Category Archives: good times

Sadness in Berenstain Bear land

I read today (with much sadness) that Jan Berenstain, co-creator of The Berenstain Bears, died late last week at the age of 88.

Oh, the memories I have of reading through the books she created alongside her husband Stan.

The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit. The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race. The Berenstain Bears Go to School. The Berenstain Bears and the Truth. Forget Their Manners. Learn about Strangers. Get the Gimmies. No Girls Allowed. And the Messy Room. And on and on and on. We had one bazillion copies of the books lying around our house. My brothers and I spent hours reading and re-reading them. What fun adventures those bears went on!

While my LO isn’t old enough to read, yet, she’s old enough to listen, and I look forward to sharing The Berenstain Bears collection with her.

Thanks for the memories, Jan!

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Riding in a car with a kid

Travelling takes on a new meaning when you have a kid.

Before kids, people say, “When I have a kid, the kid will go wherever I go, whenever I go and having said kid won’t change my lifestyle.”

Some of that musing is true. Like, yes, “the kid will go wherever you go, whenever you go” because leaving said kid home alone is frowned upon. But, the whole lifestyle-not-changing thing?

Ha! Haha. Hahahahahahahaha!

That’s a good joke.

An 11-day trip (6 hours away) that once required a suitcase and handbag has become two giant Rubbermaid tubs, a stroller, a Pack ’n Play, a suitcase, a handbag, a laptop bag (to Skype with Daddy) a diaper bag and a spare bag filled with anything else you could possibly imagine an infant needing while outside the house.

Also there’s a car seat complete with kiddo who may or may not be sleeping.

THAT’S the trickiest part of travelling: determining if your kiddo will or will not be sleeping.

Sleeping? Fabulous. Pedal to metal! No stopping for anything. Not sleeping? Ugh. Be prepared for possible silence, jabbering, squealing and/or ear-piercing screaming. Any of which may or may not be accompanied by tears.

Thankfully, on her first road trip, my kiddo fell into the “sleeping” category. Meaning, while in her car seat she mostly slept from Point A to Point B. Sleepy McGee slept for 4 hours, ate, slept for 3.5 hours, ate and slept for another 2 hours.

Wow. Did. That. Trip. Rock. Seriously.

And the trip home? Just as fabulous. Minus the “Hey, Momma! I’m choking back here!,” the police officer pulling Momma over because she was speeding while determining if the kiddo was still spitting up and the jerk who almost side-swiped our vehicle while looking at his cell phone. Awesome.

Perhaps installing a “Baby On Board” sign would ward off the idiot drivers?

Ha! Likely no (and no way would I ever install one of those).

Here’s to hoping/praying our kiddo continues to love travelling about in a car!

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And there goes 2010

I can distinctly remember standing in my brother’s bedroom and declaring that I had eight years left until I graduated from high school. Eight years.

Eight years is forever when you’re in the fourth grade.

I was the kid who HATED school, so, yes, I started counting down to graduation at an early age. Seven years left. Six years left. Five years left. You get the idea. I’m not sure why I was counting down because, in retrospect, high school graduation was but a blip on my timeline.

But, I didn’t know that until I lived a bit more of my future and realized time really hadn’t been standing still. It was moving. And, now that I’m an adult, can it please just slow down a little bit?

Wasn’t it just 2009? What happened to 2010? Why, I’ll tell you.

It’s been a pretty full year. I can hardly wait to see what 2011 brings.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Larry, Larry Quite Contrary

I will give you one guess as to what my husband’s newest hobby is. Just one.

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Whistle while you work

Nothing says "happy" like whistling a tune.

There’s a whistler in the office. And, every so often, a ditty floats in my door. Which makes me smile. Why? Because, whistlers are happy people. And, working with happy people is a good thing.

Remember Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Snow White made working way cooler by mixing in whistling.

Just whistle while you work
(humming.. whistling)
And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place
So hum a merry tune (humming)
It won’t take long when there’s a song to help you get the pay

And as you sweep the room
Imagine that the broom
Is someone that you love
And you’ll find you’re dancing to the tune

When hearts are high
The time will fly so
Whistle while you work

So whistle while you work…

That Snow White. What a woman! She mixed in a whistle, and the boys cheered right up. Even Grumpy. Also, a menagerie showed up on the doorstep to help her clean. Which makes me wonder: Is my co-worker’s whistling a cry for help? A call to action?

Hard to say. Either way, whistle away.

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Goodbye, Europe!

Dear, Zsofi in Hungary. You live 4,446 miles from me. Please move closer.

I miss you already.

As you’re reading this, I’m in the process of flying home from what I suspect (this was written in advance) was a fabulous time in Eastern Europe.

Prague. Vienna. Budapest.

Oh, the travels! The sights! The people! The fun!

I can hardly wait to tell you all about it. But first, I have about a gazillion miles and hours of flights to get through.

Stay tuned.

In the meantime, think of ways for me to help convince my Hungarian pal Zsofi to move closer to me.

Canada is nice, don’tchya know? And, I’ve heard OK things about the United States…

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Where is July going?

July started off with a bang! But, doesn't it always?

It’s July 7, and I haven’t posted one thing this entire month. Yet. Maybe because this month took off with a bang. BANG! BANG! BANG! And, I haven’t had time to catch my breath yet. Or, maybe, I’ve simply had nothing to post about.

I’m going with the former.

First, there was the G20 Summit in Toronto and all the excitement it brought to the city. And, the riveting, edge-of-my-sofa-seat, moment-by-moment coverage by CBC News and 680 News. “The protesters are getting closer to the buildings. The protesters are now on the sidewalks next to the buildings. The protesters look to be reaching for something in their pockets. Possibly something to throw at the buildings? Something to hurl at the windows, to break them? Something to show their displeasure with the police and security guards and G20 leaders? Oh, those are cameras.”

Sure, the summit took place at the very end of June, but its coverage by the news networks continues. As does coverage of the filing of lawsuits by protestors. “Were the police in the wrong? Was too much force used against protestors? Were protestors rights’ violated? Did the police act unlawfully against those who were burning cars, breaking into businesses and causing massive destruction?” And, of course, the unending attempts to answer the most popular question: “On what, exactly, did the city spend the summit’s $1 billion price tag?”
It’s a real conundrum.

Then, we had friends over for dinner. Very fun. Then, there was the giant bake-off leading up to Canada Day and prep work for the barbecue that we had with other friends and their children. The weather was perfect; the company was lovely; the leftovers were plentiful.

Really, stop by, and I’ll share some with you. Buckeye candies, anyone? How about a hotdog bun?

Then, there was the first anniversary of our wedding on July 4. “What?” you ask. “Didn’t you have a wedding anniversary back in April?” Oh, yes, we did. But, July 4 is the day we publically celebrated our marriage and put on a fantastic show wedding. Really. It was fantastic. And, July 4 is the day we’ve chosen to actually commemorate our anniversary, because, let’s face it; having multiple anniversaries is just plain confusing. And, July 4 is pretty hard to forget. July 4 = fireworks and marriage = fireworks, right? Can’t forget that.

We celebrated our anniversary a day early by taking a trip to Stratford, Ontario, which hosts the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Each year, 10 or so theatrical productions (some Shakespeare-related, some not) are performed throughout the months of summer and early fall. If you ever get the chance to visit, do it! Stratford is such a beautiful town with plenty to see and do. Cute shops. Cute cafés. A cute river to walk along. Cute, cute, cute.

We took in a performance of The Tempest, starring the one-and-only-very-awesome Christopher Plummer. He was fantastic, as was the rest of the cast. But, Christopher Plummer. Come on! You can’t not go see Christopher Plummer in whatever he’s performing in, and the part of Prospero was tailor-made for him.

I feel like singing “The Hills are Alive” just thinking about him.

Following the performance, we had dinner at Langdon Hall, where we were married. Also, a wonderful place with wonderful grounds, a wonderful ambiance and wonderful food.

There was a lot of wonderfulness going on that day.

On our actual anniversary day, we did yard work. It was warm. It was humid. It was holy hotness with a side of sweltering. But, it was fun.

Then, the heat wave stuck around. And, the Queen of England came to town. And, Toronto had a power outage. Not the best showing for the Queen’s appearance, but she seemed to have a good time. Even if she did re-wear a gown to dinner one evening. Thankfully, I had CBC News to keep me up-to-the-second-updated with all the goings-on. “We have no power in our newsroom. You can see that we do not have power because lights are out in the studio. We are on back-up generator power. Let’s go to John in the street who will tell us what it’s like where he is. John, are you there? Are you without power? Tell us what you’re seeing. Are you seeing pedestrians throw themselves into the street to help direct traffic? Tell us what that’s like.”

Thank you, CBC News!

Then, we got a new web cam. And, on an unrelated note, Natalie came to town, and we went to dinner in Toronto. Hi, Natalie! Thanks for meeting me for dinner and introducing me to some of your co-workers! And, for reminding me of why I miss having a job.

And, now, almost a week of July is gone. And, it’s still holy hotness with a side of sweltering. But, I truly love summer, and the heat is just part of the fun.

I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. Even if you are sweating.

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Seeing red at Suter’s Produce

Mmmmm, strawberries.

If there is one thing I dislike more than orange or banana-flavored anything, it’s strawberry-flavored anything. Ice cream, yogurt, lollipops, cream cheese, Pop-Tarts, pies, jams, etc. If it’s strawberry-flavoured, I steer clear of it. Or nibble very politely.

Which is bizarre, considering I love strawberries. Strawberries are delicious. And nutritious. And just plain wonderful. It turns out I simply like them in their original form only.

I have many memories of accompanying my mom to the local strawberry patch where my brothers and I would spend our morning, kneeling on straw-covered mounds, soaking the knees of our jeans and filling our buckets and stomachs with the gorgeous, ruby-red fruit. Gorgeous/gorging, same thing when it comes to strawberries.

Once back home, we’d spend equal time hulling the berries, again eating half of our spoils and leaving Mom with a quarter of our morning’s work to freeze as jam or make into pies. We’d have strawberry shortcake and strawberries with Cool Whip and strawberries with ice cream and strawberries on our cereal. We ate a lot of strawberries as children.

And, June always was a strawberry good time.

Speaking of June, if you’re anywhere within a 1 million-mile radius of Pandora, Ohio, drive over to Suter’s Produce and help yourself to the tastiest strawberries you’ll ever eat.

Really. Tastiest. Do it now.

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And, so it ends

See you later, May. You were a great month!

May is ending today, and I’m feeling a bit glum about it. May has always been my favourite month of the year and not just because it houses my birthday. I’ve always considered it to be 31 back-to-back Thursdays—my favourite weekday because, once you’re there, the weekend soon follows. In this case, the weekend isn’t coming, but summer is!

In years past, May meant the end of a school year and all the fun that goes with it.  Field Days. Field trips. Shorts weather. Steamy-hot classrooms. Classes outdoors. Ice cream at the Dairy Whip (after track practice, of course). Ice cream at Archie’s. Ice cream anywhere. And, graduation parties. May also always meant my birthday (think treats). Planting season. Flowers in bloom. Lilacs (which, technically, are flowers in bloom only better because I love them). Memorial Day weekend. Pool openings. And, longer evenings (thank you, Daylight Savings Time).

This year, May brought back many of those memories, plus I made a few new ones, like cookouts with Husband’s family, walks around town, visits with old friends and my sister-in-law earning her doctorate (congrats, Erica). I also took on a 31-day writing challenge, and today is its final day (YIPPEE). I managed to write every day, minus two, but I count those days anyway, as I eked out an interesting e-mail or three.

The good news (beyond the completed writing challenge) is that while May is ending, it will be here again soon. I’m in no hurry though. Because, I have 334 other days to look forward to first.

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One day from the rest of life

Hey, 29! You're looking pretty good!

Oh, 29. You’re almost here!

I am one day away from the age that I will remain forever. Or, so I’ve been told. I know this to be somewhat accurate because several of my family members and friends turned 29 and aged no more.

Sure, there are specific days each year on which we commemorate their births and remember the labours of their mothers and eat cake, but there’s never any discussion of age or aging. Only the sounds of shushing. Sh. Shhh. Shhhh! SHHHH!

I haven’t really given much thought to turning 29 or remaining so forever. I was always told that 25 is the last big hurrah in life, especially when it comes to birthdays, and that the following years just meld together. That seems kinda true so far. Twenty-eight was like 27 was like 26.

Of course, my last two birthdays involved my husband, so I’d elevate them way up. And, 26 landed me a swimming-pool cake. That was very special. Hhhmmm. It would seem that my birthdays are getting better and better with age. That can’t be a bad thing.

I’m not entirely sure that aging is as terrible as society has made it out to be. Besides, these days a person can always look 29, right? Do I really want to spend my entire life in my late 20s? Um, no. Thinking big-picture, 29 seems a bit on the short side for stopping and staying put. What about all the other ages? Like 30 and 33 and 36 and 41 and 57 and 62 and 75 and everything in-between and beyond? Those are a lot of years just begging to be explored, enjoyed and lived. Way too many to simply stay at 29.

I like exploring and enjoying and living. So, I think I’ll give 29 its 365 days and then move on. Which means I’m not really one day from forever. More like one day from the rest of life.