun exposure and like everything else in life I simply try to balance things out. I’m a strong believer that very little is actually bad for you when balanced right.
I do believe there is such a thing as too much sun but I also believe there is such a thing as too little.
It still bothers me a bit that people can be so judgmental about such little things, as if I am doing something abhorrent by not slathering my kids in sunscreen constantly. I’ve done my research and have made my decision to use sunscreen as little as possible on many different factors.
If someone else decides that my approach to sunscreen or anything else for that matter isn’t right for them I’m not going to try and convince them that they are wrong. I respect their decisions are right for them even if they are not right for me and they should do the same. We don’t need to agree on what’s right for our individual selves, we should simply live and let live.