PSA: Peanuts and shells found in finger holes of brand new baseball glove.

This sounds stupid, I know. While I admit that I am often not the last one to make a big deal over nothing, and I acknowledge upfront that none of my children (knock on wood) suffer from a peanut or other airborne anaphylactic allergy, so no one was hurt in this case, I do need to be able to sleep at night so I’m sharing this story as a precautionary tale to other parents, grandparents, or really any one who is shopping for or with a child.

Last night, one of my sons went with his grandmother to pick out a belated birthday present. They ended up at the Newmarket Canadian Tire, where he found the “perfect” baseball glove (after trying them all, plus three previous stores). They purchased the glove and brought it home.

When he showed it to me, I tried it on – it is a nice glove, the leather feels good, the glove has good action, he made a good choice. But then, at the tips of my fingers, I could feel something hard. I asked what it was and they said “oh, we think that’s just some shipping material.” But it felt hard and sharpish to me, wooden-like, so I kept at it and managed to pull a little piece out. “That looks like a peanut shell to me.” I said to no one in particular, and my curiosity peaked, I carried on.

As you can see from the pictures, in the end, I managed to pull out three complete peanuts plus a lot of shell. These were not there by mistake and they were not easy to remove. I was unable to remove all of the nuts and remnants of the shell remained. We chose to return the glove to Canadian Tire, along with the peanuts (as proof) and exchange it for a new one.

The nagging thought though, would not stop. What IF one my kids had a life-threatening peanut allergy and had stuck his or her hand into that glove in the store? What then?

So, while in this case, no one was hurt (and I am endlessly thankful that it was our family who brought the glove home and not a family with a vulnerable member), I am using the experience as a catalyst to remind everyone that there are some thoughtless, careless or just plain deranged people out there. Carefully check anything your child is going to try on their bodies before they do, just to try to ensure that it hasn’t been ‘pranked’ or tampered with by either some reckless kid or by some ill-meaning adult.

When we returned the glove to our local Canadian Tire, we were sure to request that they alert the Newmarket location so they can have their staff go through the rest of their shelf stock to ensure there are no other gloves that have been tampered with, but just leaving it there was not going to let me sleep at night (and I like to sleep).

Outside of the glove, perfectly brand new, and no appearance that anything is amiss.
The baggie of peanuts and shell that I managed to pull out of the fingers of the brand new baseball glove.
Remnants of peanut shells inside the glove (and there was still at least another whole peanut that I could not remove in one of the fingers).

Please share and pass along this post. I would hate to see a story next week or next month that a child was hurt, hospitalized or even died because another instance similar to this one.

P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.
xx

Have you had an Amazon package go missing from your front door?

Indulge me, please. This is going to be a wee bit of a meandering story, and I did not take pictures, (the reasons which I hope will become apparent as we go through this) and the content of parts of the story are not PG-13, so mind any young, literate humans in your vicinity while you read this.

Mistakes were made.

Today is a beautiful day here. The sun is shining, it’s 12C and it’s neither windy nor raining (it being a sunny day would not automatically rule either of the latter two conditions out), and so I decided to head outside for a walkabout. This would turn out later to be mistake number one.

Of note, I live in a relatively sparsely populated area, surrounded by forest and farmland. I believe that I can count on one hand the number of houses within a 15 minute walk of my home. It is beautiful and I love it. Unfortunately and for reasons completely unknown to me, other people like to drive around the area and dump various garbage as they go. On a typical day, I can expect to see littering the ditches and edges of farmers fields a vast number of fast food bags and cups, drink containers, beer cans, empty liquor bottles, construction waste and the like. Today was the same, but different.

As I was nearing the major cross-street in order to make the turn to complete the third leg of the giant block I was walking (it’s approximately a 2 km block), I noticed, in the ditch, an overturned Amazon box. It had clearly been there for a while, given how weathered the box appeared, but I could see that it still contained some of the plastic packaging Amazon uses to cushion their deliveries. I admit to having driven by this box any number of times over the course of the past weeks and not stopping. Today though, on foot, it occurred to me that perhaps this box had been stolen from someone’s front porch and if that was the case, perhaps I could help reunite that person with their package or at least give them an idea of what happened to it so they could have some closure (rather than just the blind rage I’m sure one feels when his mail is stolen from his front door). I decided to take a closer look. Mistake number two.

I stepped down into the ditch (luckily, not in a deep area of the ditch). The box was upside down, but open, so lifted the flap and saw something pink. Was it a children’s toy? It looked largish, maybe a toy pink head or something? Toys today are so weird. I lifted the flap a little further and lifted and saw a brand new-looking white USB-type cord, clear plastic bags (as most Amazon purchases are in when shipped) and more the pink item. It was not head. I had the wrong end of things. My mind quickly computed the situation and my hand let go of the box and I stepped back.

It was then that I noticed an open small black garbage bag wedged under a corner of the box. Protruding from the bag was an opened blue cardboard box with the word “Fleshlight” written in white lettering. No, that is not a typo. Needless to say, I did not touch the bag, nor investigate further. I stepped out of the ditch, completely grossed out just as a pickup truck, driven by an elderly gentleman rolled past. Ugh. My luck. Always my luck, I thought to myself. Well, I can only hope a) that he does not return to the site later to see what I was looking at and b) that he does not think that I was the one leaving that stuff there.

After the pickup truck turned the corner, I had another thought. I had only seen the bottom of the box. What if the shipping label was still on the top of the box? Without thinking further, I stepped back into the ditch and lifted the box enough to see the shipping label. It was still attached. The recipient’s name and address had been blacked out with a Sharpie marker. I was quite pleased to see that though, because I quickly realized that I really didn’t want to know who this box belonged to because SO AWKWARD. I’ve found things that belonged to other people before and have always been happy to deliver the news that I found their item and return it to them, but this? Ugh. I dropped the corner of the box again and stepped back out of the ditch, to resume walking.

I debated with myself about going back to take pictures, but asked myself why? Could I in good conscious post such pictures? Would a picture really make it ‘more real’? No, I decided. I really don’t want pictures of sex toys on my phone alongside pictures of my children, cat and cookies. Ewwwww.

In the end, I decided to come home and somehow impart the information to the locals, but also to use this incident as a bit of a platform to encourage some small change.

So, what do I want people to know?

First, if you’re local to Georgina and you have been unfortunate enough to have an Amazon delivery of male-oriented sex toys (large-size shipping box, but Amazon is notorious for using crazy big boxes for single, small items, so no way to tell how many toys the box once contained), your box and the remains of your order are in a ditch. If you’d like to retrieve them, message me and I’ll tell you where the ditch is. No judgement, to each his own.

Secondly, if you are local to or visiting Georgina and have the inclination to steal deliveries from private residences, (and I do not condone nor encourage you in this inclination) and you discover that the items therein do not meet with your approval or personal tastes, kindly either return the box to the house from which you removed it or if offended by the stolen booty that you feel compelled to dispose of the items, please use one of the town serviced garbage cans which are abundant throughout Georgina. These garbage receptacles can be found in all parks, town properties, and even a mere 3 minute drive down the road from where this box of treasure was found. Leaving NSFW-materials where children and families often walk and ride is irresponsible and reprehensible. Be better.

Thirdly, and perhaps finally, we all make mistakes. Some of us make bigger mistakes than others. Some mistakes we make are small. Some are embarrassing. Some are hurtful and some are innocent. Some are even illegal. Since whoever is stealing Amazon packages from homes has gone with the latter, I can only suggest that you limit the amount of harm you are doing while pursuing this misdirected choice. I do not pretend to know the who, what, where or why about that box in the ditch, but I do know that stealing is a big enough mistake without compounding it with littering and risking the emotional well-being of others, namely children. Do better.

Actually, no, there is one last thing.

This is not the first time that I have had the misfortune to see a discarded sex toys on the road in this area. The first time, a summer or two back, another male-oriented sex toy was laying smack-dab in the middle of the road baking on the tarmac and I could not, for the life of me, figure out who could possibly be driving around with sex toys in his vehicle and deciding that toy was suddenly so offensive that it must be immediately flung out the window and out of his life. I’ll likely never know (and I’m really super okay with that). But whoever you are, please stop. To you, noticing lack of subdivision houses may mean that no one lives here, but you’re wrong. People do live here. Animals live here. Families live here. So if you are unwilling to throw whatever you are tossing out your window into your own backyard (and clearly you are quite unwilling to do that, since you keep doing it here), then please do not throw it in our backyards either.

(This, of course, also goes for the (as yet unseen) person who walks around the area drinking beer after beer, and crushing and throwing the cans in the ditch or on the roadside every day. Bring a big and take your empties home with you, we don’t want them. Or better yet? Drink and stay at home).

So, while this is totally not a post about Easter, and is actually pretty icky when I think about it, I am going to just put this here because snuggly bunnies just make things better.
xx


P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.
xx


Sometimes, while driving, the “JERK!” is you. This time it was me.

Dear Guy in the Pick up Truck Leaving the Parking Lot,

The time was approximately 6:43pm on Thursday evening. I was pulling into the parking lot off of Civic Centre Road, while you were waiting to pull out of the same  parking lot onto the road. I failed to signal my turn. It was 28C (after reaching a high of 35C earlier in the day) and both of my front windows were open. As I turned into the lot, you said, loudly enough to ensure that I heard you, “nice signal.” Kind of snide, maybe unnecessary, definitely infuriating, but you weren’t wrong. I was.

Without hesitation or a moment of self-reflection, and for that split second, without regret I answered, equally snidely and loudly enough to ensure that you heard me, “Oh, shut up!” Then, for a few seconds, we were driving parallel to one another, you on the road, me in the parking lot, separated by the tree-lined grassy swale. I saw you look over and with my arm out the window, hanging down the side of my door (out of sight of my children, but still, right?), I flipped you off.

A moment later, I parked my minivan, unpacked my brood, found a spot at a picnic table beside the pitch my son would be playing at and finally, after a very long, full day that started at 6:30 am with four kids, and peaked three hours before soccer with a drive to and from Thornhill during rush hour, while one kid puked in a  bag and the other three alternated between squabbling, singing too loudly and starting car games with ever-changing rules (sometimes all at once), I finally had a moment to breathe in deeply.

And then I was mortified. At the exchange that I had just participated in and escalated with you, a complete stranger. So I am writing this letter of apology, to you, the guy in the pick up truck, leaving the soccer fields by the ROC on Thursday evening. I was in the wrong, I didn’t signal my turn and caused you to delay your turn onto the roadway unnecessarily. What if you were just trying to get home after a long day of your own? In that moment, I didn’t care. I was fed up with being in a car, I was inconsiderate and thoughtless. Rather than throwing out a quick (yet sincere) apology to acknowledge how I inconvenienced you, I reacted defensively, even aggressively. In that nano-second, I justified it with righteous indignation  because how dare YOU have the NERVE to call me out on my mistake/shitty choice/inconsiderate action?

I behaved in a way that is diametrically opposed to everything that I believe in. In direct opposition to the lessons that I spend my days teaching and encouraging my children to learn about how to react to criticism, real or imagined, deserved or harsh. About how to deal with conflict and how to treat others.

So, I owe you an apology. I am sorry. The lady in the blue minivan was 100% in the wrong and you were right.

I will use this event as a learning moment for myself and endeavour to govern myself with the dignity, grace and kindness to which I aspire. Especially in situations when I’m (rightfully) called out for being the jerk.

I wish you a trouble-free day on the roads and the safest travels.

Yours truly,
The imperfect, over-tired, over-heated, and grumpy minivan driver.

P.S. If it makes you feel any better, I was faced with the most obnoxious and unnecessary high beams from an oncoming car on the way home later that evening. I pulled over to the side of the road to wait (driving blind is ill-advised) and didn’t flip the bird as they passed.

***************************

Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including mockery.

 


A disappointing find: Retail price cover ups in broad daylight

Oh Rexall, how you have let me (read: everyone) down.

I spend quite a bit of time making sure to find the best value for each and every one of our household budget dollars. I purchase very few things at full retail price and stockpile when regularly used items go on sale. I shop store sales, clearance racks, use coupon, price match and collect various ‘points’ programs in order to stretch our money further. This week, I ran out of children’s vitamin D supplements for my smalls, so while in Rexall (not my usual drug store), I noticed that they appeared to have a special on vitamins; some are buy one, get one 50% off, others are promoting an Airmiles special; spend $30, get 30 Airmiles.  I will also admit that after the big Airmiles shake up last year, they are no longer one of my go-to points programs, but still, if the price is the same or close to that of my usual store, why not take advantage of the Airmiles offer, right?

Wrong. So wrong. First of all, the regular price listed was crazy high, approximately $4 higher than other stores ‘regular’ retail price (and remember, I only buy on sale, so the listed price was around $5 more than I usually pay). I was curious though and lifted the ‘special’ sticker and this is what I found:

Soooooo. I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that the ACTUAL, regular retail price for these vitamins at Rexall is $9.29 but when they run a sale, they increase the regular price to $10.49, or $1.20 more? This is feeling a bit shady. I am pretty  sure that I want to pay $1.20 above regular price for a bottle of vitamins for the mere ‘benefit’ of receiving 30 Airmiles, if I spend a total of $30 of over-priced vitamins.

Quickly deciding that I would not be buying the vitamins at Rexall today, I was curious if other vitamin prices had been similarly changed. I randomly checked four more labels on the same wall of shelves and two were the same on both labels (yay!), the other two? Not so much. Boo.

These are some quite significant price hikes on ‘sale’ items. It would appear that the premium for receiving those 30 Airmiles far exceeds the value of the products on offer.

Now, I am not an expert on consumer law in Ontario, but I do know that when I find a store is artificially raising prices to ‘pay’ for incentive programs or offers, I shop elsewhere.

I don’t know if this is fraudulent, acceptable or normal retailer behaviour, but I do know that these practices just feel wrong and dishonest to me. Like neon leg warmers, frizzy perms and parachute pants of the 1980’s; it may not actually be wrong, but it sure looks like something that someone should be apologizing for.

~A.

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 far too many days right now, micro-blogging is all that I can manage to pull off.


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.