Friday, October 29, 2010

Leave the Mask at the Door, Please

Yesterday morning, Quinn raced around the corner of the school then stopped suddenly when he saw his fellow classmates lined up, some in their Halloween costumes, ready for the Halloween parade.  We saw a cowgirl, a ninja turtle, a princess, a Transformer and a skeleton.  The ninja turtle, Transformer and skeleton were all wearing masks.  quinn was no longer interested in going to school.  The only thing that convinced him was that I was volunteering that day.

Later that afternoon, he told me that the reason why he didn't want to go to school that morning was because he couldn't see who was behind the masks.  This came as no surprise.  After all, Quinn was the little guy who started shaking with fear when Sparky the Fire Dog walked towards us at a parade two years ago.  Sparky quickly turned and crossed to the other side of the street.  And I totally get it.  I have been known to cross to the other side of the street to avoid a mascot.  Oh, and I avoid all eye contact with the mascot too.  Not that you can make true eye contact with a mascot.  Sometimes the eyes aren't even the eyes.  And I think that is what it is all about.  i need to make eye contact with people before I can feel comfortable with them.  I don't like masks either.  Don't even get me started on clowns.  Maybe it comes as no surprise that I don't do really well on the phone either.  And it appears that I have passed on one of these little neuroses to my little man.  Now to move off the therapist's couch . . .

The squirrels are eating our pumpkin.  Every year they eat our pumpkin.  They don't seem to eat anyone else's pumpkin.  Suggestions would be welcome.  This year's pumpkin is a write off but there is always next year.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mushrooms and Stones

Since I've started carrying my camera with me more often, especially when I go for a walk, I've been noticing things I never really noticed before.  Sometimes I would see things but I wouldn't really look at them.  Now I stop and look.  One of those things is mushrooms.  There are so many different kinds of mushroom and I am finding them in unexpected places, places I didn't see them before.  They were there, I just didn't see them.  Now looking through the camera lens, I can't stop looking for them.

I also made some crochet covered stone pendants last weekend.  I love making these.  The stone itself makes each necklace unique, even when I use the same thread and stitch pattern.  I'll be listing these in my 
shop later today.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thoughts of Spring

It may be only the end of October but I'm already dreaming about spring.  Why?  Come spring, we will have a new outdoor space and I can't wait.

When we bought this house five years ago, I loved the carport off the side of the house with an entrance from the master bedroom.  But the rickety stairs and rotten boards did not make it safe to use especially with two little ones.  The years passed and I looked out from our window almost every day, watching the boards get even more rotten and yet wishing that we could somehow use the space.  We debated over what to do.  Tear the whole thing down did come up in conversation but I resisted committing to the idea.  We finally came to a decision and we ( being Mike and my father) have torn out all the old boards and staircase and are putting all new boards and railings up.

I have plans for a couple of little tables and some chairs.  I imagine twinkly fairy lights hanging from the railing. I see this as a space where we will eat, read, knit (okay, probably just me), draw and just enjoy being in the treetops.  This is why I am already looking forward to spring.

In the meantime, I am very much enjoying this beautiful fall.  

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Playground Therapy

My world overwhelmed me this morning.  Nothing big, just little things but enough to frazzle me.  Getting us all ready and out the door for swimming lessons.  The never-ending clutter.  Does leaving a box on the floor really mean that it has been put away?  "Where are those red mittens?  I don't have time to knit another pair of mittens before Monday's field trip."  I grabbed my camera as I ran out the door.

A trip to the market for brunch after swimming may have filled our bellies but didn't do much to better the day.

I felt that every two minutes I was having to ask them to stop some inappropriate behaviour.  Being surrounded by breakables in the gift shop didn't help.   I don't like being that mother and to be honest, I don't often have to be.  Maybe that's why I find it so frustrating when I seem to be pushed into it.  I'm also pretty sure that they don't like having that mother with them either.

We left early from the market.  It seemed to be the only way to end our present behaviour.  (Yes, our behaviour.  I'm not blaming it on them.  It was just one of those days for all three of us.)  To top off the trip, the stem on ournewly bought pumpkin broke as I was putting it in the trunk.  I chased the pumpkin across the parking lot . . . downhill.   Any other day I would have thought it was funny.  not today.

And then on our way home, we saw this . . .

And next to the field was a playground.

Boy, did we need this.  Suddenly the day became one where challenges were made and overcome.  A day of firsts on the monkey bars.

They needed the time and space to run, jump, climb and sometimes tumble on their heads.  I needed the time to breathe.  We enjoyed each other again.

And his mittens?  In his jacket pocket.  smile

Friday, October 22, 2010

From their Shelf to Ours

My weakness:  used bookstores.  I love them.  I love the endless hours of browsing that they offer once you step across the threshold.  I love the books crammed together on the shelves, piled on top of one another on the floor.  Now, I'm not looking for cheap books although the reduced price is a nice little perk.  I like high quality used books.  They have lived a life as can be attested to by the creased spines and yellowed pages but it was a life in which they were well cared for.  I am no longer just looking for myself but also for two little bookworms.  Children's literature opened up a whole new world to me that I had thought I had left behind many years ago.  I am so glad I didn't.

Last weekend, I brought home some treasures from a used bookstore I was able to find while we were away.  (Truth be told, I already knew the name and address of the store.  I did my research before we left.)  First is a collection of short stories by the Newfoundland writer Michael Crummey.  In his last book Galore , he created a fantastical world embedded in the heart of Newfoundland.  It begins with the man Judah being found in the belly of a beached whale and comes full circle at the end.  read it.  next was American Gods by Neil Gaiman and I cannot wait to throw myself into this one.  (If you read earlier in the week, the Sookie Stackhouse book has fallen by the wayside.)  Two Pippi books also managed to find their way into my arms because, well, it's Pippi.  Last but not least, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

okay, now brace yourselves.  This is actually the first time I have read Roald Dahl.  I have no reason, no excuse.  I just never came across his work when I was a child.  When I saw this book, I knew now would be a great time to introduce all of us to his work.  Sometimes the boys, especially the oldest, have pretty particular ideas about what books they want to or don't want to read.  When I first showed this book to Kee, he actually didn't seem that interested.  I didn't let that stop me.  On Monday, when they were both sitting at the table drawing and playing with playdough, I decided to take advantage of my captive (kind of) audience.  i sat down and I just started reading.  They listened.  And the more I read, the more their eyes lit up.  They loved it.  And we are continuing to love it.  I say we because I am also totally hooked.  i look forward to reading it every night before bed.  And it is such a great book to read out loud.  Ah, so many years without Roald Dahl.  So many books now to discover.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Covered Stone Pendant

I have developed a bit of a thing for covered stones.  I think they are pretty.  I like how they feel in your hand.  I like making them.  I also like necklaces.  Yesterday afternoon I felt inspired to combine the two and see what I could make.  Here it is.

Can I tell you how much I love it?  I love that the shape of the stone dictates the finished piece.  It hangs beautifully.  Regardless of how it swings around, it looks pretty.  This particular stone came from the shores of Lake Huron and I love that the pale orange colour of the stone peeks through.

Perhaps what I like best about the necklace is that it allows a piece of my rock collection to be close by.  Because you will want to hold it.  Trust me.  It was the first thing my two boys did when they saw it.  It just asks to be held.  And I like that in a piece of jewelery.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our Day's Little Things

Today's post is a mish mash of the little things that make up our day.

Keegan recently inherited Mike's old wallet.  The last couple of days, he has been occupied with making his own money and credit cards.  But they are counterfeit.  He wants that made perfectly clear.  As Quinnie replied to Mike when he joked that Keegan could buy us supper the other night:  "Dad, didn't you hear the 'counter' and 'fit'?"

We have also started decorating for Halloween.  Meet the ghosts --  a juggling ghost . . .

and a silly ghost.

I was reading Ginny's blog small things a couple of days ago and she had taken a picture of her current knitting  project with her current book.  What a great idea!  Ginny graciously allowed me to share in this tradition of hers.

The knitting :  The beautiful aqua yarn will eventually be a pair of felted clogs and are so much fun to knit.  The books:  I have two books going at the moment.  The first is a collection of short stories by a favourite author Neil Gaiman.  The man is just so creative.  The second book, I'm afraid, may have been a mistake.  It's the book that inspired the TV series True Blood.  I don't watch the show.  Not really interested in at all, to be honest so I don't know why I suddenly decided to read the book.  I'm not enjoying it.  I don't like the writing style and I don't like any of the characters.  I've put it aside at the moment.  I may come back to it; I may not.  Any thoughts on the book?

Quinn can't seem to stop playing with playdough lately.  It's everywhere, especially on the bottoms of my socks.

And good days are always better with chocolate chip cookies, right?

May the little things be making your day a good day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What I Did on My Weekend Vacation

Our destination last weekend:  Blue Mountain, a section of the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario.

Here is our hotel.  We splurged for the first time ever and it was worth it.

It was perhaps the first hotel room that I felt completely comfortable in.

At the foot of Blue Mountain lies the village.  How best to describe the village?   Cafes, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries.  A great place just to walk around.

As I mentioned yesterday, we spent most of our weekend hiking after a short but steep drive up Blue Mountain to the top.  I'm just going to share some of my favourite things that I saw while hiking.  Indulge me if I have too many pictures.

In addition to exploring the side and the top of the mountain, we also delved into the mountain when we explored caves that had been formed by glacial activity.  These caves were once inhabited by the Huron people and they did not disappoint.  In this picture, Mike is making his way into the cave called the Natural Refrigerator because it stays cold year round and was used for food storage.  We weren't expecting it to be so narrow and deep.

Finally, we crossed a suspension footbridge. I'm not going to say much because I fear this post is already too long but to know me is to know that I am not a risk taker.  but somehow I thought I would have no problem with the suspension bridge.  Uhm, I was wrong.  i turned into that person that is gripping the handrail the entire way across.  I was that person who has her legs splayed so far apart while taking the few pictures that I had the nerve to take.  I had to take my hands off the rail, you know.  Risky stuff.  I turned into the person who doesn't want to move to the side for others because I somehow fear it will throw off the balance of the bridge.      Yep, I was that person.  And it wasn't pretty.

But the view was pretty awesome.