Lucy sent her driver off enjoying the fog which rather than burn off with the morning sun had become thicker as the day progressed.  She preferred to walk and rarely used a driver at home, certainly her father would rather she use one while they were in London but she couldn’t resist today. The fog would hide her well and give her a few moments in which to clear the fog from her own head.
Oh how she hated London and how she longed for the quaint and quiet life of their country home, she never felt at piece here her mind always in turmoil.  Her father’s days were filled with business to attend and he could at least feel useful here which may have made a difference, but her days in London were nothing more than endless rounds of tea and gossip. At least during the season there was a fair bit of entertainment watching the young debutantes make fools of themselves. The only problem was that she also had to be so much more careful when London was crawling with societies finest.  
That spectacle at the Dorchester had quite nearly pushed Lucy over the edge today.  That daft girl Maribel had caused quite the scene although Lucy did suppose she should not have laughed at her hat. There was a point Lucy thought however when the idea of being fashion forward became ridiculous attention seeking.  The poor girl had had no idea who she was dealing with. Never mind who her father was if the girl had any inkling of what Lucy’s nighttime activities involved, well she wouldn’t dare to speak against her.  
Lucy laughed to herself imagining what society indeed what Scotland Yard would say if they knew the truth.  Oh but Lucy knew that was just fanciful thinking, regardless of how amusing it might be to reveal what she had done she couldn’t do that.  She certainly had no desire to spend time behind bars nor to meet the end of her days dangling from a rope and she knew lady or not that is certainly what the end results would be.
Perhaps she couldn’t share the truth but perhaps some fun could be had on a night with such a deep fog rolling through the streets. If she were to say she felt ill and sent her father along to that evening’s ball without her she would have plenty of time.  Oh how lovely that would be. Imagine the headlines if she introduced “Jack” to high society.  She thought as she had before how nice it would be if she could thank the silly bloke who had written the letters giving her alter ego such a memorable name.        

Back In The Traces

It feels like such a long time since I’ve posted even though it’s only been two weeks.  I’ve had a wonderful break although a few challenges have certainly been faced.  The biggest challenge was during our week spent camping in Swan River, MB. 
We had travelled to Swan River of all places as our daughter was to compete in the Manitoba Summer Games.  It’s a pretty big event with the top young athletes in Manitoba competing in a variety of sports.  Our daughter went for soccer playing goalkeeper on the Winnipeg gold team. 
She would be traveling to the games with her team and staying with them in the athlete’s village while the rest of our family spent the week in a camper we had rented for the occasion.  She had the time of her life and she and her team played their hearts out.  Competition was fierce and the final match went into overtime. 
Her team came out on top winning the gold medal 3-1. 
I can’t explain the intensity of this final match or the nervous energy on and off the field. Both teams played extremely well and it was an amazing game to watch.  That final 20 minutes of overtime play was wildly competitive and it wasn’t until the last few minutes of play when her team managed to get a second overtime goal that anyone started breathing somewhat normally.
I couldn’t be more proud of the game these girls played and my daughter couldn’t be happier to have brought home a gold medal and memories to last a lifetime.  I honestly believe that she played her very best game to date making amazing save after amazing save. 
The experience of her team winning gold made the disastrous camping experience well worth it. We lived in pouring rain and several inches of mucky water for the week.  I came quite close to hitting a deer on our way out and the drive was made difficult by the stormy evening.  
We arrived really late (a little after 11 pm) because the trailer couldn’t be picked up until 3 hours later than when we were supposed to pick it up and we didn’t to leave Winnipeg until almost 5. Since we arrived so late and the night was so stormy we were unable to set up the trailer that night which resulted in a very cramped and uncomfortable night with three of us in a single bed with the trailer still attached to the truck. 
When we finally did set up the trailer it was after watching the first game and we were soaked through from the heavy rains.  We also discovered on set up that the fridge door was broken, by dropping it on my ankle and that the microwave would randomly turn itself on and off.  
Everything and everyone spent the entire time soaked and filthy.  We even found ourselves evacuated at one point because of tornados nearby and the town had declared a state of emergency by the end of the week.  I’m sure the organizers had an even more difficult week with 1,600 athletes to care for, keep organized and entertained.  
That gold medal brought home around our daughters’ neck though made every wet and stressful moment worthwhile.    

Dance Little Sister

I think it is interesting to look at children's (and adults') interests and professions in relation to their parents.  Do you work in the same field as your father or your mother?  Do your kids like to play the same sport as you?  Maybe you play the guitar for pleasure - do any of your children like to play the guitar?  Maybe your children's interests are completely different than yours - that certainly is possible.

When my older siblings were old enough to babysit us younger siblings (I am the 3rd youngest of 13 kids), my parents took up dancing.  They started with square dancing but also did round dancing as well (round dancing is kind of like ballroom dancing).  Dancing was my mother and father's outlet -
I have tons of memories of my parents dancing together. My dad would record the instructor's "calls" for a new dance and then replay the recording in our kitchen while him and my mother practiced the new dance steps.  My brothers and I would run through the kitchen dodging their footsteps - we must have drove them crazy!

Well, I wouldn't consider Sarah and I to be "dancers".  Sure, I can do the Electric Slide and I like to shake it up to classic dance music from The Jackson Five, Shalamar and the like...but no, we are not dancers.

Our girls love to dance so it will be interesting to see where it leads them in the years to come.

This is a clip I got of Anna dancing with Sarah.  I love this clip because there is so much joy radiating from BOTH of their faces:


So about 3 weeks ago I moved to Germany and started working as a character designer and artist at Flaregames and KeenFlare, I'm loving the studio and having a good time. That's the flaregames team, they're all awesome and I'm truly lucky to be a part of this amazing studio. That's me on the first row with the blue shirt and jeans holding my Nerf gun =)

Check out Flaregames mobile games and website:

KeenFlare! Here I come!

So I started working as a Character Designer and artist at KeenFlare in Karlsruhe, Germany. I'm currently working on a new game for IPad and IPone. Having a great time and loving the studio!

Boston Driving, The Red Sox and A Swingset.

I've conceded to the Boston driving.  Having driven the streets and highways in and around Boston for almost 30 years now, I can say that traffic is extremely unpredictable, the roads seem to be forever under construction, and there are some people who drive like lunatics. 

New Englanders are very familiar with the Big Dig.  And f
or those of who are not familiar, it was (and still is I believe) the largest federally funded construction project in the United States.  Well... the Big Dig was completed a few years ago but every other roadway in a 20 mile radius of Boston seems to be under construction now.  I have dealt with the traffic and crazy drivers the past few years commuting home from campus after taking evening MBA classes.  Construction.  Traffic.  At 9:00 at night. 

I understand that roads need to be resurfaced.  Roads need to be updated.  But why does it take SO LONG!?

Case in point:  last night's drive home from the Red Sox game.  Sarah & I had a nice night - just the two of us.  I picked her up at work and then, thanks to a sibling, we got free parking within a short walk to Fenway.  We enjoyed a great game at Fenway.  Good seats (sat between home plate and 3rd base).  We stood with the Fenway faithful to give Kevin Youkilis a warm welcome upon his return to Fenway (after he had been traded to the White Sox). 

We decided to exit a bit early to beat the crowd (and we did). We got to within about 15 miles of home and TRAFFIC.  10:15 PM traffic.  On a major highway.

Can you tell I am a bit done with driving in Boston?

Onto something fun...I was taking some clips of the girls playing on the swing set (or whatever they call these playthings) when Allie decided she was going to describe to the camera the various items on the swing set.  Kind of cute.

Beach Day 2012

Sandwiched between numerous scheduled events like birthday parties and the like, we have been able to make it to the beach a few times already this year.  July has been hot!

With my class schedule light for the second summer session (only 1 class this session = last class!) and with Sarah on her reduced schedule, we hope to get several more beach days in.  The summer closes quickly here in New England so Sarah & I want to take advantage of it while it lasts!

This video clip is from a couple of weeks ago.  The girls have since done a little "boogie" boarding - I hope to have some video of that soon....

Allie reads to Emily & Anna

The title says it all...

The girls apparently get their love of books from Sarah.  Sarah tells me how, as a kid, she would go to the library, get a bunch of books, and read read read!  The benefits of reading are so obvious now that I know Sarah so well - she has a great gift for words and is smart as a whip!  So yes...the girls get their enthusiasm for books is similar to their mother's love of books at that age. 

I, on the other hand, like a good book as an adult.  As a "yoot" (think My Cousin Vinny) it was a different story for me!

I'm glad I was able to get this video clip - it makes me so proud!

Technology Fights Back

Listening to music last night while I did some housework I made the discovery that my music had somehow gotten messed up and I’d lost a number of songs.  Now this is the one way in which I kind of miss having a physical copy of my music.
Losing a song as a kid would have meant I’d broken a cassette or CD, nothing much you can do when that would happen but at least you KNEW the song, indeed album, was gone.  This is not so straightforward.  What is missing from my play list is any song purchased as an MP3 in the past 6 months or so.  These songs don’t have a physical hard copy they are only in digital format and I’ve no idea how they just disappeared.
I know that they exist somewhere on the computer but it would be so much easier if there was simply a physical copy I could actually see and know is there if in my bumbling efforts I just make things worse.  I am most definitely not the techy one in our house; that would be my husband, although I know he’s experienced this same issue.
Now as I was worried about doing I have indeed managed to make an even bigger mess of things. In addition to missing songs, I’m missing all of my ring tones and having had to open itunes under a different profile and now unable to get it to close so that I can reopen it with my profile.  
I know what the problem is with not being able to close the program as it has developed a bit of a bugga boo about closing when any ipod, iphone or ipad is within range of the wi-fi.  With the number of these devices floating around our house that means several are always in range but I’ve learnt to work around and solve that issue.  I also know that the ring tones were recently moved to a new folder and that’s why they’ve gone missing.     
So those parts are easy fixes but I’m still unsure of what to do about the songs I’m missing. Oh and once I figure out what’s gone wrong with the music on my phone I have to find out why the same thing has happened on my daughters phone and most likely have to fight with it as well.
The convenience of everything carried on one small device isn't feeling quite so convenient today.

100 word Rambling - Chemistry

The science of chemistry has always eluded me and what I once knew has long been forgotten.  It is now time however that I make my peace with this science. I suspect my inability to make heads or tails of chemistry was not so much a failure of ability but a self-fulfilling prophecy brought on by self-doubt and dislike.  To be successful you must believe you can do whatever you seek and you must work hard.  It’s a lesson often hard learnt in youth but so easily seen once older and wiser. I can choose to succeed if I believe.   

Picture day - My Morning Run

This somewhat shaky picture as well as the others are taken from along my morning jogging route.  This top one was also taken a few moments before running headlong into a giant spider web. Minus the spider webs and stitches in my side it's actually a very pleasant way to spend the first half hour of the day.


Picture prompt - Tea Tree

Deep in the woods grows a magnificent tree unlike any others which grow here. It is a tree which has lived for thousands of years and legend has it that it is a lucky tree.  It is said that a tea made from its leaves offers the drinker a long life filled with prosperity, success and happiness at every turn for the rest of their days.  That is if the tea does not kill them. 
Only those who seek out this tree with the most honorable of intentions can drink the tea without suffering a most painful death.  Many people have gone searching for this tree and while most return empty handed in defeat a few don’t return at all.  
In order to drink the tea from its leaves you must be many things not the least of which is brave.  Brave enough to face the many dangers hidden in the woods and brave enough and sure enough of your own intentions to drink its tea.  There have been a few people who claim to have found the tree and been unable to bring themselves to drink the tea once it has been brewed.
I have every intention of drinking it.

Shape Wise

I’ve never been exactly out of shape and I’ve always been fairly content with how I look as well as my level of activity.  In anticipation of trying something new and going back to something old I’ve decided to give myself a bit more of a challenge.
In part I suppose it’s to see if I can still do it, to see if my efforts over the years have actually kept me in good shape or if I’m fooling myself simply because I am and always have been slender.  A lot of people don’t realize that you can be slender and completely out of shape.  While I don’t believe I’ve ever been completely out of shape there have been a few times where it was coming close.
The something new I’m not ready to share as I’m just beginning to explore it and it remains little more than an idea for now as for the something old; dragon boat.  Practice starts in about a month and last year our team placed in the top 6 out of over a hundred teams. It was quite a shock to all of us who had thought we’d done poorly and thanks to the success of last year we want to do even better this year.
Well now, the hard part is in figuring out what I can add into my routine that is a bit more of a challenge, mostly because of time restrictions.  I do yoga three times a week and strength training two times a week in what is my one and only real time to do something.  The rest of my day is filled with plenty to keep me busy or focused on the kids.
With that in mind I’m thinking of getting up just a little bit earlier so that rather than just having enough time for a leisurely walk with the dog I could be having a run with him instead.  Running has never been my forte, I can run fast for a short sprint but my stamina quite frankly sucks. So ok running for stamina there is one way to challenge myself.
 Another thing I can do is make it habit to go for a family bike ride as often as possible over the summer.  It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to bike as a family since my youngest outgrew the carrier and couldn’t yet ride a two wheeler. For her birthday we bought a tag-a-long bike which attaches to mine making my bike into a sort of tandem bike.
I think just those two things will make a big impact on my fitness level but still there is more.  I want to be fit mind, body and soul.  
So body is covered and this, my blog, exercises my soul as does my day to day life in countless little ways.  So that’s two down one to go; mind.  I’ve signed up for lumosity and along with my penchant for Sudoku think that should provide plenty of exercise for my mind.  I’d also like to find some way to get a little math practice in as it’s always been a weak point for me.  Haven’t yet figured out how on that point although the lumosity program does contain a bit of math.
So I thought I would share what my focus is for now and there it is, I let you know how I’m doing in a few weeks.   

Looking For a Quick Fix

I’ve been looking at a number of courses and some changes I want to make with my future.  I’m afraid it seems I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up despite having grown up.  Never the less a change is brewing and in many ways the thought of facing and defeating a challenge is quite appealing.
In our hurried and harried lifestyle though the idea of intentionally pitting myself against a real challenge is somewhat daunting.  My mind can’t help but wander away to try and think of a “quick fix” that would require less of a challenge to time, money and effort.
Then there are doubts, the doubts of whether it can even be done while successfully facing each obstacle that this challenge may present.  I, as always, am my biggest critic. So rather than carry on with the doubts I’m working on a few simple things to boost my confidence in those scarier areas.
I’ve got a list of little challenges to face today and so I am off to face them.  Quick fixes are for simple tasks and real challenges can be faced,  all I need to do is stand up and accept them.

Morning Comfort - a 100 word thought

The morning rush never ends, each morning filled with a little of this and that but once the train is on the tracks and the wheels in motion I get my most prized time. A comfort like no other is the moments spent in silence sipping a good hot cup of coffee. My coffee is made by a press, never a drip, its hot and dark and full of wonderful bitter flavor.   I never have to worry I’m out of filters, cream or sugar my morning cup is always just right. Life is easier when you drink your coffee black.    

Picture Day - Butterflies

The past few days the first few steps along the forest path it seems the air itself becomes alive. Butterflies, moths, and every other flying insect you can think of seems to appear in droves.  While I could do without the countless mosquitoes and the vast number of spiders draping their webs directly across the pathway the butterlfies and dragonflies are quite wonderful to see. 

The Maple

Abigail sat in the swing hung under the leaves of the great maple tree at the centre of her garden.  A small breeze lifted strands of silver hair gently across her face.  The scent of lavender and roses drifted along and she sighed as the great maples leaves shifted and the swing swayed gently.
She watched as the sun filtered through its many tiers of leaves shining down amongst the countless flowers. She recalled how as newlyweds they had bought this house and how the somewhat crooked and spindly Maple with its knobbly trunk had been the only living thing in the yard. 
She recalled how Jake, her husband, had said it would shade the garden too much, drink all the water and sap the nutrients from the soil.  She smiled recalling his indulgent look when she had insisted the tree should remain despite all his objections.
She looked around at each of the plants and recalled how the garden had first begun to evolve with the maple always at its centre.  Each plant had its very own story, the raspberry cuttings from her mother, the Saskatoon bush from a friend, the lilies from her grandmother’s garden, the cousin who had brought the first few herbs.
She remembered the years that vegetables had outnumbered the flowers and the countless hours spent tending and harvesting them.  Some years the fruit and vegetables which had grown here had meant the difference between a full cupboard and one mostly bare.  
She remembered how she had rejoiced under its branches when Jake had planted the first rose bush to mark the birth of their first born. Cried when he planted the second and again rejoiced when he planted the third and forth.
As Abigail gently swayed she recalled the countless days and evenings spent with family and friends gathered under its cooling shade.  It seemed that nearly every important day over the years had happened here or had been ended sitting in this swing. The good and the bad had been celebrated and grieved. 
The swing creaked as its sway slowed and Abigail smiled as she caught a read leaf as it fell to the ground knowing the tree would be here still come the next spring.