Photo Hunt: Nautical

The top two were taken by my hubs on a Summer Scout Camp last summer.  I miss the sun!  The bottom two were taken in Scotland: The one huge grey rain cloud in the sky was probably a dead giveaway . . .

nautical

T13: There’s No Pleasing Everyone


1. Scotland: I miss sausage rolls, cheese & onion pasties and bridies.
America: I’d miss banana cream pies from Marie Callendar’s.
sausage-rolls
2. Scotland: Sometimes, all I want is a decent curry and naan.
America: I’d miss some decent Mexican food.

3.  Scotland: I miss Tesco/Morrison’s, Boots and M&S.
America: I’d miss Target, Pottery Barn and Whole Foods.

4.  Scotland:  I don’t miss the 17.5% VAT (vat=value added tax.  VALUE?!)
America:  I’m tired of paying to see the doctor and pay for prescriptions.

5.  Scotland:  I miss not getting hit by a car because we don’t have right-turn-on-red.
America:  I’d miss being able to get off at an exit (junction) and looping back on, going the opposite way.

6.  Scotland:  I miss referring to paper in A1-A6 sizes.
America:  I like the wider paper here.

7.  Scotland:  I miss reading temps in Celsius.
America:  I’m glad I don’t have to measure in kg and g, since I left right after the conversion from lb/oz.

8.  Scotland:  I miss the salt air, even the rain.
America:  I’d miss the perpetual sunshine.

9.  Scotland:  I miss Tizer, Lilt, strong ginger beer and Red Cola  (it’s red, but not a cola).
America:   I thought I had given up soda?

10.  Scotland:  I’m missing out on DVRs recording onto blank discs.
America:  I’d miss standing on a plug and not breaking my neck or foot.  (That was all I could think of).

11.  Scotland:  I miss perpetual green grass.
America:  I’d miss the variations in typography and environment.

12.  Scotland:  I miss castles, historic sites and buildings over 400 years old.
America:  I don’t have a comeback for that.

13.   Scotland:  I miss public transport.
America:  I wish houses in Scotland/The UK were bigger.

Remember when I wrote the post on creating my own country?  I realised the answer is staring me in the face!  I’m moving to Canada . . . you know, cos the first stint with immigration was so good, I’d like to do it again.

Then The Planets Realigned…

Two days ago, a friend dropped off her 3-year-old girl for a few hours to play while she ran to a morning meeting.  I was ecstatic.  The boys’ bedroom needed some serious attention, and I could get it in better shape if Cameron was distracted by a friend.  It worked.  And apparently, his observation skills were in overdrive too.  You see, she’s in the middle of being potty trained right now, and I was in the bathroom with her 3 times in the space of three hours.  Two were false alarms.

As I was hoovering up the massacred juggling ball (I’ve had since I was 19) that he ripped open with his teeth and spilled the beans everywhere, a miracle occurred: He peed on his potty.  By himself.  And I missed it.  I was a mere 6 feet away.  Wow, I was ecstatic.  We mentioned it for hours. We told Daddy.  We clapped and jumped.  We sang a song.

img_2599It was a fluke, but a great fluke nonetheless.

I’ve had that potty sitting in their bathroom for the past 6 months, just so it’s always in his line of vision.  He’s never really shown much interest in it, but I’m not too concerned, boys are harder to train.  (Do they ever fully train anyway?)

I held him on a pedestal like a prodigy.

Until yesterday.  Yesterday, the planets realigned while I was drying my hair.

glassesHe climbed up on my bed and onto the headboard.  Behind the headboard on one of the window sills were my old standby glasses.  He found them.

Life has returned to normal.  The other lens, incidentally, was found on location at a second site twenty minutes later.  Now, if I ever need glasses, I have a good excuse to get new ones.
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Butter wouldn’t melt….

I Have The Best Husband

I have the best husband.  He rarely watches sport on tv (maybe 4-5 times a year, tops), he cooks fabulous meals — not just barbecue.  I have to say though, he rocks the grill: succulent chicken and juicy, mouth-watering steaks.  He openly admits to not being great with cars, but will read up how to fix something online and do it perfectly.  He cleans (remember, he’s a microbiologist?  It’s really rather very handy), he doesn’t hunt (although I admit it can be handy), he offers foot rubs, back massages and warms my feet in bed; he lifts me up: spiritually and emotionally; he bathes, sings and reads to the boys when he sees I’ve had a hard day.  And from the moment I met him, he gives the best hugs.

He left late Saturday afternoon to go miles south of here for an overnight campout with the Scouts. Like most married people of the womanly persuasion out there, I don’t do very well when he is gone — even if he just pops out for 10 minutes to go pick something up quick from the local rip-off merchants convenience store past the 4-way stop: the only form of traffic control in this aptly-named village of 700.

Ever since we started dating, oh, nine years ago, I felt the luckiest woman alive.  I didn’t have to settle for a quirk or trait that made me uneasy or I showed disdain for.  He was perfect.  For me.  And with that, I have always had this underlying fear that I will lose it all.

Way back when, he used drive 2 hours from University to work every day and then an hour home.  I’d especially worry when the winter months hit.  He made it half-way to work one day, phoned his boss and came home early.  I was surprised and delighted to see him.  With that type of schedule, he’d leave at 7 a.m. and I wouldn’t see him again until 10 that night.

Then he told me what happened, and my fears were justified.

A few cars were at the side of the road, parked at the median having hit black ice.  He slowed down as a precaution and ultimately stopped to offer any assistance.  Nine years ago, it’s weird to think that mobile phones weren’t as prevalent, but it’s true.  He offered his phone to a few who needed  it.

Suddenly, there was a noise that stopped time.

He looked up to see a car barrelling towards him at highway speed and quickly vaulted over the concrete median.  Seconds later, the car spun in undulating circles and smashed into the spot where he had been standing just moments earlier.

I have had a mantra since we’re been married: Tell him you love him every day.  Tell him you love him every day like you’ve never said it before.  Appreciate each day as it comes.  Appreciate it with a warm, encompassing embrace.

When he returned home yesterday just after noon — and in theory only 20 hours later — it felt like months.  We have been separated before, the longest being 3½ weeks, almost 4 when he came to Montana to start his new job, and I stayed behind to sell the house with a 2-year-old and 20 weeks pregnant.  It was rough, but we did it.

Yesterday felt worse than that.  The house was unanchored and quiet — even with the boys, and I felt lost and sullen.  Even worse, I dreaded going to bed and going to sleep.  To spite the bed, I lay facing the window instead of the empty mattress.  It was horrid.

On his return, I embraced him and clung tight, as tight as a sea urchin.  And, in retrospect, the evening was magical.  But not like that.  OK, like that. But, he bathed the boys, did the whole night routine alone and tucked them safely in bed.  I grabbed a DVD we’ve had waiting for a few days and sneaked it into the player.  I had never seen it.  All I knew was, it was good.

Two words:  The Notebook.

I have never openly sobbed so much at a film.  It touched so many truths in my mind and spoke to my heart.  I lay nestled on his chest for its entirety.  After I retrieved it from the player, we stood and embraced each other for ever, crying.

“Promise me.  Promise me you’ll come visit me when I’m old.  Don’t leave me alone.  And if I [get Parkinson’s really bad], promise you’ll come get me.”

I have the best husband.

Photo Hunt: Bridges

This photo was taken in Scotland on a moody (read: normal, except for 2 weeks in July) sky day.  A beautiful half-bridge rainbow framing a turbulent River Clyde.  I miss seeing that everyday.  I miss the fresh, salty air.  This photograph was captured by my husband the day before my Gran died:  A reminder that even when life’s moments are their darkest, there is still something good that comes from it.

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Metamorphosis

What an ogre I was.  The Yuck had left me unyielding and unshifting, someone I’m not.  All since July.

I wasn’t letting the kids be kids.  Too much structure.  Too much control.  Order. Quiet.  Little statues to adorn the sides of my fireplace.  I have chips and a huge dent in the drywall from where my rage got the better of me and I threw a Little People garage towards the safety gate and missed.  A monument to a person I hope is long gone.  Someone I hope is fixed because I decided to change a few things.

And I have much to be thankful for: My health, my home, my family, my friends.  I have been feeling and doing much! better since I started eating better.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m on a diet, because I’m not.  We never really had cakes and biscuits in the house before, and now we have Costco 3-packs of Carr’s (made in Scotland, no less!) Ginger and Lemon Cremes.  Two is a serving.  I know!  Two!  And, I’ve lost weight to boot.  Eight pounds in 3 weeks.  But I swear I’m not dieting.  No, really.  All I have been doing is adhering to serving sizes on the back of the box.  It’s easy for the most part —  except when it comes to pasta.  Two ounces is a serving?  Really?!  I’d be better off buying a Gerber Stage 3 pasta dinner, there’d be more in that tiny jar, let me tell you.  I think Barilla is taking the Micky.  I mean, come on!  Two ounces?  You know they’re sitting in their cushy wee corporate offices with half a pound of farfalle between two of them, laughing till somebody snorts a hunk of it down their nose.

No, but I’m not bitter.  Yep, I’m not.

Who knew?  I’d be feeling dumpy and gloomy, so I’d eat chocolate.  But all that would do is eventually make me feel worse.  So then I’d eat more sugar, and the sinking feelings still weren’t going away. . . I was going around in a circle.  And becoming a circle!

It’s started a revolution.

So.  I’ve decided.  I’m tired of hearing it, so I’m just going to live.

Enjoy being young, you have fit legs, youth is wasted on the young.
Enjoy dating, it’s all serious business and responsibility after you get married.
Enjoy just the two of you, everything changes when you have children.
Enjoy when they’re babies, they grow so fast.
Enjoy them when they’re throwing fits and imploding, they’ll be teenagers soon.
Enjoy being in your 30’s/40’s, don’t take life so seriously now.
Enjoy your grandkids, you can hand them back.
Enjoy retirement.
Enjoy the young, they have fit legs.  Youth is wasted on the young.

I’m stopping it all.  I’m dropping out of the cycle.  Forget it.  I’m living for myself.  I keep hearing “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3) or thinking about how Christ always went to the children first and blessed them.  Or how we should become like little children. I’m letting the kids be kids and enjoying what we have.  Lining up dining chairs and making trains for hours until we get tired of it.  I’m having water fights and making homemade playdough.  They’re eating off of the ‘good’ grown-up plates and drinking from proper glasses that have the potential to smash, but I don’t care so much, because every day is a special occasion.  They’re sitting and laughing with me and getting to know their mother.

Getting to also know she has a sick sense of humour.

I’m playing hide and seek, but not in a cute-come-find-me kinda way.  In the he-can’t-find-me-and-starts-freaking-out way.  Sure, they’ll have abandonment issues and will likely pay thousands to retreive their sanity, but for now, it’s nice to feel wanted.

One of my new favourite things to do is have Ian lie on the carpet and drop cashews into his mouth.  We laugh together when one slides right in.  We giggle and squirm when one bounces off of his teeth or slides down his neck.

We’re all learning and growing, and I couldn’t be happier.

Dog Gone It

Yesterday I had one of those moments where I was paying attention.  I wasn’t harried by the kids or in the middle of something and not paying attention.  I had been in my room and walked out, passing my husband in the kitchen doing the dishes (the dear).  I had a prompting, a little voice, the Spirit, whatever else it’s known as to look for Toby.  I glanced outside through the storm door and couldn’t see him.

“Where’s Toby?”
“He’s outside.”

Again, I felt prompted to investigate.  There have been times where I have let things slide from these ‘little thoughts’:  Move that, Cameron will destroy it, and I haven’t done it, either thinking I would see him and catch him in the act, or the idea of him even getting something out-of-reach was completely insane.  Well, I have paid for it too, believe me.

I listened this time and stood at the back door, tracing the looping of his 30-foot leash snaking in the snow against the blinding non-warm sun and seeing it disappear.  I looked beside the small bush where the part of it I could see was, and he wasn’t there.

Again, I felt compelled to open the door and get out there, despite the -10ºF weather.

Where’s your shoes?  Did you put them away?”
“I have them on–”
“Not those, the brown ones.”
“–I put them away, do you think Toby’s leash snapped?”
“I’m not sure, but I need to check, I just have a feeling–”

At that point, he was at the door, and edging it open.

“There he is, by the bush over there.”

I was looking in completely the wrong direction, thinking he was further off than he really was.

“Toby, come on, let’s go inside!”  Bryan said, lifting the intonation in his voice to chipper level.

It was then that I saw it.  Half a foot of leash attached to his collar, dragging just enough in the snow.  It had snapped — at some point — and he had become loose AND TOTALLY UNAWARE!

He bounced back through our back door, completely oblivious to the sinking feeling edging into my stomach and creeping up my throat.

“How long was he out there?  Long?”
“Yeah, about 15 minutes.”

It may have been small, but that?  That was a miracle.  I have risked life and limb for this dog when he has escaped from me four times, once as he was let loose out the front door by the 4-year-old and chased after the traffic half a block to the end of our road and turned the corner towards and on-coming truck 3 times as big as myself.

I know how lucky we all were and I realised that although that little thing has turned my world upside-down, I love the scruffy little mutt!

I’ll never admit it though.

And while I’m sitting here in denial, I’ll be listening.