And today he would have turned 70 (fabulously, adorned in sequins, stilettos and feather boas, no doubt)

We get but one life. Four days ago it was my birthday (yay, me!). And today, the person who contributed 50% of my DNA would have turned 70 years old (and he would have lied about it smoothly, without guile or shame). He lived the holy hell out of the 42 years he was here with us. He blew mainstream society up, he opened minds, he got conversations started. He was unapologetic and determined to follow his dreams, on his terms. He looked at the way things were in his world, and what society told him that he needed to be and growled a resounding “NO.” He had the ability to make people furiously happy one moment and to the brink of irrational rage the next (a talent, it seems, I inherited, much to my mother’s chagrin).

He was ADHD personified, possessing that singular, obsessive hyper- focus on his passions, he was unstoppable by social norms or expectations. Pushing people’s buttons was a gift and he made good use of that gift at every opportunity, it would seem. He went where and when he wanted and he was stopped the only way he could be stopped. By the demons that lurked within.

At the end of the day, the only thing that truly has the power to stop us, to end us, are the demons we harbour inside ourselves. And his demons were even more powerful and larger-than-life than he was at the peak of his talent, career and life.

Craig, Carol, and Bette. They just don’t make stars like this anymore.

If we lived in a wish-based world, I would wish he had lived to see his grandchildren. I would wish that he had lived long enough to lie about being old enough to HAVE grandchildren. I would wish that my children could have experienced the incredible energy and talent their grandfather was and just how powerful his talents were, in part because he decided that he would be the best so he worked tirelessly perfecting his craft until he was the best. I would wish that I had been allowed more time with him – just as he was, after the stage lights dimmed and the curtain fell.

Alas, since we do not live in a wish-based world, I will take some time today to watch some of the YouTube videos of various live shows that people have generously uploaded over the years and be thankful that through my children, he lives on, in at least some small way.

~A.

Dear 2017, it’s been swell, but this is where we part ways.

Dear 2017,

As was true of your predecessors, I welcomed you happily, full of hope, motivation and gratitude, a year ago today.

We had a mere 365 days together (or is it 364 – I never get the count right for some reason), and in that time, the U.S. has been under the control an obviously deeply disturbed and possibly organically ill leader and his misguided and twisted cohorts. Canada has fallen deeper into debt while applying band-aids rather than real ‘fixes’ to the issues that plague our society and nation, and the rest of the world has watched the events unfolding in North America with a mixture of revulsion and disbelief.

During your reign, we have witnessed horrifying acts of terror against the innocent, senseless death and destruction in all four corners of the (round) world, and countless incomprehensible acts of aggression and injustice against the very people those in power purport to protect.

But it has not all been bad news during 2017. Babies were born, marriages were created and a multitude of successes were achieved. It can be our tendency to remember the painful, negative, or scary events and this sometimes taints our ability to fully appreciate the happiness, the blessings and sheer wonders that surround us.

For me, I have five healthy, intelligent, compassionate, talented and completely fallible and human children. I have a husband who works hard to ensure that the needs of his family are met, even when he would rather stay in bed. We have a  home that provides us with sanctuary from the outside world and we enjoy an abundance of food that keeps our bellies full (and fills out some of our thighs, hips and butts, but, I digress, and that really only happens to me 🤭). I have parents who are healthy and in possession of their wits and independence. I have friends who understand my quirks, rants and shortcomings and talk to me anyway, almost always happily. My smalls and I have found a faith that feels right for us, and 2017 was the beginning of this exciting journey of faithful discovery.

So, 2017, while you have a been cruel and harsh at times ( for example, like your sister 2016 before you our creative talent reserves have really taken a hit this year), you have also been kind and awe-inspiring. 2017, you helped to make it possible for me to say good bye to you with a smile rather than with an eye roll and huge sigh of relief. Thank you for making it possible for me to welcome 2018 with an open heart, a willingness to strive for better, in all aspects of my life and the ability to look at events and circumstances through a more open, a slightly less judgemental and harsh lens while I make the choice to look for the best in all people whom I encounter this year.

Good bye, 2017, thank you for your lessons, gifts and blessings. I will carry them with me while I navigate the unknown terrain of 2018.

~A.

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.

Engagement rings, history and searching for answers – Part 3 of 3

In Part Three of the Engagement ring series we get into the more recent history of engagement rings and finally get to the part where I figure my shit out.

The Past 150 Years of Engagement Rings

With the discovery of diamonds in South Africa and the founding of DeBeers Mining Company in 1880, it was the beginning of the end. Within a decade DeBeers controlled 90% of the world’s diamond production. And what better way to get those diamonds into the hands of people who didn’t need them and couldn’t afford them than to stick them on engagement rings and start advertising them as a truest symbol of forever, true love and devotion and the ultimate measure of how much your husband-to-be loved you?

Following the Great Depression of 1929, one of the most recognizable slogans of all time, “A diamond is forever” was created and the notion that the value of true love, or sufficient proof of true love, was two months of a fella’s salary – not on the engagement ring, but on THE ROCK. This was a generation of people who were just out of economic hardship that rocked the world as they knew it, but I wonder if that experience with poverty made them primed for fleecing by advertisers. Having been raised or at least lived so long doing without or making do, perhaps people needed to feel flush again, as though the money troubles really were behind them and that the future was going to be all rainbows, free-flowing liquor and pots of gold.

Fast-forward to present day. The diamonds have gotten bigger and the inclusion of multiple diamonds has upped the ‘sparkly factor’ exponentially. Diamonds are now, thanks to some handy-dandy technology, available in numerous colours from pink to black in unlimited quantities (coloured diamonds occur only very rarely in nature). High quality “fake” diamonds, like lab-created moissanite (again, occurring very rarely in nature, but quite prolifically in labs) are gaining in popularity and making even bigger and more ostentatious rings available to the middle-class. Moissanite is touted as “an affordable option” when diamond shopping. Again, the push is on to get the biggest most expensive (looking) engagement ring possible. WHY?

So, after all of this research and thought – do I still covet that left-ring finger sparkler?

Unfortunately, yes, I do (pun unintended), but not for the reasons I thought. But after this journey of discovery, I realize that my desire for that elusive diamond ring does not stem from needing my husband to ‘prove’ that he loves me, he proves that every day when he goes to work and provides for our family. Nor does it stem from having to compete with or prove my worth to strangers. No, my desire for that ostentatious, sparkly diamond ring comes down to this: the feeling, the sight, the experience of wearing beautiful jewelry makes me feel happy. I do not care much about the kind of car that I drive, the clothes that I wear, the handbag that I carry or the restaurants in which I dine; when it comes to those things, I’m basically completely neutral, as long as it runs well, fits without cutting off my circulation, does not weigh a tonne or fall apart within a week, or poison me, I’m good.

Doing these posts has given me some time to think about what makes me feel happy, what I need more of and what I need to do less of to increase my overall satisfaction. I do not believe that life is not about being happy all the time, it is a series of cycles that include happiness as a part of the cycle. I think that we need to identify and embrace those things that make us feel happy, identify and manage those things detract from our happiness, and come up with strategies for those things we just need to do because someone has to do it (and we all have those things!). The latter two can wait until another post, but for now some of the things that make me feel the happiest (in no particular order and not including my family) are: being at home, writing, reading, Pink Lady apples, cooking/baking, chocolate, sleeping, very big sparkly jewelry, flamingos, dragonflies, music, school, travelling to new places, taking pictures, really comfy track pants, office supplies and stationary.

 

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 that I can manage to pull off.

Engagement rings, history and searching for answers – Part 2 of 3

Part Two of the Engagement ring trilogy, examining the history of engagement rings and how diamonds got involved in this debacle.

Know her? Dude, I OWN her!

So, it turns out, this whole engagement ring business is pure fuckery. We have been had. Again. All the Jarrod’s, Zales, and Spence advertising is all hooey. But really, it should have come as little surprise that upon researching it, engagement rings originated as a public declaration of ownership. Of a woman. By a man. For fuck sakes.

During the 2nd century B.C., it is believed that the ancient Romans came up with the brilliant idea of giving a betrothal ring in lieu of giving the bride-to-be money or a valuable object (in effect, BUYING her, but with something worth LESS than cold hard cash). According to Pliny the Elder, the groom first gave the bride a gold ring to wear during the betrothal ceremony and at special events (because even back then, people cared what their neighbours thought of them, it would seem), then he would give her an iron ring to wear at home, which served to signify her binding legal agreement to his ownership of her. Well, that’s romantic a.f. Yes?

Enter, the diamond.

So, we trudge through history, wearing our iron bands, until 1477 when the uber-romantic and and completely politically manipulated Maximilian I, soon-to-become-the Holy Roman Emperor, presented the first documented diamond engagement ring to Mary, the daughter of his father’s chief political opponent, the reigning duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold. As the story goes, Duke The Bold, had but one daughter, who was called Mary of Burgundy, and Frederick III (Maximilian’s pop) was hell-bent to secure his son to her through marriage, in order to forestall military conflict.

Honestly. What woman could say no to an offer like that? Well, maybe a lot of women could. Like, I don’t know, just about every single woman? So, to sweeten the pot and Maximilian throws some diamonds in the shape of Mary’s first initial on that band of ownership he was hoping to win her hand with, and yeah, she (or her father) consented to the marriage. Ugh.

Although my purpose in this series is really to look at why I am (and many other people are) so obsessed with having, owning and wearing a sparkly diamond on my (her) left hand, the story of Max and Mary is fascinating, so I am going to continue this trip down memory lane bit longer, in the name of history. And in the name of it’s my blog and I can if I want to *spoiled brat moment exhausted now*.

Okay, so Max and Mary get married, and he gave her the diamond ring that would become the beginning of the end for potential grooms the world over, and then, wouldn’t you know it, they also lock into a pre-nuptual agreement (these fuckers were beyond forward-thinking, yes?) that stipulated that only the children of bride and groom had a right to inherit from each, not the surviving parent. Mary tried to bypass this asinine rule with a promise to transfer territories as a gift in case of her death, but her plans were confounded. After Mary’s death in a “riding accident” on 27 March 1482 (a mere four-a-half-years later), Maximilian turned his aim on securing the inheritance to one of his and Mary’s (dare I say, favourite) children, none other than Phillip the Handsome. I want to leave the story here, but I cannot.  Not before I note that Mary gave birth to three children during her brief marriage to Maximilian, the eldest two survived her. They were Philip the Handsome and Margaret. Yup, that’s it. Just Margaret. Not Margaret the Beautiful or Margaret the Brave, just plain Margaret. But Max and Mary loved their children equally. I mean, of course they did. When Mary died, Handsome inherited a world and two-year-old Margaret was shipped off to France, to marry the Dauphin, in an attempt to please Louis XI not to invade the territories owned by Mary of Burgundy. Because of course she was.

It is interesting to note that Mags outlived Handsome by almost 25 years. She went on to do amazing bad bitch work and helped pave the way for women rulers. She married twice and was widowed twice. Overcome by grief, she threw herself out of a window when her second husband died. One can assume she really loved that second husband quite a bit more than the first. But, as people often do, she survived throwing herself out the window and lived 26 more years, to the ripe age of 50 (Handsome and his devilish ways died at age 28). Magnificent Mags (as I’ve come to think of her), died after a splinter of glass became embedded in her foot which in turn made her foot gangrenous. While awaiting amputation surgery, she was overdosed on opium, which had been administered as a painkiller prior to surgery. Well. It certainly killed her pain, now didn’t it? Fucking narcotics. R.I.P. Magnificent Maggie.

Well, I am emotionally exhausted now, so with luck (and a wee bit of ADHD medication), I should be able to wrap this series up in the next post and maybe, just maybe, gain some insight and closure on my own quest for that elusive ice (which, incidentily is also slang for meth, so to be clear, I am not looking for meth, I just want a big diamond). Fucking narcotics always ruin everything.

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 that I can manage to pull off.

Engagement rings, history and searching for answers – Part 1 of 3

This is a trilogy of posts looking at the history of engagement rings and what they really mean.

Getting married? Want to get married? Already married?

I was. I kind of did. Then I really did. Then I did and so I remain.

I got married without an engagement ring. Honestly, I never really thought that I would get married, I knew that I would have children, but marriage? It was a foreign concept to me. That said, I always knew that if I did one day get married, it would involve a HUGE dazzler on my finger. I never pictured myself in a big white dress and having a huge wedding, attended by people I barely knew, but of the ring, I was certain. And aside from my natural obsession and attraction to shiny things, I always just wanted a seriously big diamond ring. And like so many other people, I felt that a beautiful, sparkly rock on my finger would let other people know at a glance that;

1) I was loved and desired (and therefore worthy of their attention);

2) that I was worth A LOT as a person (because a bad or worthless person surely would not have such a beautiful ring? *insert eye roll here*);

3) that I was special enough for someone to spend a whack of cash (at least two MONTH of his salary, right?) on to gift me something so coveted and valuable; and

4) That I was finally pretty enough, smart enough, sexy enough, funny enough, just plain GOOD enough and someone amazing had sealed his promise to love me unconditionally forever by putting his money where his mouth was and I had the 1.5+Ct VVS1 or better, white gold/platinum, 3+ total carat weight knuckle duster to prove it.

Now, I don’t need you to tell me that this kind of thinking is some seriously twisted shit. I can read. I get it.

I have been married over a decade now, and there is no engagement ring in sight. We had a small, perfect ceremony (we eloped locally) and I would not have changed a thing (except perhaps to extend an invitation to our respective parents). Even so, it has always nagged at me that I do not have an engagement ring, that I lack that one, seemingly very important cultural symbol of love. What does it mean? Does it mean that I was not (am not) special enough or worth enough to deserve the very splashy and public declaration of love that only an expensive, flashy ring screams? It has bothered me so much so that over the years, I have started various savings funds to purchase my ‘dream ring’ for myself. But those funds always end up being needed for the family, so I use them happily and start again.

Recently though, I’ve been thinking – is my internal struggle over having an engagement ring about me, for my ego or well-being or it is for the benefit of others? Would it enhance my life or would it merely give me the false belief that other people will perceive me to be a ‘better’ or ‘more worthy’ person? Would it make marriage easier, would it make any difference in the day-to-day realities of being married? Would it mean that my husband loved me more or better than he did before the ring?

And the answer is, I just do not know. But I do know that I want to learn and understand how the engagement ring became such ‘a thing’ and how it came to represent of love and the worth of a woman within our society. Because if I can understand those things, then maybe I can get honest about the origins of my motivation and determination to have one of my very own.

The next two blog posts in this mini-series will explore some of the history behind the engagement ring ritual and try to sort out fact from fiction and meander through through centuries-old relationship drama (spoiler alert: not a hell of a lot has changed in the past 600 years). And by the end of it all, I hope to have a better idea of what I am really searching for and if it can really be found at the top of a band of gold.

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 that I can manage to pull off.

Are you kidding me? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Every now and then, I get a wake up call that serves to show me that what I had always suspected is true. Sometimes it’s an accidental wake up. Other times, I go looking for it. And sometimes, it’s forced upon me after willfully hiding from it forever.

It’s no secret that I have a long-standing fear and avoidance relationship with having my picture taken. I can sometimes take one of myself, and if I do, I’m usually surrounded (read: protected) by my children, but generally, as soon as someone wants to take my picture, or there is a video recording being taped, my anxiety begins to rise and I start looking for a way OUT. I could spend an entire post psychoanalyzing WHY I’m photo-adverse, but that’s not the point of this post, so I’ll leave that for another angst-filled day.

No, the point of this post is to say “what the fuck, guys?!? Why didn’t any of you tell me that I have gotten THIS far out of control and that I’m walking around looking like a frumpy, middle-aged, worn down and tired out sack of shit?” But that was too long for the title, so I’m just putting it out there now.

Seeing myself on video, without the protective shield of my children was painful, embarrassing, uncomfortable and just plain, UGH. The fact that the video was for a school assignment made it just that much more UGH because I had to share it with other, SIGHTED people

But, you know me (or, if you don’t, you’ll quickly learn that) I’m not one to hold a grudge (ha!), so I’m just going to take it from here and start turning this ship around. No more complacency in my own gluttony and sloth. No more convincing myself that I can eat “just one slice/square/cookie/tub of ice cream.” I can’t. My willpower and self-control is not that highly evolved yet and it is time that I take ownership of that fact and stop being a victim of circumstance and emotions.

So, that said, I’m also a realist in a  lot of ways. I know that the best way for me to fail is to completely swear off sugar, white flour, junk food, pizza, and desserts forever. So I’m not doing that. I’m going to take a more mindful approach to food and what my purpose is in eating whatever it is that I’m about to stuff into  my gob. I have found that more often than not, if I stop and really think about what I’m eating, why I’m eating it and what effect eating it will have on my health, both physical and mental, I can easily resist the urge.

When I was younger, my weight struggles were about vanity and appearances. Now that I’m older, my weight issues are about health and mortality and being fully present for my family. You see, I have this goal to live to be at least 106-years-old and to share a beautiful, triple-layered chocolate cake frosted with pink vanilla buttercream with my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and I am painfully aware that it is going to to take more than a wish and a prayer to get there. It’s going to take mindful, willful, determined effort, and only I can make it happen.

I am a mindless eater. Awareness is half the battle. The other half of the battle will be choosing to switch my modus operandi from mindless to mindful and I’m calling today day one. And I may call tomorrow day one as well. And I may call every day from here on out day one, because as long as I’m trying, I’m not failing. As long as I’m trying, there is hope. As long as I’m trying, I will, eventually, figure out my way through even the hardest of obstacles.

Yes, for some of us, even stairs are an obstacle.

 

The Imperfect Parenting Advocate

Everyday we are all inundated with tales of perfect children being perfectly parented by pristine, perfect parents. As much as I may wish that I could claim even one of those stories of perfection as my own, alas, perfection in any form was not my destiny.

Tonight was a typical Tuesday evening. The kids and I tumbled out of the house juggling Thumb Chucks, bouncy balls, keys, sweaters and whatever else they managed to smuggle into the van and off we headed for an appointment with the foot doctor for one of the boys.

We navigated our way through town and got there with two minutes to spare. Everyone piled into building and the kids all gathered around the water cooler. Moments later, we filed into the examination room and everyone crowded around the patient chair. The kids bickered over who got to sit in the other chair, who got to play with the skeletal model foot until the one kid who was actually there to be examined said “everybody stop looking at my foot!” and the foot doctor kicked the offending three out into the waiting room so that she could continue her job in relative peace.

Once back in the waiting room, two of the boys started to wrestle, so I stepped out and tell them to take it outside. Conveniently, “outside” just happened to be completely visible from the examination room windows, so we were all treated to a shoving match, some screaming, and a tongue-out-spitting finale. Sweet.

Then, my youngest son decided to share this with us: ” ‘K, so at school, I had this plan to get out of doing work.” He pulled up his sleeve to expose a previously skinned elbow and continued. “I was going to pick the scab and make it bleed so that I could go to the office and get a band aid. Buuuuuut Madame had band aids in the classroom.” He shrugged.  “So my plan didn’t work.” He shrugged again and smiled sweetly, clearly having no idea how devious the plan he just shared might sound to the average listener. The foot doctor and I looked at each other and I could tell that she was unsure how I was processing this admission of attempted deception. As usual, wherever possible, I chose to laugh. Because I try to refrain from crying in public. It tends makes people feel uncomfortable and then things are just awkward. And today was one of the few days that I remembered to wear mascara.

Our lovely foot doctor had now been witness to a bar-style brawl in her parking lot and heard a thwarted, yet diabolical plan of a third-grader to avoid doing his school work, and this only represented 3/5 of my children.

Time to head home, our work there was done. I re-arranged the bodies in the minivan for the ride home with the idea of limiting the opportunity for further brother-on-brother violence. This time, I was mostly successful. Only one primal scream for the entire eight minute drive home. #winning.

Needless to say, by the time we pulled into the driveway I was 88 years-old and they were back to laughing and being ridiculous. Good times. Always good times.

And that, my friends, is how a typical half-hour outing goes with my crew. Please form the line up to babysit my babies on the left…

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