2017 Santa Claus Parades in the G.T.A.

Now that Halloween is out of the way, it is time for us to move on. The stores have been prepping us for months now (Black Friday in August – say what?) And so, without further ado, it’s parade season!

For the second year in a row, here is my good deed for the year. I sure hope that Santa is paying attention because this actually took some WORK, plus I added even more parades to the list this year. Because I’m a giver. But, of course, you should always check and confirm dates and times for yourself (all information is linked to an official page of one type or another) before bundling up your family and heading out. Because I also sometimes tell lies.

Some of these parades include Christmas or Santa or Light Festivals. Make sure to check out the event page so that you don’t miss out on any of the fun. Listed (mostly) alphabetically, not by date.

Daytime/Earlier Start Parades:

Beach (Kingston Rd) – November 26, 2017 – 1:00pm

Bolton – December 2, 2017 – 11:00am – 12:30pm

Burlington – December 3, 2017 – 2:00pm

Cannington – November 26, 2017 – 11:00am

Coboconk – December 3, 2017 – 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Etobicoke (Lakeshore) – December 2, 2017 – 1:00pm

Fenelon Falls – November 25, 2017

Keene – December 9, 2017 – 10:00am

Keswick – November 18, 2017 – 1:30pm

Kitchener – November 19, 2017 – 10:30am

Lakefield – November 19, 2017 – 1:00pm

Lindsay – November 19, 2017 – 2:00pm

Maple – November 12, 2017 – 2:00pm

Markham – November 25, 2017 – 11:00am – 12:00pm

Milton – November 19, 2017 – 1:30pm

Newmarket – November 18, 2017 – 11:00am – 2:00pm

Oakville – November 18, 2017 – 9:00am

Peterborough – December 2, 2017 –

Pickering – November 25, 2017 – 12:00pm

Sharon (East Gwillimbury) – November 12, 2017 – 2:00pm

Streetsville – November 25-26, 2017 – No parade this year – festival instead on the 25th and 26th. See link.

Toronto – November 19, 2017 – 12:30pm

Tottenham – TBA

Vaughan – November 12, 2017 – 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Weston Village – November 26, 2017 – 2:00pm

Whitby – December 2, 2017 – 10:00am – 12:00pm

Night Time/Later Start Parades:

Ajax – November 25, 2017 – 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Alliston – T.B.A.

Aurora – November 25, 2017 – 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Barrie – November 18, 2017 – 5:00pm – 10:00pm

Beaverton – November 17, 2017 – 7:00pm

Bradford – November 18, 2017 – 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Brampton – November 18, 2017 – 5:00pm

Cambridge – November 18, 2017 – 6:00pm

Flamborough – November 25, 2017 – 6:30pm

Hamilton – November 18, 2017 – 4:30pm

Havelock – November 18, 2017 – 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Markham – November 25, 2017 – 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Orangeville – November 18, 2017 – 5:00pm

Oshawa – November 18, 2017 – 6:00pm

Peterborough – December 3, 2017 – 4:45pm – 6:30pm

Port Perry – December 2, 2017 – 5:00pm – 7:30pm

Richmond Hill – November 18, 2017 – 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Schomberg (King City) – December 2, 2017- 4:00pm (Farmer’s Parade of Lights at 8:00pm)

Sunderland – December 9, 2017  – 6:30pm

Sutton – December 2, 2017 – 5:00pm

Unionville – December 1, 2017 – 7:00pm

Woodville – December 2, 2017 – 6:30pm

So, there you have it. If you know of another parade that should be added to the list, send it to me, or leave a comment below and I’ll see that it’s added.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Prepare thee now, post-haste, to prance merrily along the path of least resistance to your desired parade, spike thou hot chocolate with some peppermint schnapps (non-drivers only!) and Christmas on, my friends!

 

P.S. I post more nonsensical blithering and updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s worth ‘Liking’ ‘Following’ or just checking out The Keswick Blog on those sites as well. Because on too many days right now, micro-blogging is all the awesomeness that I can pull off.

7 Ways to Deal With Problems on the School Bus and Mostly Not Get Arrested

This morning I was seeking solutions to some ongoing school bus woes. I thought brainstorming here may help to clarify an appropriate course of action for me to take. Because despite my many (many) deficits, I am trying really hard to do this adulting/parenting thing correctly. I came up this list of seven possible solutions this morning.

7 ways to deal with a kid who is bothering your kid on the bus:

  1. Call the school, let the principal and support staff handle it.
  2. Tell your child to ignore it and the other kid will get bored and move on.
  3. Tell your child to stay respectful but stand up for his/herself and others when this clearly unhappy person is acting up.
  4. Pull your kids off the bus and drive them to and from school each day while cursing the broken school system and the ongoing breakdown of society.
  5. Call the school, let the principal handle it and pull your kids off the bus until you are assured that the problem has been effectively dealt with.
  6. Walk up to the offending kid in the morning, after drop-off and say: “ Keep your mouth shut and your hands off the other kids on the bus. I have over thirty years longer experience than you do at being a cunty bitch and you DON’T want to challenge me. You will lose. Now mind your fucking manners and make something good out of your life.” Use your meanest, most menacing Liam-Neeson-in-‘Taken’ face and voice.
  7. Homeschool.

I know it should not be quite so hard to decide on a course of action, but it is. Adulting is stupid hard. You want to be mature, serene, wise and calm, set a positive example and raise good and kind humans while at the same time you want to tell shitty humans who bother other children exactly what they are, where to go and how you’ll help them to get there, using a lot of extremely immature, inflammatory, ugly and yet momentarily immensely satisfying words.

Well, this exercise did not work out exactly as planned. I am still undecided on how to proceed and now my kids will be late for school. Oh well. I guess I’ll load my kids into the minivan now and figure it out along the way.

Or, I suppose I could just resurrect Mildred.

What would you do?

~A.

Open letter to Georgina-onians and passersby

Dear fellow concerned citizens, human prototypes, Georgina’onians, Keswickians, Suttonese, Pefferlawfians, and of course, our esteemed visitors (yes, I made up 60% of those labels).

First, I am not perfect. In fact, I am so far from perfect that I daresay that I am usually fairly reliable in the ‘if it can be eff’d up, she’ll eff it up’ department. My ‘Making A Complete Mess’ track record is a thing that legends are made of. To illustrate my point, I got knocked up out-of-wedlock – YOUNG (no regrets), dropped in and out and back into school, sometimes seasonally (big regrets). I fall off of chairs, can say the EXACT wrong thing at exactly the wrong time like a Trump supporter on speed, and when I’m not chasing my own tail in a futile effort to get ahead, I’ve likely forgotten why I walked into a room. But, even with all of these faults, inadequacies, character flaws and an unrelenting flair for the dramatic, I remain fairly adept at understanding where my garbage is supposed to go and where it is NOT supposed to go.

Again – NOT a perfect track record on this front either. I have been known to occasionally toss a tissue into the blue box, or thoughtlessly toss a banana peel into the ‘regular’ garbage instead of the compostable garbage. So I get it. It happens. But, and much like mine, this is a BIG BUT, even I with all of my aforementioned flaws and rudimentary understanding about our complicated garbage pick up system, know that the ditch beside a farmer’s field is probably NOT the place for my once-loved (on) sofa and love seat. Even I am able to discern that the evidence of my fairly faithful (and mobile) habit of drinking Busch’s beer probably does not belong tossed out my car window while I careen down backroads. And perhaps, most oddly of all, the flowers from my late-beloved whoever should NOT be disposed of, containers and all, at the side of the road. I mean really? How dead inside do you need to be in order to toss Grandpa’s flowers out on the way home from his funeral?

I am not even kidding here, people. I couldn’t make this up if I tried (heart is still beating in my chest, apparently). And no, it’s definitely not a roadside memorial.

Even I, with all of my blonde ditziness, realized long ago that evidence of backseat shenanigans just DO NOT belong on the pavement, naked and exposed where people walk their dogs or go for walks with their families (YAY! for using birth control though, we completely approve of all things disease and unwanted pregnancy preventative – but BOO for tossing it out of your car window with your empty pack of smokes and another one of those damned Busch cans). (Am sparing you the pictures of this one. You’re welcome)

Takeaway containers and beer cans in a paper grocery bag. Really?

And while I’m at it – WHO is still drinking Red Bull and Monster, anyway? That is SO 2012. Move on people. And while you’re at it, take your empty cans with you? Pretty please?

With the spring thaw, so many things come to light. What the snow hid, the warmer days reveal. The sins of the winter and all of that.

We are so incredibly blessed in Georgina to have green space, farmers fields, forestland, wetlands, parks, just so much SPACE to breathe, that it is easy to forget, while taking in all of this natural beauty, that it is NOT the place to toss your left-over renovation materials, drywall, 1970’s shag carpet, evidence of your last beer pong tournament, half-full paint cans, tires, cement blocks, or yes, even your Tim Horton’s coffee cups. Because while I know, that there is very little more Canadian than a Timmy’s coffee (how did that become a cultural symbol?), there is something so very un-Canadian about throwing your Timmy’s cup out your car window. Be honest here, who do you think is or should be responsible for cleaning up your mess?

The contents of your misguided life do not belong at the side of the road. Unless you’re sitting with them, that is.

Your terrible taste in carpeting is not taxpayer’s responsibility, nor do the fox, deer or other wildlife living here want it. Bag it and tag it, leave it with your garbage and the Town will remove it for you. This Stop and Dump = Bad Karma. Bag it and Take it = Good Karma

And, as a special note for visitors: we welcome you to our parks, beaches and roads. In return, we merely ask that you take your garbage HOME with you or use the receptacles graciously provided for your use with our local tax dollars. Our residents and wildlife, do not need to deal with your silo cups, empty potato salad containers, paper plates, plastic forks and the ever-present pop and beer cans. PLEASE.

Use our beaches and our parks. Just don’t be a self-entitled dickhead and leave all of your trash for the rest of us to deal with. It is polluting our land, and waterways, not to mention that it is a danger to our wildlife. And, if one of the local ‘fanatics’ happens to catch you tossing your garbage bags out of your window, you may be run off the road while the sweet sound of banjos play in the (not to) distant woods. And we all know how well that went for those visitors.

This is a forest. NOT a trash receptacle.

The remnants of your family reunion, held at one of our local parks should only be painful for you. The rest of us have our own Aunt Edna’s and Uncle Frank’s to deal with, thanks.

Reduce, reuse, recycle – ugh. Never mind. Just don’t be a filthy miscreant and deal with your own mess.

So, next time you’re out and about and for some reason have a trunk full of shit you want to dump, please visit our local transfer station (so much fancier than saying ‘dump’ isn’t it?) at  23068 Warden Avenue. The fees are very reasonable and you’ll feel awesome for doing the responsible, adult thing with your unwanted goods. Or, even better, before you load all that shit into your car, truck, or bundle buggy, march it out to the curb in front of your house and slap a $1 green garbage sticker on it. The town will pick it up with your regular garbage pick up (black bag day), no questions asked. Those stickers are not very sticky, so make sure you staple or otherwise affix the sticker in plain view.  You can buy stickers at any branch of the library, Zehrs, Pinky’s, the Civic Centre,  there are a ton of distributors all around Georgina. Or, if you’re really stuck, let me know and I’ll drop a sticker off to you – no questions asked.

Out past the edge of a big untidy town was a beautiful green valley. Hidden behind its tall trees were bright flowers and bushes full of birds. In the middle of this lovely place the people of the town dumped their rubbish…There should have been a pretty village in the valley but instead there was a terrible mess.
          ~Excerpt from “The Paperbag Prince”
                               by
                          Colin Thompson

Yours truly, madly and beseechingly,

The Keswick Blog

Friday miscellany that spilled over into Saturday

A hot cup of tea and some random thoughts to head into this long weekend.
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There is something so liberating, so absolutely and completely fucking amazing about cruising down the highway, alone in your minivan (shut up), blasting Bon Jovi and sing-yelling along with every word. It is in those moments that I miss my mini skirts and hair scrunchies.

When your five-year-old daughter is beside herself with joy because she was given FIVE heart-shaped lollipops from her classmates and that means that she has enough to share with all of her brothers so that no one is sad, means that you’re doing something right. Or she’s just a better person than you could ever hope to be.

I feel like we go through A LOT of fresh produce in a week. I added it all up and I think it only accounts for 1/3 of our grocery spending. So what the hell are we getting for the other 2/3’s? It’s not as though we’re a heavy meat-eating family, I never buy pre-made frozen meals (save for the occasional frozen  ’emergency’ pizza). So, where is that other 2/3’s going?!?

I am probably not, but it is beginning to feel as though I am the only parent left who sends her children to school to learn how to read, write and gain knowledge in areas, like history, geography and science? I ask because more and more I’m hearing from my older boys that they are being allowed to play and watch others play pc and online games during ‘free time’ or indoor recess and there’s talk about having a dedicated ‘technology time’ during class time. And during technology time, they won’t be learning how to script, program or design, they’ll be playing games like Happy Wheels on iPads, laptops and iPods. This makes me CRAZY. Teach my kids how to read and write cursive script, don’t teach my kids how to PLAY blood and guts games on fucking tablets. 1) I don’t want my 9 year-old playing or watching games that are rated 12+, anywhere and 2) I don’t want any of my kids thinking that school is a place where ‘anything’ goes. Because at home, we have RULES and standards that are expected to be, and for the most part are, followed. And this includes the appropriate use of technology. If I want them to melt their brains and diminish their attention spans, then I will park them in front of a screen at home where I can watch their decline instead of just dealing with the aftermath of their day in the ‘education’ system. This. Is. Not. Okay.

I have logged back onto Facebook. It is a huge time-suck, but I think I’ve figured out the work-around (those “x’s” on the left side of the tab totally work!). The reason I logged back in was that I realized that I enjoy sharing things on the blog’s FB page and enjoy reading the feedback those posts receive. I also quite enjoy all of those Britain’s Got Talent audition clips as well. Of course, the first time I logged back in I saw something that set my teeth on edge, so I did what I do – screenshot it, edit out identifying information and post it on Instagram. Because I’m also mean and  immature like that.

It’s now -26C, down to -42 with the windchill and one of my kids has a birthday party to go to this morning. Having to leave the house today is cruel and unusual punishment, but he really wants to go, so, off we go.

Ugh. Feck me, I'm too old for this weather. If I wanted to deal with these temperatures, I'd go and stake a claim in the Yukon. Get it together, weather.

Ugh. Feck me, I’m too old for this weather. If I wanted to deal with these temperatures, I’d go and stake a claim in the Yukon. Get it together, weather.

~A.B.

 

 

My heart was broken last week + a rant

Some of you, maybe all of you, may know that I supervise lunch hour and afternoon recess at a couple of our local schools. At one school, I police kindergarten lunch hour and mediate sandpit disputes and check boo boos and administer band-aids and ‘side hugs’ as needed. Then the bell rings and I say a quick ‘have a good afternoon!’ to “my” kindies and rush off to my next school where I supervise afternoon recess in the yard. This is my second year doing this, so many of the students remember me from last year (and I remember them!) and that awkwardness is mostly gone when they approach me. For the most part, they all pretty much know what answer that they are going to get from me in most situations. And they know that I will march beside them and help them to figure out their disputes. And they know that if they’ve crossed the line or run out of chances, that I will send them to visit the office for further discussion.

But last week was different. There were no disputes to settle. There were no lines crossed. There was just a little boy, close to, if not actually, the same age as one of my boys. He has bright eyes, a wide smile and always looks just a little bit more mischievous than your average bear.  On this day he was sitting in the grass, on the edge of the sandpit playing with a few other boys and they found a chunk of asphalt in the grass and ran it over to me, excited to show me their discovery.

“Coal! We found coal! Lookit! Lookit! Missus!”
“Ah, guys” I said smiling at them “that’s not coal, it’s a lump of asphalt. Like the stuff the basketball courts are made of. A piece must have broken off some…” Most of the boys wandered off at this point.
“Court?!? My mom’s going to court today!” Exclaimed my cherub-faced friend
“Oh, is she a lawyer?” I half-asked and half-hoped.
“Nah. My dad’s in trouble,” he said, still sitting, legs splayed, on the grass and looking down and picking at his pant leg. He shrugged his shoulders.
“Oh. Parking ticket?” I replied, with concentrated effort to keep my voice light and smiley.
“Nah. He’s in trouble for breaking a window and running away from the police and then at the hospital…” He looked up at me and added “they done a divorce.”

*Cue shattering the of my heart.* I felt it in my chest, broken. I felt the tightening above my ribcage and understood why this little dude had so many ‘line crossing days’ last year. And I felt so angry for this little boy, who has been told too much and witnessed far too much and who, despite his assertions to the contrary, it’s not “okay.” And I could see in his face that he has no way of really making sense of what the hell the adults in his life are doing to him and to each other.

Lord, I’m old and I don’t understand what the hell the adults in his world are doing to him. Or why. Or how. Or if they even understand the pain they are inflicting on this perfect little human THEY chose to bring into THEIR family. And then chose to blow his world all to shit and expect him to deal.

He did not need to know that his dad broke a window. He did not need to know that his father was arrested. He did not need to know that his parents are in court again. But he knew. And somehow, he was still able to find his smile for me that day. And try to reassure me that it was “okay” and “no big deal” and that it was okay that he couldn’t see his dad right now because he could maybe probably be able to see him soon because of “the yellow house.” Which I can only assume is an access/visitation center.

And you know what? I GET it. You meet someone. You fall in love, like, lust or whatever and you have a baby, by design or circumstance. And then things just don’t work out. Maybe there are substance abuse issues, maybe there are maturity issues, maybe the romantic relationship was just never really meant to be. For whatever reason, “forever” didn’t last. But as soon as you have a baby, you are a family. FOREVER. And like it or not, you both have to figure out a way to make sure that your baby still gets to have his FAMILY. So, you put your shit aside (I don’t care if she cheated on you or he’s an asshole) and you make nice. You celebrate family events together because you are a family for as long as you have that child in common, you’re a family and you OWE it to your child to be an adult.

We should be teaching our children to be brave, not forcing them into it by making them deal with adult situations and emotions long before they're ready.

We should be teaching our children to be brave, but not by forcing them into it by making them deal with adult situations and emotions long before they’re ready.

And believe me, I am not casting stones. I am speaking from a place of hindsight being 20/20. My eldest son grew up without his father around for most of his life and for no other reason than his parental units were too young and immature to see the bigger picture and both thought that we each knew what was best for him. Neither of us realized or acknowledged our duty to act like and to BE a family, that even when angry with one another, that duty existed because we decided to bring another human being onto the planet.

Single parenting is hard. Co-parenting is hard. Parenting in any capacity is hard, and that is why I’m constantly striving to do parenting better and to NOT repeat past mistakes. Oh, and I am happy to report that my son now has a relationship with his father and his father and I are finally mature enough to be friends again but even if circumstances were different, and friendship was not realistic, I do believe that with maturity and this magical hindsight, that we would still now be able to be cordial with one another, if for no other reason than to align for the amazing human person in whom we share a common interest.

I guess after this post is written and all is said and done, my real message is simply:

Please let us stop breaking our children’s hearts. One ounce of kindness at a time.

*End rant*

Absolute truth. Do your best, always do that.

Absolute truth. Do your best, always do that.

Learning when to speak up and when to keep your head down and shut up

These are two life lessons that I come to a little late in life. I may have mentioned a time or two before about being an only child. Perk – everything for me. Con – nobody to argue with and hence never being afforded the opportunity to learn about not always just speaking your mind, regardless of your audience. Some people are born knowing when to stand up, speak up and fight it out and when it’s time to just keep quiet and soldier on. Having kids first introduced me to these concepts, but social media has driven the lesson home.

As many, some, or at least one of you know, we have a situation in Georgina right now, Keswick specifically, with a HUGE developer wanting to build a 1000+ house subdivision in the middle of the North Gwillimbury Forest. And if not there, than directly across the road on protected countryside lands. The developer owns the lands in question but since receiving the ok for a 1000+ mobile home development on the forest lands 25 or so years ago, nothing has been done to move the project forward and the forest has remained intact and flourished. And while the forest grew, laws changed and society has (generally) woken up to the consequences of the alarming rate at which we are destroying our surrounding natural habitats and essential wetlands. Flash forward to 2015 and the developer decides that the time is NOW to destroy either the forest or countryside to build a fucking TRAILER PARK or yet another over-crowded, un-serviceable subdivision.

In case my feelings on the subject are not abundantly clear, I disagree with the developers position. And because I disagree, I support The North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance (NGFA) in their fight to keep the forest, protected wetlands and countryside in Georgina just that, PROTECTED.

Yes, they own that land, but are the signs really necessary? Seems like a pretty aggressive stance to take in a community your company is trying to "grow."

Yes, they own that parcel land, but are the signs really necessary? They are now posted at regular intervals on both the forest lands and farmlands owned by this company. It seems like a pretty aggressive stance to take in a community that your company is trying to “grow.” Oh, and yes. That is a forest you see behind the sign.

So, how does all of this fit in with learning when to keep my mouth shut or get out there and speak out? Where does this big lesson from social media come from? I’ll tell you.

I posted an update that the NGFA emailed to its supporters on a Facebook group specific to Georgina and issues involving the town. With the link, this is EXACTLY what I added to the post:

Heartsick does not begin to describe how I’m feeling with this newest update. So disappointed in our newly elected Mayor and council (save for Councillor Dave Neeson). May as well left Grossi in power, if the developers were going to continue to dictate the future and landscape of our town.

Perhaps strongly worded, but I feel strongly about what is happening (or not happening) on this issue. There were reply comments almost immediately and things quickly spiraled away from the issue of doing the right thing, ethically and legally and in the best interest of our town, and turned into, what I can only say was bullying behaviour. By adults. Really? Luckily, I tend not to bite when baited and I was able to say my piece and quietly leave, but in the meantime, a few commenters were virtually ‘high-fiving’ each other for irrelevant or snide remarks the other made, obviously feeling very proud of themselves for putting me in my place. They were only interested in attacking me personally, when I was only interested in discussing a very serious and time-sensitive town issue that will have repercussions for our town for generations to come. A few came to my defense, and to those posters, I am thankful, especially for confirming for me that what I was reading was bullying and for letting me know that others also saw the comments of these two people for what they were – argumentative, mean-spirited and misplaced.

I felt that it was important to bring the issue to the forefront and get a real discussion going, to get people to see just what the big deal really is, and that was my motivation for posting the link. I believe that I have posted to that group on two separate occasions and on each of them, one of these same people has zeroed in and attacked me personally, rather than discussing the merits of the issue. I do not know this woman (nor do I want to know her), I know nothing more about her than her Facebook profile and posts tell me. And she knows only that much about me. I do know that she isn’t only offended by my opinions, that she has run-ins or arguments with many people in various groups, so at least I am secure in the knowledge that this time, with this person, it really isn’t me, it’s her.

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So, thank you social media, for making sure that I learn the lesson up close and personal. The forest and preventing the development of our beautiful protected lands is something worth standing up for, but that particular Facebook group is not the place for me to do so, so I am choosing to keep my head down and soldier on, silent in that group and other groups in which they post. I’ll continue to try to spread the word and gain support for the protection of our small town green space on here, on the Facebook page for The Keswick Blog and my personal page.  I have so many wonderful things to focus on to bother wasting my time or effort arguing with people who want only try to bully and belittle others in general, and me in particular. I see my choice not as a sign of weakness, but rather a show of strength, maturity and personal growth. See? I can adult when I have too. 😉

My six-year-old son drew this for me on last weekend.  And it may not be true globally, but to him it is, and that's really all that matters to me.

My six-year-old son drew this for me last weekend. And while it may not be true globally (since nobody really knows who I am), to him it is true, and that’s really all that matters to me. The opinions I really value belong to those people who I know and respect – friends and family fall into that category. Oh, and Carl Hiaasen, I value his opinion too. He just gets it.

I’ve taken on another adventure – Epicure in the ‘wick

I’ve been A.W.O.L. for a while now, unable to do much of anything other than basic ‘life’ and have, in all honesty barely been doing an adequate job at that, but amidst all of my mediocre efforts/results at ‘life’, I recently decided to become an Independent Epicure Consultant.

I have never done anything like this before. I’ve purchased from other women selling various products – Thirty-One, Grace Adele, Scentsy (currently investigating, never purchased yet), so I can appreciate the actual process of catalogue purchasing, but I’ve never decided to try to SELL anything like this before.

Most of the companies are started by women, for women and Epicure is no different. But one difference is that it was started by CANADIAN women Canadian women. And I kind of dig that. Also, I have a terrible time finding products that I feel that I can trust, are limited or devoid of chemicals, additives (like MSG, tonnes of sodium, tartrazine, etc.) that I can afford to purchase ON A BUDGET. Enter, Epicure with amazing food products, cook and bakeware, recipes, and teas. If you enjoy cooking, or just really good tasting food, it’s worth a second look.

If you’d like to check out the current catalogue, or even place an order or host your own party (online is fine – not everyone has time to have 10 people over to their house for a tasting party), here is the link to my consultant site (Canadian shipping addresses only). Everything from Epicure is gluten-free, so no worries on that front, and many items are now Non-GMO verified (and more are going through the process all the time), which, for me, when it comes to what I am feeding my family, is increasingly important.

February Specials - The After Ate tea is to die for, but so is just about everything else here!

February Specials – The After Ate tea is to die for, but so is just about everything else here! Is it smart for a self-diagnosed Food Junkie to be working a business in the food industry? I don’t know, but I’m going to have a ton of fun finding out!

So, while I want to do so many things everyday/week/month (oh, I also, joined the gym, am trying to re-teach myself piano, trying to write consistently, photograph my rapidly growing babies regularly, keep the house reasonable, the meals prepared, the clothes washed (if not folded and put away), work and earn at four part-time jobs and now Epicure too!), I continue with to struggle of trying to be everything to everyone, do everything I want, need and must do, and falling short at every turn. But slowing down or downsizing what I take on doesn’t appear to be part of my DNA.

But, at the end of the day, I just need to do better, work harder, try more and I’ll achieve my goals. Right? Isn’t that the way we’re told life works? I sure hope that wasn’t just a great big lie that I’ve fallen for.

My character challenge for the second half of February.

My character challenge for the second half of February.

Halloween Dress Rehearsal and a death-a-versary

Keswick Public School had a family dance tonight. Since a couple of our smalls attend there, I dressed up my crew and off we went. And we had FUN! If you’ve never danced with a couple of four-year-olds, I highly recommend it.

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I am not sure if I will have a Ninja Lord, Cowgirl, Spider-Man, and Skeleton tomorrow night for trick or treating (minds and costumes change rapidly around here) but I had them tonight. And I’m mindful that these moments are limited time offers, so I am holding them close to my heart.

Also tonight, I am quietly marking the 24th anniversary of my father’s passing. 42 was too damned young to go, I wish I had more time with him, and I really wish that he could see my smalls on this, his most favourite holiday of the year. It took me a long time to be able to enjoy Halloween after he passed, but every year I derive more happiness from the day and look forward to sharing stories and memories of him with my kids.

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❤️

I will never call my daugher ‘Ladybug’ again and here is why.

So I learned something today. Disappointingly enough, it turns out that ladybugs are assholes.

There. I said it. And I don’t regret it. Ladybugs are absolutely outright assholes.

And they are a bitey bunch. I know this to be true because a few of those assholes bit me this afternoon. And I did not appreciate that at all. It made me feel rather stabby.

I also did not appreciate having to re-wash an entire load of laundry because said assholes decided to descend upon my lovely fresh laundry as soon as I hung  said laundry outside on the line. I swear they were like a fat chick (um, yes, that would be me) on a chocolate fountain (yeah, yeah, it was just once and I paid for the damage. Stop judging me).

My photographic evidence (of the ladybugs, not the chocolate fountain) are not all that convincing, because by the time I remembered to take pictures, they had already left their diabolical signatures all over my laundry, so it looks like I hung stained, nasty clothes on the line. But I did not do that. Because that would be weird and bordering on insane and while I may be both of those things, I do not enjoy hanging out laundry enough to bother hanging dirty clothes out there just for a photo-op.

Are you kidding me? I count 11 ladybugs and see one more coming in for a landing!

Are you kidding me? I count 11 ladybugs and see one more coming in for a landing!

This poor crib sheet was cleaner going into the washing machine the first time around...

This poor crib sheet was cleaner going into the washing machine the first time around…

You have GOT to be kidding me with this, right? They are SO TINY. How did this make this much mess? Oh wait. I say that about my kids too.

You have GOT to be kidding me with this, right? They are SO TINY. How did this make this much mess? Oh wait. I say that about my kids too.

It is a lime green crib sheet. I add bleach, I kill it.  I don't add bleach and my small sleeps on ladybug shit. Honestly now, who in their right mind deals with these kinds of issues? Certainly not me, I haven't been in my right mind since the 1990's.

It is a lime green crib sheet. I add bleach, I kill it. I don’t add bleach and my small sleeps on ladybug shit. Honestly now, who in their right mind deals with these kinds of issues? Certainly not me, I haven’t been in my right mind since the 1990’s.

And so, I will never call my only daughter ‘Ladybug’ again. I think I would prefer to call her my sweet ‘Praying Mantis.’  It may not have the same cute ring to it, but a praying mantis has never bitten me and decimated my couture and Fruit of the Looms. (Of course, we all know what female praying mantises do do though, right? If not, click here and then hold on to your seat!)

So, the long and the short of it is, I washed the laundry. I hung the laundry. The ladybug brigade came swooping in and shit all over it. I re-pre-treated and re-washed the laundry. I conceded the win to the ladybugs when I later tossed the re-washed laundry into the dryer (during the low hydro peak time, of course). Heeeeeyyyyy now. Wait a minute.

Fuck. They got me. The hydro company has finally figured out a way to force me to use my dryer. I’ll bet if someone (not me) somehow got into the sinister secret areas of the hydro company, they would find millions and millions of ladybugs, just waiting to be deployed daily, forcing us to abandon our efforts to reduce our usage and hence our monthly bills. But really? Sending the bitey kind was just evil. The shitting, messy kind would have sufficed.

Well played Hydro Company. You blackhearted reprobate. You shall have your extortion money and your pound of flesh (but only because my people like having electricity). Oh, and lastly, ya’ll owe me for the antiseptic cream and bandages (the Hello Kitty kind, ifyouplease) – those ladybugs have killer fangs/teeth/stingers/owie-makers.

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One high speed car chase does not a vigilante make. It takes at least two.

Once, years and years ago, my son Declan and I were dropping off a bunch of things for donation at our local Goodwill. It was a Sunday, so they were closed, and so as per usual, we left our things with the other donations piled close to the entrance. We unloaded the car, hopped back in and left, hanging a left out of the parking lot which lead us to drive past the Goodwill once again.

As we were driving by, I saw that a nicely kept, newer minivan was parked in the space we just left and that a woman and her son were going through the boxes and bags that Declan and I had just unloaded. I swung into the parking lot across the street and watched for a few moments, because I could not believe what I was seeing. I could feel my blood pressure rising, watching this woman load the items that Declan and I had JUST DONATED to charity into her newer-than-mine vehicle. I decided that I had to try to confront her.

Now, realize that this was before everyone and their grandma had a cell phone, smartphone, digital camera, dash cam, YouTube, etc. We had brickish, heavy, blocky cell phones that only stored a few numbers and dialed and received calls – no pictures, no texting, no internet, no 24/7 connectivity with the rest of the world. So, thusly disconnected from our friends and family, off we drove back into the Goodwill parking lot, and rolled right up on her. She knew she was busted. She knew that she was stealing, that she was doing the wrong thing and that I was ANGRY.

She took off. I took off after her. I got her license plate, but I still followed her to just shy of the airport (from Scarborough, for any of you familiar with the area). For those not familiar – that is fuck far. And she was scared, driving erratically and I was single-mindedly in pursuit. What was I going to do if I actually got her? No flipping idea – I was just do infuriated that she would take her kid and STEAL from the GOODWILL, items that MY KID and I just DONATED. You know, TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE.

So, while we’re flying along the 401, I can see her son WALKING around inside her almost brand-new minivan (needs to steal from charity?), playing with a toy that I KNOW that my son just gave away “so another kid who doesn’t have any toys can maybe play with it, Mummy.”

And then, I just stopped. I took the next exit and headed home. Explaining to my child why we would continue to do the right thing, and why when we see someone doing the wrong thing, causing harm, that we cannot sit quietly by and pretend not to see it. That we must act, because it is the right thing to do. Now, I did also explain that typically high-speed highway chases are rarely the exactly right thing to do either, but that because we had her license plate and vehicle information that we could let the store know and they could decide what action, if any, to take. In the meantime, since it’s highly unlikely that someone drove 45 minutes or longer to hit up that exact CLOSED Goodwill, I cost her a ton of gas and time that day (I was driving a little economy car, so it cost me far, far less than it did her ;))

I never much thought about what I now call the ‘Reverse Donation’ before that day, but ever since that day, I have been hyper-pissed off whenever I see someone looting the donation drop offs. I don’t usually have a camera or other means of recording it, but this past weekend, I did have a camera with me, so I did capture what appears to be yet another mother-son team in a minivan doing the Reverse Donation with a Twist – treating it more like an exchange program than a straight up DONATION program.

Stealing sucks. Stealing sucks even worse when you involved your kids. Don’t suck.

If the sun hadn't been directly in my eyes and making it impossible for me to know if I was actually getting the pictures that I was trying to get, I would have had about ten times this number of pictures. Mr. KB told me later that Ms. Reverse Donation with a Twist was waving at me for a bit, but I didn't see that. I wish I had a picture of it though!

If the sun hadn’t been shining directly in my eyes and making it impossible for me to know if I was actually getting the pictures that I was trying to get, I would have had about ten times this number of pictures. Mr. KB told me later that Ms. Reverse Donation with a Twist was waving at me for a bit, but I didn’t see that. I wish I had a picture of it though!