Tag Archives: making the best of things

Two Steps Back

Our trip back to our old stomping grounds in Toronto was all at once exciting, fun, sad, exhausting, and surreal.

IMG_3115The surreal part came when we wandered into stores or through our old school and people just smiled and nodded to us as if we’d never left. Very Rip Van Winklish.

The excitement of leaving the city for a great adventure helped us to skim over the sadness of goodbyes last year, but that sadness hit my better half like a Mack truck on this trip. It all came to a head after dinner with her best Toronto friend, when she realized we wouldn’t see her again before we left town. L absolutely lost it, howling with despair and spitting out those fearsome words “Why did we even have to move?!” and “Why didn’t you ask me if we should move?!”


After the tears subsided she rallied somewhat, because she is nothing if not a trooper, but ever since  that night she’s been a bit fragile, especially when it comes to her friends here. We just don’t have as many of them as we did in Toronto, I guess.

Plus when she gazes at the city lights she becomes rapturous. She does love the city.


Enthusiasm Trumps Technique

The big Jump Rope for Heart event at the school unleashed a mad frenzy of activity in the schoolyard…

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I just stood back and took in the scene, which was both epic and hilarious. The amount of actual, real skipping going on amongst those kids was minimal, but the wild abandon more than made up for that. Con mucho gusto…DSC07860 DSC07867

It’s all about the form…DSC07873

I’ve never seen someone cover so much ground while skipping.DSC07875 DSC07877 - Version 2 DSC07887 DSC07888

Another lesson from my life coach about doing things your own way. And having fun.

Rain. Rain. Rain. Snow. Slush. Rain. Rain. Repeat.

NOT me today.

NOT me today.

Just when I was thinking that living here had no downside, we get a day like today, which can really only be described as über-crappy.

Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain.

It was so miserable I didn’t even take a photo of it.

(The boss, on the other hand, was quite pleased with the weather because they got to stay inside at lunch time and watch a movie!)

I can hear it now… pounding pounding pounding relentlessly on the roof…  aieeeee!

former BC logo, recently discarded, presumably on a day like today!

former BC logo, recently discarded, presumably on a day like today!

Snow – Housebound, With Projects

I’m so glad to be proven wrong – down below us the snow is nearly all gone, but up here on the mountain it lasted through the night and all of today as well. It’s plus 2, so it has continued to melt slowly all day. I can hear little streams trickling and running everywhere in the thick brush, invisible but noisy.

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I notice that the cedars have all shaken off their snow, with those big floppy branches of theirs.


My darling little workshop/office…


Too bad I couldn’t get out there to work today – the Boss was home from school recuperating from a bad cold. Even though she lost her voice for the past couple of days, that did not prevent her from constantly trying to tell me things. Once when I was outside fetching wood – how rustic! – I heard a knocking… I thought it was a woodpecker but it was just her in the doorway, imperiously rapping on the side of the house to get my attention!

Even though we didn’t go out to play in the white stuff today, we were quite industrious. Prompted by an app which rewards (virtual) badges for completing challenges, the Boss – who would tackle advanced calculus if there was a badge to be earned – took over the kitchen to complete “Learn How to Use a Knife” and “Make Stew” challenges. (Fantastic app: DIY.org. Suitable for age 5 to adult.)


After this exercise – an excellent lesson for me in when-to-just-take-a-deep-breath-and-walk-away – she wanted to move on to the Stew challenge.  So I gave her a few more potatoes to cut up, and coached her as she chucked a whole lot of stuff into the slow cooker, et voila! She made supper!


Any impulse to learn to cook MUST be encouraged in any way possible, I figure. And while these things totally depend on the focus, maturity, and klutz-level of the individual child, it seems to me that 6 is a fairly good age to allow a child to handle large knives.

One last Christmas baking project for the evening and the day was done:


Best quote of the day from the Boss: “I didn’t know what you were going to say next, but I knew it wouldn’t be important.” (I’m so glad she’s gotten her voice back.)

And one last highlight of the day: I finally caught a glimpse of deer dashing through our yard – three of them bounding up the driveway and disappearing behind the workshop. Lots of other little tracks in the snow, crisscrossing the yard – we must become wildlife detectives next.

One fun challenge follows the next. Life is good.

The Story of a Tree

This year I had the brainwave of digging up a Christmas tree from our new property, putting it in a pot, and keeping it to use every year. So green! So sustainable! So… virtuous!

And so, this weekend we set out in the rain and sleet – Grandpa with his shovel, me with my camera, and the Boss with her artistic eye. (And the other one as well.)

After much bushwhacking and trudging around getting muddy and wet, we picked out this gem…

It looked so full-bodied...

It looked so full-bodied in amongst the other trees…

... so we dug it up.

… so we dug it up.

Out Charlie Browning Charlie Brown's tree.

Out Charlie Browning Charlie Brown’s tree.

A little better, I guess...

A little better, I guess…

Step 71: Handle Last-Minute Disasters

I’m breezin’ my way through the last day’s chores, drop the key off at the lawyer’s, take a box of non-perishables to the food bank, return library books… we’re busy, but accomplishing things more or less on schedule.

Then we drop a load of stuff off at the Goodwill, and the car won’t restart. I sit there totally stunned. In a bizarre stroke of luck, I hear a familiar voice – behind me in the Goodwill lot is one of our neighbours. He recommends a garage that’s just across the street! Okay, so maybe my luck isn’t so bad.

The Volvo needs a new alternator. But I wanted to leave town in about two hours! The Boss and I leave the car behind and walk home. Oh wait, did I mention it is hot? Brutally, blazingly, scorchingly, brain-sizzlingly hot?

We stop along the way for lunch. The Boss is ecstatic at the prospect of food from the 7-11. (No sarcasm here. She is 6, eminently capable of excitement over such a thing.) As we sit on the curb with our hot dogs (oorg) I had to reflect that this whole episode might be considered more of an adventure than a disaster. Well, you have to think so on a day like that, really, just to stay sane.

And, after all, my car broke down in town, mere yards from an excellent garage, instead of somewhere in the barrens of northern Ontario. That ain’t so unlucky.

Anyway, in a mere two hours I’m back at Dublin Motors and Mack-with-the-real-Irish-accent hands me back my keys. The car is fixed.

“I hear you’re leavin’ town today,” says he.

“Yeah. We’re driving to B.C.” says I.

“Wha? In the Volvo?” he asks, incredulous.


“Ah geez. (sympathetic pause) Well, good luck to yeh then.”

(The automotive snafu, painless as it was, was just another reason for our last day going off the rails, time-wise.)

(And, by the by, our 20-year-old car operated flawlessly for, oh, the next two thousand miles or so!)

Step 63: Accept Chaos as Inevitable

Moving Day. It came, it went, and here’s the nugget of wisdom I have gleaned from that experience:

Unless you are some kind of minimalist freak with no possessions, Moving Day will Always be a Train Wreck.

It doesn’t matter if you start packing and organizing six months in advance. It doesn’t matter if you are pathologically methodical about it. It doesn’t even matter if you have a killer packing list app. No matter what your state of preparedness, the last day will be a crazy mess. And you will be a crazy mess too, flinging things into boxes willy nilly and dashing about on the brink of total mental and physical collapse.

Despite all your hard work and cleverness, Moving Day will be a disaster. Accept this, take a deep breath and move on…

Step 45: Live With the Boxes

a bouquet fresh from a friend’s garden