Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Random Tuesday: Life Lately

It's crazy how fast July is flying by!  I just want to hit the pause button!  Here's a little of what's been going on in my world lately:
  • Heat Wave -  It's been a hot, dry summer so far.  The heat wave seemed to start the week before Canada Day and we've only had a few days of reprieve since then.  My favourite part of the heat wave (and I'll get shot for saying this) is not having to cut grass!!  My grass is brown and crispy and I haven't had to cut it in weeks.  But we've all been doing rain dances, I know how important it is for farmers (and my employers!!).  We got some rain over the weekend and again last night, and hopefully there's more on the way.  
  • Canada Day - Canada Day weekend was such a fun summer weekend, despite the ungodly heat.  I had my Lucas/Platt relatives, along with my own fam-jam, over on June 30th to celebrate Canada Day Quyon-style, with the BBQ, parade, and fireworks on in our little town.  I would normally have hit up the after-party as well, but it was so sticky, sweaty, gross hot that I ended up just going home and lying on the floor in the AC.  The next day, we all went to my Aunt Marion & Uncle Eric's home on the Ottawa River, and we played in the water and went for rides on Big Mabel (the big couch he pulls behind his boat), and watched fireworks from all around at dusk.  It was a great weekend of family time, and I very much enjoyed it.

  • Swimming - I feel like I've spent more time in the water this year than I have since I was a kid.  I guess that's thanks in large part to the heat wave!  My BIL's parents live just behind me and they have a pool, so I've been taking Caden and Danica with me to bob around in the water any evening we have the chance.  It's also become our Sunday afternoon activity as well.  I just love being in the water!
  • Mont Cascades - I took a day off last week to go to Mont Cascades with a group of family and friends.  I hadn't been in there in years, and it was fun to re-visit the waterpark.  It's not as big and elaborate as Calypso but the lines aren't as long, and it's not nearly as crowded, so that's nice.  We had a great day, despite my chafed inner thighs and being exhausted from climbing mountains all day! haha!  
  • Movie Date - It has become a tradition for my friend Lindsay and I to take her little guy, Sam, on a date to McDonald's around his birthday.  This year, we didn't get to go in April because of Linds being on a strict diet as she waited for gallbladder surgery and also having a newborn at home.  But now that Lainey is a bit older and the gallbladder is gone, we were finally able to take Sam on his date, and we threw in a trip to see The Incredibles 2 as well.  It was such a fun evening!  My only problem was trying to keep awake in those comfy, luxurious recliners they have a the Colisseum!  I think I dozed off a few times!
  • Amazon Prime -  Oh, it finally happened.  I've finally been sucked in.  Yesterday, I signed up for Amazon Prime to take advantage of Prime Day.  Why?  I DON'T KNOW.  I don't NEED anything!!!  But I did it anyways, and here we are.  I've been wanting to sign up just for the video streaming feature, so of course I had to order a Fire stick to do that, and a whole bunch of other crap I don't need. *sigh*  I need help.
  • 13 Reasons Why - Actually, 13 Reasons Why is the reason why.  I watched the show over the past few weeks, and I just wanted to buy the book.  I just wanted to read the book to compare it to the show.  So I go on to Amazon to buy the book and realize it's Prime Day, and the next thing you know, I'm down the Amazon rabbit hole.  It's all 13 Reasons Why's fault.
  • Things I'm Reading, Watching, and Listening to:  I finished The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman a few weeks ago, and then started The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.  It was the book selected for Jimmy Fallon's The Tonight Show Summer Reads book club.  If Jimmy Fallon starts a book club, you can bet I'm joining!  As I mentioned, I finished watching 13 Reasons Why on the weekend (totally gutted me, especially the final episode of Season 2. still giving me panic attacks thinking about it) and now I'm on to Riverdale Season 2.  I loved the first season - cheesy teen fun - but Season 2 so far is beyond ridiculous.  It's basically just background noise for me while I crochet.  I finally watched the movie Lady Bird, too.  I've been wanting to see it since all the Oscar buzz, but as with most Oscar-worthy movies, I just felt meh about it.  Some funny moments, some poignant moments, but nothing I'd write home about.  And what I'm listening to is The Glorious Sons and Greta Van Fleet mostly!  Downloaded albums by both bands a few weeks ago and they occupy much of my summertime playlist.  I'm also looking forward to using the Amazon Prime music feature too.
  • Ray Emery - On a sad note, it was heart-breaking to hear on Sunday that former Sens goalie Ray Emery passed away tragically in a drowning accident near his hometown of Hamilton.  If you look back into the archives of this blog, you'll find many Sens posts that revolved around Razor.  He was a fan favourite during his short time here, especially during the 2007 run to the Stanley Cup Finals, and I have so many fun memories of cheering him on and loving his crazy antics.  The game when he fought both Martin Biron and Andrew Peters back-to-back will go down in Sens history and live forever in infamy. Broke my heart to hear he was gone, and at such a young age, only 35 years old.  Rest peacefully, Ray.

Well, that's about it for now!  Hope you're all enjoying a great summer as well, with still lots of fun to come! :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Random Tuesday: Summer Fun

Summer officially hit last week, and it's already brought so much fun!  The past week and a half has just been jam-packed with good days and happy moments.  Here's some of the random highlights thus far:

  • On Saturday, June 16th, my cousin Brandon married his sweetheart Meghan, and we had SUCH a good time at their wedding reception!  The barn setting was beautiful, the band was awesome, and I don't remember the last time I danced that much.  Such a fun evening!! 
  • The next morning, I was up bright and early to get ready for our church's Sunday School picnic, which was held at my friends Lindsay & Ryan's.  A casual service was held in the shelter of the garage, followed by a potluck lunch and fun in the pool.  Nothing I love more than a day at the pool!  
  • Last Wednesday evening, something VERY exciting happened to me.  Like, I was ridiculously excited.  Wednesday evening is 3-pitch night, and I'm playing this year for the Lollygaggers, a group of great friends of mine.  We are just out to have fun and get some exercise, and I think any one of us would admit without hesitation that we aren't very good at playing ball.  I especially struggle with it.  Having grown up in a sports-oriented family, I have watched a LOT of ball in my lifetime, and I KNOW in my head what to do, but I can never seem to be able to execute.  I am also very competitive, but don't have the athletic chops to back it up.  This means most games are filled with frustration for me.  Anyways, last Wednesday we were playing against a team with a few of my friends on it, including my friend Lindsay's husband Ryan and my friend Sharon's husband, Wayne.  And they were kickin' our butts.  I was trying to do some trash-talking, but it wasn't going well for us at all.  Anyways, late in the game, I'm out in my rover position, basically praying balls aren't hit to me because I never even come close to catching them, when Wayne came up to bat.  And the ol' Hobberknocker drove one right to me.  Like, literally.  I didn't even have to move.  I just stuck out my glove and heard the "smack".  I caught the ball.  I friggin' CAUGHT. THE. BALL.  And I celebrated as if we had won the World Series.  It was probably a little excessive, but I have never - and I do mean never - had such a rewarding sports moment in.my.life.  So, we lost the game and I have no idea what the score was but it was probably like 22-0 or something like that, but you could not wipe the smile off my face.  Every now and then the sun shines on a dog's rear-end! ;)
  • Following up on that big night, the next evening I completed my art project with Shannon that we've been working on for 9 weeks!  So rewarding and thrilling to be finished!  It was supposed to be an 8-week course, but we had to add an extra week to finish it.  We started out with a black-and-white photo that Shannon had taken and then painted the picture in black and white.  It was just oozing with detail and it seemed very daunting at the beginning, but it was amazing how quickly it all came together, and it was neat to see the little tricks she taught us along the way.  I love my final result!
  • This past weekend was a fun one to kick off the summer.  On Friday evening, we gathered at my sister's place to celebrate my niece's 6th birthday.  We had a BBQ and cake and presents, and just some great family time.  We also were celebrating the end of the school year, as Friday was the kids' last day of school!  My nephew graduated from Grade 6 and received the Citizenship Award and Male Athlete of the Year.  We are so proud of him!
  • Saturday was overcast and kind of dreary, but I was up and off to Shawville to get groceries early in the day.  I spent the afternoon relaxing and napping before getting up and getting ready for my friend Stacy's bachelorette party.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Milestone's downtown, then went on a Rideau Canal boat cruise.  We had lots of laughs and it was a great evening!

  • On Sunday, I went to church and had brunch with my mom and brother, then just went home to do some stuff around the house.  I made homemade bagels and pinwheels for lunches this week, then vegged the rest of the day.  I read out on the deck, I did some crocheting, and watched Downton Abbey (almost done!) - then in the evening I settled in to watch the movie The Shallows.  It kept me jumping, and it was a perfect summery scary movie!
  • Last night, I was just sitting out on the deck reading when I got a text from my friend Josee to say she was going to be at the ball field if I wanted to come down and meet her new baby girl, Gracynn.  So I quickly grabbed a bite to eat and then headed to down to meet the new babe!  I was excited to give her the blanket I had crocheted for her - it's the first one I've actually given to anyone!  Jo said she loved it, and I was so glad I finally got to give it to her.  It was made with lots of love! :)
  • This coming weekend is going to be a scorcher, and I am spending the rest of this week preparing for it, as we have lots going on.  I have family coming on Saturday to celebrate Canada Day Quyon-style, so I have to get my grass cut, my house cleaned, and groceries done.  Then on Sunday we'll be going to my aunt & uncle's to celebrate Canada Day on the beach, and I can't wait!  Canada Day festivities are the best, bring it on!!! :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Summer Memories: Going to Grandma's

I don't know what exactly it is about this day, but it has me reminiscing and thinking about summer days from my childhood when we would go to Grandma's.  The cloudless blue sky, the emerald green of the grass, the breeze ruffling the leaves of the trees... even just the clean, fresh smell of the outdoors.  It's carrying me back to perfect summer days at my grandma's.

We spent a lot of time at my grandma's when I was a kid.  During the summer, at least once a week, we'd spend a day up there at her house, on the outskirts of Shawville.  Mom would be going up to cut her grass or do her hair or help her with flower beds, and she'd tow us along with her.  When I was little, it was always a joy to go to Grandma's.

Now, I know what you're thinking:  This sounds like a lot of outdoor stuff, and Jill, you're not an outdoor girl.  Very true.  And yet, while I avoided any of the hard labour in the garden or flower beds, I love the memories of wandering around Grandma's property, or going for a walk down the road.  Sitting in lawn chairs outside while she admired her flowers and I pretended to care.  Swinging on the old wooden swing that hung from ropes in one of her trees.  Exploring the old sheds and garage.

On really special occasions, there'd be a trip next door to John's to visit the chickens.  It was always a delight when she'd take us over there, and he'd give us a tour of all his chicken coops outside.  In my mind, going to John's was like walking into a jungle. Elaborate flower beds and trees every where, little paths to walk through, and then emerging in the back yard to find chickens everywhere.  I don't even like birds, and yet I fondly recall these trips to visit the chickens.

Now, don't get me wrong, if I could hang out inside the house, I would, as much as possible.  Couch potato all my life.  But even inside, watching Mr. Dressup or Sesame Street, it still felt like summer.  Windows open, breeze blowing through, wind chimes tinkling, the front screen door slamming as others came in and out.  The sound of the lawn mower.  I mean, how silly is that?  I hear lawn mowers all the time, yet today, it makes me think of Grandma's...

And what would my memories be if they didn't somehow involve food?  This time of year, it would be a light lunch of  toasted tomato sandwiches or even just little bits of this and that - some cold meat, some crackers and cheese, a dish of pickles, carrot and celery sticks, the ever-present butter dish.  All enjoyed out on the summer porch.  If there's one part I miss most about Grandma's, it's that summer porch.  It was just a small little room off her kitchen, closed in yet so bright with big windows and a screen door.  Sitting out there almost felt like sitting outside.  Just outside the big window hung her hummingbird feeder, filled with that bright red liquid, and she'd hush us if one drew near.

After dessert was served - and there was always dessert, whether it just be a few cookies from the freezer or a lavish platter of freshly baked tea biscuits topped with homemade jam and whipping cream - she would collect the tea bags and get us to go out and sprinkle the insides of them in her flower beds.  I have no idea why.  I have never heard of anyone else sprinkling damp tea leaves in their flower beds.  But it was a job I simply loved, tearing open those soggy bags and dumping the insides of them in the dark soil.

A summer day at Grandma's was never complete without a stroll through her garden.  As I mentioned, I avoided the hard labour like the plague, but never minded the walk-through when all the work was done. Grandma's garden was always immaculate, carefully weeded, tended in perfect rows.  When the peas were ready, she'd let us pluck a few pods and split them open, eating the raw peas fresh.  Only kind of peas I ever enjoyed.  We now joke about those garden tours as a delay tactic, a way of her getting us to stay longer.  "We have to be going now."  "Oh but wait!  You haven't seen the garden yet!"  I don't think anyone minded having to stay a little longer, though.

When it was time to go, she'd stand on her front step and say good-bye, waving one finger at us, up and down, a bright cheery smile on her face. 

I don't know why those visits to Grandma's are so forefront in my thoughts today.  I'm fortunate to work on a farm, in an office with big windows that allow me to gaze out at beautiful scenery all around me.  Today, that blue sky, bright green of the foliage, breeze swaying the trees, are all bringing me back to that childhood haven.

I know it's a place I can't go back to, and even if I did, it wouldn't be the same.  But just for a day, how I wish we could.

I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Summer Lovin'

Happy Wednesday friends!

Work is still super hectic - yesterday I felt like my head might explode I was being torn in so many different directions - but going to try to take a few minutes and bang out this post!  I miss blogging!!

I saw this writing prompt on another blog, and decided it would be a quick one to play along with, with a summer vibe.  Here we go!

1. Walk or Bike Ride?  Lately?  Neither. LOL  I am such a sloth.  But I'm a walker when I am motivated.  Bikes always hurt my butt.  I don't even have one.  Walking is by far my favourite form of exercise.

2. Favourite Picnic Food?  I can't say I picnic very often, but it makes me think of an array of sandwiches, fresh fruit, potato chips, stuff like that.  For our Sunday School picnic, I usually make some sort of salad or snack food, like a nacho dip.

3. Pool or Lake?  I'm a water girl.  I'm happy no matter what form I'm water I'm closest to.  That said, for swimming, I prefer the clear blue of a pool that I can see the bottom of. lol  I can spook myself thinking of the "things" that go unseen in the depths of lakes and rivers.  But I sure as heck wouldn't turn down a day at the lake, trust me!

4. Favourite flavour of ice cream?  I'm a plain ol' vanilla kind of kid.  Especially with soft ice cream, just a nice vanilla cone, or a chocolate dip... mmmmm... If I'm picking from hard ice cream flavours, I'm drawn to mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip cookie dough, anything like that.  I now I'm DYING for ice cream!!!

5. Ice cream cone or in a dish?  Depends.  If I have the freedom and the time, cone.  If I'm driving or doing something else at the same time, gotta go with dish. 

6.  Flip flops or slides?  Flipper floppers, always!!

7. Jean shorts or jean capris?  Sigh.  I have reached an age (and a size) where I'm uncomfortable showing off my tree trunk legs.  I usually opt for capris, unless I'm going to be alone on my deck and not worried about anyone seeing my legs.

8. Favourite summer fruit?  Ooooh gotta go watermelon on this one.  Especially a nice sweet seedless one.  Just tastes like summer!

9. Corn on the cob or off the cob?  ON the cob, with lots of butter, salt & pepper.  One of my favourite summer treats, can't wait for fresh corn on the cob!!

10.  Favourite summertime song?  This is like, IMPOSSIBLE.  But because I've been in a Beach Boys mood lately, I'll go with one of them... "Wouldn't It Be Nice" or "Rock 'n Roll Music" or "Surfin Safari"...any of them really!

11. Favourite summertime activity?  Anything the involves being on the water!  At a friend's pool, at my Aunt Marion's beach, at the camp, out on Kerry & Jeff's pontoon... anywhere where there's water, I'm in my happy place.

12. Favourite berry? Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, or blackberry?  Strawberries = summer to me, but the berry I love most is blueberries.  (Raspberries are the fruit of the devil, I loathe them!!!)

13. Bikinis, tankinis, or one piece?  Most of my bathing suits are two-piece, I guess you'd call them tankinis, but I'm completely covered. Ain't nobody wanna see this belly. 

14. Dresses or skirts?  Hard to choose!  I have a few of both.  I guess I'll go with dresses though, I think I have more dresses.  Maxi dresses and sun dresses.

15. One word to describe Summer?  Carefree!!  Or at least, that's the way I like it to be!! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

May Happenings

It's been a long time since I last blogged, dudes.  Here's some of the random that has happened thus far in May...

  • Oh my gosh, you guys.  May just KILLS me.  I know everyone loves the onset of nicer weather so I try to keep my complaints to a minimum, but work just goes beserk in May and I don't always handle it very well.  I know it's our bread-and-butter, and being busy is a very good thing, but some days I feel like I'm drowning.  Just can't keep my head above water.  I've been counting down the days... almost there... ready to say "see ya" to this ridiculous month!!
  • Because work is often overwhelming and stressful this time of year, I try to spend my free time doing things I really and truly enjoy.  It makes the day easier to get through when there's something to look forward to.  So, no surprise, earlier in the month I squeezed in a trip to my happy place: the movie theatre!  I honestly can't remember the last time I'd been to a movie that wasn't a kids movie.  I was really intrigued by the promos and trailers I'd seen for the film "A Quiet Place" (and also a huge fan of John Krasinski, who wrote, directed, and starred in it), so I rounded up my friend Sara and we went to see it.  It was INTENSE.  I felt like I didn't breathe for an hour and a half.  Like, at all.  But it was so good.  And scary, but not in the way that I was afraid to go home to an empty house and sleep with all the lights on.  More of a psychological thrill.  I can't wait to make Lindsay watch it for our next Scary Movie Marathon! (*insert evil laugh here*)
  • I planned too many weeknight events for this time of year.  The hermit side of me wonders what the hell I was thinking, signing up for an 8-week art class with Shannon on Thursday nights, while also agreeing to play 3-pitch on Wednesday nights.  Don't get me wrong - I enjoy both.  (art more than ball, but don't tell my teammates ha!)    But I need those quiet evenings at home to keep me sane.  What do I do on those quiet evenings at home?  Lately, they involve crocheting and watching Downton Abbey and reading.  Some might call that boring.  I call it bliss.
  • A little more on the crocheting:  After struggling way too long to finish up a giant granny square blanket that I made for my nephew in Ottawa Senators colours to match his room (part of his Christmas gift), I finally got it done early in May and moved on to a chevron blanket for a friend who was having a baby. It was SUPER fun to make, and I got it done quickly.  I love how it turned out, and I can't wait to visit her and give it to her.  I then moved on to making some dish clothes for a blog pal (Nicole... I need your address lol), which took just a few evenings to complete.  And last night I started a different pattern for a blanket, intending it to be a Christmas gift for one of my nieces.  We'll see how it goes.  But my gosh, I love crocheting.  My mom told me I won't do it so much in the summer when the weather is nicer, but I'm not so sure about that!  It's definitely become my stress reliever.  (Sens blanket is below.  Second one I've done of this pattern, and just as crooked as the first.  No idea why they keep turning out that way, I followed the pattern to a T!)
  • A little more on Downton Abbey:  Took me a while to get into it, but I'm so enjoying this show.  My aunt described it as: "A real treat...like a trip to England", and I feel this way about it too.  I've just started the 4th series, and love keeping an eye on it while I crochet.  Am I fitting the bill of an old lady, crocheting while watching Downton Abbey? Ya, probably.  But I don't even care.
  • A little more on the reading:  I've been re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee for our book club.  (It's our December book, but I've been working through all our book club books in order as fast as I can, because last year I didn't finish a few in time for the meetings and I hated that feeling).  I knew I had read the book before, I'd have said in high school, maybe Grade 7 or 8.  And yet, from the moment I picked up the book, it's my Grade 6 teacher Mrs. McRae's voice that I can hear reading it aloud in my head.  Funny how memories can be triggered like that.  I'd forgotten most of the story, so I've been enjoying reading it.  Almost finished, and then I'll be on to other books on my shelf that I've been dying to dive into.  Just in time for summer, yay!!
  • Remember when I declared this "The Year of Saving"?? Well, so far, big fat failure in that department.  Between Tupperware and iTunes and re-vamping my spring/summer wardrobe and Amazon tricking me into thinking I need things, I can't seem to stop BUYING SHIT.  ugh.  As soon as I pay off my credit card, another order goes on it.  Vicious cycle.  Maybe I'll do better in June...
  • We've had some really nice family time in the month of May; some great family BBQ's and gatherings, especially on Sunday afternoons.  Mother's Day, in particular, was a special one, with both our family and my BIL's family gathering for a shish-kebab BBQ and a cake that my nephew won at his school's Cake Draw.  Such a great day!
  • Oh, Harry & Meghan's wedding!  How could I forget about Harry & Meghan's wedding!! That occupied a lot of my thoughts throughout the month of May.  I was so excited leading up to it, and it did not disappoint.  I got up at 5 AM that morning, snuggled up on the couch with a coffee, and had an absolute blast watching the guests arrive, the big moment when Meghan stepped out of that car in that stunning dress, the Mulroney twins carrying her train up the steps into the church (and one of them stealing the show with the look of sheer excitement on his face when those trumpets announced "she's here!")... the ceremony, the preacher who had the Royals' eyes popping out of their heads, the gospel choir singing "Stand By Me", the kiss, the carriage ride through Windsor... every single moment.  I loved it!  LOVED it!!

  • The week following Prince Harry & Meghan's wedding, we attended the wedding of my cousin Maya & her groom Simon.  It was a beautiful wedding and a beautiful day.  I felt like I was watching a real-life Princess!  
  • Without even realizing it, I think I've been craving change in my home.  (weird? yes.  I hate change!!) A few weeks ago, on a quiet and dreary Sunday afternoon, I just out of the blue decided to change my living room around.  My living room has been basically the same set-up since I moved in there, except for at Christmas.  It's been a little odd getting used to it, but I'm set up better now to be able to crochet in my chair while facing the TV.  Then, over the long weekend, I made a change in my bedroom on a whim.  I have a quilt of my Grandma's that was given to me when she passed away, and it's been in storage ever since.  I pulled it out and threw it on my bed just to see how it looked.  I kind of loved it.  So now I need to get some little decorative pillows to complete the look, but overall, I'm very happy with the change!  It's nice and bright for summer.
Well, I could continue rambling on - May has been a BIG month! - but I think that's enough for one day.  Hopefully I'll be back again before the end of June. ;)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Catching Up

Ahh, that glorious time of year when life gets turned a little upside down with craziness!  The busy season is upon us here at work.  It's always a bit of an adjustment.  I love the slower pace and calmer days of winter, yet at the same time, there's an adrenaline rush that comes with the busier season, and the days fly by.

Here's a little of what's been going on in my world lately:

  • Last week, I was handed one last blessed Snow Day.  Yes, a Snow Day in April... and it was magical.  (Well, for the most part.)  I woke to the news that the mixed precipitation and freezing rain throughout the night had cancelled school buses in our are (almost unheard of), and they were warning people to stay home if possible.  I literally work 5 minutes from home, so such warnings usually don't apply to me.  No matter how bad the conditions, I can almost always make it those 5 minutes down the road.  So I got up and showered, ready for the day, when I got a text from one of the bosses saying "Stay home today".  It turns out, the weather had knocked the phone and Internet down, so even if I did make it in, there wasn't much to do.  I jumped at the opportunity for one last Monday off.
  • I made pancakes for breakfast.  My Internet was down, so I watched silly daytime TV like The Price Is Right.  I read.  I crocheted.  I made popcorn.  I watched a scary movie.  I literally did everything I consider to be a fun, child-like "Snow Day". I was supposed to host Spirit Cafe that night at our church because the minister couldn't be there, and I even got that cancelled so that I wouldn't even have to stick my nose out the door.  Right up until suppertime, it was bliss!!
  • I had taken a container of spaghetti sauce out of the freezer for supper, and around 5:30 I started cooking the pasta and heating up the sauce.  Fave supper for my fave kind of day!  It was half-way through cooking and the power went off.  And stayed off.  I was a little ticked.  Through all the crappy weather of the past 24 hours, my power had only flickered on and off a few times.  Now that it was finally getting nicer out, the power goes off and stays off?  Frig.  I was sitting out the couch kind of stewing about the fact that my supper was only half-cooked and worried about how long the power might stay off, when suddenly I noticed there was some commotion outside.  A lot of people out on the sidewalks, and vehicles parked on the side of the road.  "What the heck is going on out there?" I wondered.  I stuck my head out the door and realized my driveway and house were surrounded by firetrucks and a police car.  Turns out the neighbour's house was on fire!
  • I had heard sirens, but hadn't realized they'd stopped right next door.  No one can ever call me a nosy neighbour... I'm soooo unobservant!  So the fire caused a bit of excitement for the rest of the day, as I huddled with some other neighbours out on the sidewalk and watched the action.  Luckily, no one was hurt.  The house is still standing, but I doubt it is salvageable.  It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise lovely day off.  I'm just thankful it was a wet day and none of the other houses or buildings around were ever in jeopardy.
  • I had a doctor's appointment last week to follow up on my heart palpitation problem.  The good news is, according to the ECG and Holter monitor results, there is nothing structurally wrong with my heart.  The bad news is, I'm still experiencing light flutters on a daily basis.  The doc tells me there is a procedure he can send me for at the Heart Institute, which he called a "re-wiring of the heart" - but he doesn't think it's necessary since I'm not experiencing any ill effects aside from the flutters.  He'd like to keep me on the medication I'm currently on, and to continue trying relaxation techniques and experimenting with ways to make the palps less annoying.  I agreed to that course of action, for the time being anyways.  
  • Last Friday evening, I had my "Stephen King movie girls" over to watch the movie Christine.  After reading the book, I really wanted to watch the movie.  Last fall, I dragged the few friends I have who don't mind scary movies with me to see IT, so I knew they were the ones I had to call upon for Christine. We had a junkfood bonanza - pizza, chips and dip, candy, ice cream, pop - and watched the old '80's movie about a car that goes on a killing spree.  The book was way scarier than the movie, in my opinion.  Still, I enjoyed it and trying to identify certain characters, one of my favourite games to play during old movies.  "Hey!  That's Cougar from Top Gun!!  You know, the guy who freaks out at the start of the movie and can't land the plane?  Cougar lost it and turned in his wings! ...  Why does that old guy look so familiar? Holy crap, I think he's the old shovel slayer guy from Home Alone. It IS the old shovel slayer guy from Home Alone!!"  Good times, good times. ;)
  • I was tormented by a headache for much of last weekend, which kind of killed the good vibes that came from the first warm and sunny weekend we've had in months.  I still made myself go for a little walk and sit out on the back deck for the first time this year and read in the sun. I should have been doing yard work, cleaning the deck furniture, a million outdoor things, but the head wouldn't allow it.  
  • Currently reading:  First Comes Love by Emily Giffin.  And loving it.  One of the characters is going through something that I have given a lot of thought of myself, choosing to have a baby on her own.  Just reading about her process is definitely giving me the itch. 
  • My latest Netflix ventures:  I finished watching Scandal, and then watched the Alias Grace series.  I LOVED it, and now I can't wait to read the book.  We heard about Grace Marks on our tour of the Kingston Pen a few years ago, and her story has fascinated me.  It only took me a few days to watch it, and then I moved on to Downton Abbey.  I had a hard time getting through the first few episodes, but now I'm hooked and loving it, too.  I can't wait to get home each night to watch an episode or two.
  • We were totally spoiled at work yesterday for Administrative Professionals Day.  They took us out for lunch to our church's Soup & Sandwich, which is always such a nice treat, and while we were there, they presented us with take-out containers.  I joked that they had got us each a poutine as a gift, but when I opened it up, I discovered I wasn't far off!  We each received a gift certificate to the local chip wagon.  Woo hoo!  I loooove the chip wagon and eat there almost every weekend, so it will definitely be put to good use.  I am a lucky girl to work where I do, for people who care & treat me like family.  Thank you Mountainview!
  • Tonight I'm starting an 8-week art workshop with my neighbour and artist extraordinaire Shannon, which I'm very excited about.  I have done many paint nights with Shannon, and I'm almost always thrilled with the art I get to bring home.  I'm excited to do a longer, more thorough and detailed project that will continue over 8 weeks.  Can't wait!
  • This coming weekend is a busy one, and I'm already kind of sad about how fast it's going to blow by.  It's the hardest part about coming off my 4-day weekends in the winter.  Two days just seems SO short and goes by SO quickly, especially when there's lots of stuff going on.  Oh well.  It's all fun stuff.  A cousin's bridal shower, another cousin's stag & doe...should be a good weekend!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sticks Out For the Boys

Every now and then, tragic news hits you.  It's not necessarily news that affects you directly, or that has anything to do with you, yet the hurt is deep enough that you feel it personally.

At the end of last week, we got hit with that kind of news.  Not once, but twice.

Friday morning, I woke, grabbed my phone off the pillow beside me as I always do, and opened Facebook.  The very first item that popped up in my timeline was the news that Jonathan Pitre had passed away.  And I cried.  The tears rolled down my cheeks as if I'd received sad news of a close loved one.

I had never met him before, but for many of us in the Ottawa area, we felt we knew Jonathan well.  He was our "Butterfly Child".  The teen from Russell, Ontario went public several years ago to share with us his daily battle of dealing with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a rare and painful skin disease.  A big fan of the Ottawa Senators, Jonny made friends with the hockey team and many sports personalities in our area.  Our local news followed his story closely.  He and his mom Tina had a huge cheering squad behind them when they went to Minnesota for potentially life-changing surgery over a year ago.  Since then, we waited anxiously for good news.

There were ups and downs over those months of Jonathan being in and out of hospital in Minnesota following the surgery.  We rejoiced when doctors deemed the surgery a success - (this was his second time going through it; the first time, the surgery failed) - yet he was constantly hitting set-backs.  A departure from hospital would be quickly followed by news that he was back in again, fighting an infection or a multitude of other health problems.  The updates seemed to become fewer and farther between, yet I think we all hoped so deep in our hearts for the day when Tina would announce, "I'm bringing him home!"

That day never came.  A week before, Jonathan had been admitted to that Minnesota hospital again fighting an infection and had gone into septic shock.  He was never able to recover.  He passed away on April 4th, at the age of 17. Our hearts broke for the Butterfly Boy who lived a life of grueling pain, yet always had such a positive outlook on life.  A smile that could light up a room.  An old soul, wise beyond his years.

Jonathan's suffering was over. We'd all prayed that he would make it, but at least we could be grateful for that.

Friday evening, I joined my friends at book club, and I had paid no attention to the news that evening.  It wasn't until I woke Saturday morning, again turning to my phone and Facebook, that I learned of the tragic bus accident the night before involving the Humboldt Broncos out in rural Saskatchewan.  The devastation was gut-wrenching.  Of the 29 people on board that bus - a junior hockey team heading to a playoff game - 15 were killed. The rest were sent to hospital, and some of them are still in critical condition.

I can't stop thinking about them.  I can't stop reading their stories.  Looking at their pictures.  Grieving for them and their families.  It is absolutely heart-breaking.  The kind of tragedy that no one should ever have to face.  The kind of tragedy that is unfathomable.  Young men, hair died blonde in a show of solidarity as they banded together for playoff hockey, suddenly broken and shattered by a cruel twist of fate.

Our country is in mourning.  We are all Humboldt.  We are holding that community in our hearts, praying for them and sending them all our love.  It's the kind of situation when there isn't much you can do to help with the pain.  People are giving to a GoFundMe page (last I checked, it was over $6 Million), but somehow, money doesn't seem like enough.  Everyone is searching for a way to show them we care.

So, we're putting our sticks out for the boys.  One person started it, posting the picture and sharing that he'd put his sticks out for the boys in case they needed them, wherever they may be.  And so many others across our country are now doing the same, in tribute to the Humboldt Broncos, their families and friends.

Tonight, I'll be putting my sticks out, and I'll be putting them out for Jonathan Pitre as well.  A boy who loved hockey but could never play because of his debilitating disease, I'd like to think he's now free to grab a stick and join the game too.

We continue to keep Jonathan's family in our hearts..  We are praying for the Humboldt Broncos community as well.  May they all feel the comfort of a nation holding them in their arms.

Rest peacefully, boys.