About Me

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What I am: Complicated. A mom. A wife. A thinker. A seeker. A 'musician'. One of the volunteer executive directors of a niche music festival. An administrative business owner who set up shop in a senior's condo. Oh the stories!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

All-Inclusive, no problem...

 Hey, lots of you know that I am involved with a music society based in Saskatoon.  We are very cool.  You can find out more about us here. Consequently, we've met a lot of fascinating musicians, who I like to call friends and we like to keep in touch via Facebook.  Several of our friends live in the musical mecca of Asheville.  That's right, I said Asheville, not Nashville.  It's in North Carolina, do yourself a favour and check it out. If you haven't heard the likes of Dehlia Low and Town Mountain, leave your rock and do so immediately. 

I need to take this opportunity to tease because according to Facebook, Ashevillians are not receiving the sort of winter they would like. Unseasonable warm temperatures have caused some of them to gripe about the spring-like conditions they are experiencing in January.  "This weather is disturbing." "I miss winter!"  "I agree! I want snow, not spring", they chorused. 
I replied that I had a fair amount of snow I was willing to part with, and we could decide on a price later.  This got me thinking that maybe I was missing out on a golden business opportunity.  What if we ran all-inclusive winter vacations to Saskatchewan?  Betcha we could haul in quite a few unsuspecting southerners who are looking for that authentic winter experience.

It would all begin at the airport where guests will be greeted enthusiastically and issued their winter gear; a snow suit (something old school that zips from the bottom of one pant leg all the way to the throat), a Co-op Feeds toque, and a pair of Kamiks two sizes too big, in order to accommodate at least two pair of wool socks.  We’ll hand them a double-double and the keys to their rental pickup so they can experience the joy of winter driving…in Saskatoon.   Guests can choose from any of the following amazing packages:

The ‘It’s Snow Wonder’ Package
You’ll experience Saskatchewan winter just like a local, as you become the Snow Angel for a whole city block.  Grab a shovel and start clearing!  Unfortunately, there won’t be time to check into your hotel first, the City is watching! Won’t this be fun?  Too bad you didn’t upgrade to the Snow Blower package! 

The Ski-doo Rally Package
We’ll make the trek to Anywhere, SK for their annual community snowmobile rally.  Guests will be placed on the back of various snowmobiles, given their own flask of Cherry Whiskey and taught to hang on for dear life.  They will end the night with a complimentary bowl of chili and a bottle of Pil at the community hall.  Purchasing an arm’s length of 50/50 tickets is not mandatory, but it is encouraged.  We don’t want to be seen as cheap visitors, now do we? 

The Minor Hockey Game Package
We’ll spend the night in Anywhere at one of the well-appointed small town hotels available to us.  We’ll attend a Minor Hockey League tournament.  Guests will receive a complimentary rink burger and will be encouraged to try and eat it with their mitts on.  Witness a real ‘Hockey Mom’ in action as she berates the ref and her husband starts a fist fight in the stands.  Guests will be given a pair of skates and be asked to scrape the ice at intermission. 

The Culinary Package
We'll spend time in a real Saskatchewan kitchen and use all the seasonal ingredients available to us…potatoes, canola oil and the last jar of beet pickles.  Oh yeah, and some lentils.  Maybe you know what to do with them, because we don’t. 

The Curling Package
Guests will be introduced to the fast-paced world of curling.  They will be given 4 rye & cokes, a broom and a pair of shoes with a piece of Crazy Carpet attached to the bottom of one sole.  They must sign a waiver preventing them from asking too many questions.

If this interests any of you folks south of the border, now is a good time to come.  With the windchill factored in, the last two days have been close to -40 degrees Celsius.  Lucky for you, that's easy to understand, as it's equivalent to -40 Farenheit and yes, you read that right. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Advice from the Attention Deficit Housekeeper

Happy New Year, Saskatoon.  2012 and all its garbage has been brought out to the curb and we have a brand new bin for 2013!  I hope we fill it with glorious things.

Speaking of bins, you may remember back when I wrote about my attention deficit housekeeping.  If I was a resolution-making person, I would probably be concentrating my efforts on making my house cleaner and more organized.  I should scrub more things with a stiff brush.  I should make a paste of baking soda and something else (vinegar?) more often.  I should fashion more nifty caddies out of recycled milk jugs.  I should find new uses for duct tape and chapstick.  I should clean the toilet using fizzy denture tablets on a frequent basis.  Well, you know what they say…don’t should on yourself.

I read all those helpful hints columns where people send in their burning questions and I marvel that someone actually has the answers to these things.  I have years of experience running a household, but I certainly shouldn’t be writing household solutions advice columns; they’d end up looking something like this:
Q: How can I get a streak-free shine on my granite counter tops?
 A: Everybody loves a sparkling counter top. I like to use my sleeve.  Remember, you only have to do this when company is imminent.  Don't waste it on your family.  They don't care.
Q: There is a smell coming from my basement.  How can I get rid of it?
A: That smell is coming from your teenagers.  There is no way that I know of, other than adoption, to get rid of it.  It should begin to dissipate between ages 18 and 22; however some people don't notice a difference until age 30.  It depends how comfortable your basement is and how much sugary cereal you keep in your pantry.  In the meantime, try Febreeze or a combination of broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Q: How can I get my family to participate in the household chores?
A: Most people agree that getting kids involved with chores as early as possible teaches them valuable life lessons.  Most people also agree that doing this is the equivalent of attempting to eat soup with a toothpick.  The conversation in my house goes something like this:
            Me: “Kids, I need someone to sweep and someone to vacuum.” 
            Kids: “Who’s coming over?”
            (Kids then wait the Appropriate Amount of Time and disappear down the stairs.  Unaware, husband approaches.)
            Me:  “Hon, can you do the sweeping and vacuuming?”
            Him:  “Why are you ruining my life?”

Q: Can buying in bulk save me time and money?
A: Well, in theory, yes.  Let’s talk about reality though.  You’ll spend time making a very large grocery list, leave for the store and forget it on the kitchen counter, along with the grocery bags and the coin thingy for the shopping cart.  You’ll buy everything you can remember on your list, come home and then immediately return to the grocery store because you have no milk and nothing to make dinner with.
So, I have one prediction to make for 2013:  The year will end much the same as it began.  Chaotic, with a family full of good intentions, stumbling toward greatness.  I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

It's a Brand New Year!

Well here we are, 2013.  Doesn't that seem crazy?  Think back to when you were a kid and someone mentioned the year 2013.  It seemed impossible, like we'd all be wearing tin foil outfits and living on Mars by now. 

I think we are at an in-between phase of celebrating New Years Eve.  After the busy Christmas season, the thought of putting on itchy pantyhose and a little black dress that I will freeze in and going somewhere noisy cannot compete with the thought of putting on my sweats and reading a book.  Yes, Dull Dora, I know, but Dora needs her down time.  

I was trying to remember how we celebrated when we were kids, but the whole Christmas season is blurred together, so New Years didn't really stand out.  I remember one year having those cracker things to open up.  Somehow, I thought it was going to be more exciting than pulling a tissue paper crown and a green plastic ring out of a toilet paper tube, but hey, these are the things we do.

My parents often went to the New Years Eve dance in town.  It was called a Dine & Dance and it was all very exciting because they always had a live "Orchestra".  That's what bands were known as in those days.  In fact, my Dad still wonders why no one has orchestras at their wedding anymore, it's all 'them damn tapes and their boom, boom, boom'.  He's hilarious.  The orchestra was usually the Gold Tops, our community band.  I would give a lot to be able to hear them again.

Party favours were handed out at these New Years dances and apparently, my parents didn't have the presence of mind at 3:00 a.m. or whenever they would make it home to put the party favours elsewhere but on the kitchen table.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't their plan to be woken up a few hours later when the kids got up and found the stash of noisemakers. TWEEEET! HONK!  CLACKETY-CLACKETY-CLACK!  One kid would inevitably try on one of the plastic hats, snap their throat with the cheap elastic and start wailing.  Good times.

The apple does not fall far from the tree, because I remember bringing these things home from the New Years dances we went to thinking how much our kids would love them and not giving any thought to what TIME they would love them!  "Oh those crazy kids found the tooters!  Kill me now." 

New Years dances are definitely not my thing.  I learned that after the first few I went to.  Awkward from start to end, they were.  I would spend the whole night with a skillful eye on whose whiskey-induced advances I had to avoid after the countdown.  Then everyone stood in a circle and pretended to know the words to Auld Lang Syne.  Ach.  No thanks.

 Even house parties are iffy to someone who has personal space issues like me.  At 11:58 you'll see me quietly slip away to the bathroom and remain conspicuously absent at the stroke of midnight until all the drunken hugging and kissing has ceased.  It seems totally alien to me to greet someone with a 'Hey, how are ya' at the start of the evening and suddenly at midnight you are locked in an clumsy embrace??  Are you supposed to let them kiss you on the cheek?  What if you turn the wrong way and bang heads?  No wonder people drink, that's a lot of pressure to get the choreography right!  They shouldn't call it New Years Eve, they should call it the Grade 8 dance.  The people who know me and get me accept my offer of a High Five to ring in a healthy and prosperous new year.  I love the people who know me and get me.

Seriously though, I'm less of a curmudgeon than I seem.  I have high hopes for 2013.  I'm happy to turn the calendar page.  It represents opportunity.  2012 has offered me much and for that I must be grateful.  2012 has shown me that a heart can break but with love, begin to mend again. Thank you for reading this little blog of mine.  I wish you health and joy in 2013.