wedding bells

No, not for me, silly. I already made that mistake glorious decision last century sometime.

No, not for me, silly. I already made that mistake glorious decision last century sometime. No, my cousin Shawn (who is the youngest of the Cameron grandchildren, by the way, since my selfish mother wouldn’t allow me to hang on in utero for another four months) was married on May 21 – finally, as everyone felt obliged to tell him. Over and over.  And over. Now we can all start nagging him about when they’ll start a family. It’s good to prepare all this hassling ahead of time.

Here is Shawn and his lovely bride, Nikki:

Gorgeous, huh? Yeah, and Shawn’s okay too. Whatever.

As it so happens, some of my favourite people were also in attendance. People like Shawn’s parents, my aunt Lilianne and Uncle Louis:

 Lilianne has gone through more crap in the last few years than anyone deserves, let alone someone so kind and funny and big-hearted. She’s awesome.

Also awesome is my Uncle Cecil, seen here with my cousin Rachele (yes, yes, she’s awesome too) and my similarly awesome Aunt Viola:

 Vi and Cecil have been married a long, long time now and although Viola is in the grip of Alzheimer’s these days, Cecil looks after her with the care and love of a newlywed.  It’s all so sweet and sad I had to keep helping myself to the wine to maintain my composure. No, not really. My parents were there too and I had to behave set a good example. You know they’d be out of control, otherwise.

Speaking of Rachele (who is Shawn’s sister and my MUCH older cousin – coughbytwoweekscough), here she is with her family and the bride and groom:

 There must be some mistake with this photo because Rachele’s son Joshua, on the far left, is still a toddler (…in my mind…) and his sister, Savannah, beside him, is still a newborn. That’s just the way it is. There is NO WAY this much time has passed and I am this old. Impossible. These holographic images of them from the future are cool, though. Kids are so talented these days. The gentleman in the pink shirt is Rachele’s husband, Robert, and I bet he would like me to add that the pink shirt was not his idea. I believe his exact words were, “It was hanging in the closet, so that means wear it.” Wise man.

Considering Shawn was wearing a pink striped tie, I’d say he’s learning too. I have yet to achieve this level of sartorial compliance with The Boy Wonder, so I raise my (empty again) glass to you, ladies. May we all live happily ever after.

 

 

call me Mommy dearest

Today is the one week anniversary of Mother’s Day, that glorious occasion otherwise known as The One Day of the Year that Figuring Out What to Have for Supper is Not My Problem.

After breakfast in bed – a dicey proposition with three children, two dogs and a cat all using the bed as a combination trampoline/wrestling mat – I opened my gifts, which included:

Felted Fish by Foster.

Cute, isn’t it? He is a craftsman.

Not to be outdone, Charlotte made this:

Felted Perry.

Perry is, of course, Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb:

Perry lives a double life, spending half his time fighting crime as Agent P (as seen above) and the other half posing as an ordinary pet platypus:

Charlotte took pains to make sure Felted Perry included both Agent P’s hat and Perry’s wall-eyed blank stare so I could “play with him either way.” A+ for attention to detail.

Anna presented me with vouchers good for two breakfasts in bed and two “no kids” days – “10 hours max” – because she knows I’d totally take advantage and stretch it out to eleven or twelve hours, given the opportunity. I tried to scan her coupons to show here, but couldn’t get a clear image for some reason. What do you want to bet she produced them with some kind of cutting edge anti-reproduction technology to prevent me from running off dozens of them? Foiled again.

I spent the afternoon with my mother, fending off blackflies as we toured two local gardens. (Sorry about the bites, Ma. I’m sure the scars will heal someday.)

Ooh, look – pretty forget-me-nots:

And a nice rhodo:

And this…thing. I call it flowering quince and my Mom calls it Japonica:

Whatever. You say tomato, I say watermelon.

April break

The kids and I zipped over to PEI for a few days last week for the funeral of my Uncle Emmett – RIP – and because I am the meanest of all Mommies, I forced the kids to actually learn something during our trip by dragging them to a couple museums. They were really broken up about it, as you can see:

 Here they are at the Acadian Museum in Miscouche, which was “really good,” as Charlotte proclaimed on our way out. It is good – informative, visually interesting and well laid out. You should go.

We also liked Founders Hall in Charlottetown:

 The statues of the Fathers of Confederation were a particular hit. Founders Hall is the perfect example of how museums can be fun and educational at the same time.

Because I aspire to be an absolute monster, I also dragged them to the beach:

 That’s Foster running toward that bit of ice jutting out, from which he launched more chunks of ice in an attempt to either (a) splash frigid water all over himself or (b) fall into the frigid water completely.  Contrary to my expectations, he did NOT fall in, but ended up so wet he might as well have. As we were leaving, he came to me clutching an armful of ice chunks and said, “I guess I can’t keep these, huh?”

See how smart he is? All this homeschooling is paying off.

This is my co-pilot at Cape Jourimain in New Brunswick:

 To escape the children’s incessant nagging for Tim Hortons donuts, I abandoned the vehicle and was sprinting towards the Confederation Bridge yelling, “Let me back in!” when I realized I had left my MP3 player in the car. Shoot. It was a tough call, but I returned to the car and continued driving home.

And yes, they got their stupid donuts. (But I ate a maple glazed. You know, just to show them who’s boss.)

Black Hole Falls is as scary as it sounds

When one of Anna’s friends invited us to accompany him and his parents on a trip to a secluded beach yesterday, I said sure. What better way to spend a sunny March afternoon than rock hounding in the fresh air, right? Wrong. As it turns out, there are LOTS of better ways to spend a sunny March afternoon when the route to the beach is actually a mountainous death trap.

Yes, a death trap, I tell you, and nothing – not even the way everyone else was bounding over fallen logs and leaping from wet, mossy rock to wet, mossy rock like a bunch of mountain goats – will convince me otherwise. The problem, you see, is that my knees are not made of bone and cartilage and ligaments like yours, but rather cracked toothpicks and dried gum and bits of half-rotten string. That’s a fact.

Anna’s lovely young friend and his wonderful parents couldn’t possibly know this, of course, but I bet they’ll ask for x-rays and a complete physical before ever inviting anyone on a trip with them in the future. Spending three hours with a red-faced, grunting, wincing, limping mess (that would be me) oughta do it.

The first two minutes were promising enough, but then Anna’s friend suggested we take a short detour to see a waterfall and that’s where it all went downhill. Like literally down a really steep hill. I stood at the top and watched all the others scamper down fearlessly and thought something along the lines of, ‘oh poopy.’ With my first tentative step down, my right knee made a horrible popping noise accompanied by a knifelike pain below my kneecap and I started to sweat because that’s my good knee.

It was a rough trip to the bottom – not because I fell, although I did consider hurling myself down the hill more than once, just to be done with it. My shaken confidence and inability to stand upright for more than two seconds helps explain the quality of my photo of the waterfall:

Water, trees, ice, beauty, yeah whatever – I’m dying.

But I didn’t die, happily or unhappily (it depends on how you feel about me) and after the kids failed to drown in the frigid water below the waterfall – not from lack of trying to fall in through foolhardy behaviour – we crossed that stream raging river you see in the foreground not once but twice. Everyone else had perfect balance, naturally, and the ability to leap from the tip of one icy, jagged rock to the next across the water while I, crippled and embarrassed by my lack of athletic ability, did not.

When we finally made it to the beach, I rejoiced and wondered if it would be possible for me to live there permanently, partly for the lovely scenery and partly because I didn’t know how on earth I would ever make it back out. The Bay of Fundy shore (along this part of Nova Scotia, at least) is rocky. Really rocky:

 Those rocks are a good twelve feet high, I’d say, and we had to cross them to get to the beach beyond.

 That’s everyone else charging on ahead while I tried (and failed) to keep up. At least no one could hear my whimpering back there.

 This is Charlotte climbing out of a cave. “Come in, Mommy, you have to see this,” she yelled. “It’s really neat.” Without a jet pack to propel me up there, I had to regretfully decline.

 See what I mean by rocky? I lived for those flat, pebbly areas.

 The red speck in the centre is Foster coming down the sheer face of a giant rock as if he were hopping from the top of a bunk bed.

 They’re fit, fearless explorers, as you can see. They get that from me.

Ha.

To celebrate making it out alive, we stopped at The Look-Off on the way home for my kind of sightseeing: drive up, park, stand on level ground, take pictures, repeat.

 Here, Foster, Anna and Charlotte commiserate over their failure to have lost me in the woods. Try harder, suckers! (Actually, don’t.)

photo dumping

It’s out of character, granted, but I don’t have much to say these days. That is probably because I spend every moment flailing frantically, trying to keep my head above water. I know being busy is better than the alternative and I can rest when I’m dead and all those other condescending (and morbid) expressions people throw in your face after asking how you are and hearing the response, “Busy.”

I don’t say I’m busy because I want sympathy (I chose to take on most of my current responsibilities, after all) or because it makes me sound important (aside from being the only one around here to remember everyone’s birthdays, I’m completely replaceable); I say it because it’s true. I have a lot on the go, too much on the go, and I’m struggling to make it all work. I have the bad feeling something has to give and I’m not sure what that something will be. I’ve already jettisoned exercise, all creative pursuits and a social life, so what next? Personal hygiene? Eating? Sleeping?

So, upon realizing I had nothing to write about except my insane daily schedule, I decided to have a look through the past several months of photos on Anna’s digital camera in the hopes of finding a nice picture or two. What I found was…interesting. Anna’s camera is used by everyone (except The Boy Wonder, who seems to have no desire to prance around taking photos with a tiny, pink camera) and as the photographer gets younger and younger, the photos get weirder and weirder. I’ll spare you the countless shots of Lego constructions, Littlest Pet Shop posters, blurry shots of the dog and deeply unflattering close-ups of the humans. (Most important lesson I learned this afternoon: I have no good side.)

But I did find this:

 Anna took this in our office the other day and I call it, “Forbidden Embrace in Office Supply Closet.” It isn’t in a closet and they’re free to embrace, but I think it adds a little excitement and mystery, don’t you?

Oh, and this:

I took this shot on a home-schooling field trip to Halifax to visit the Museum of Natural History and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. I call it “Sullen City Bird.” He agreed to this photo in exchange for a french fry.

And this:

“Bald Eagle Contemplating Small Dog for Afternoon Snack.” This photo was taken by Charlotte, I think. It might have been Anna. I can’t remember, but I’m sure they’ll waste no time in correcting me if I’m wrong.

And continuing the bird theme:

“Outside my Dirty Kitchen Window an Osprey Takes Flight.” Shot by me a couple days ago. Not shot shot.

And then I found two photos, also taken by me, that beg for an expanded collection:

Caterpillar on pavement.

Giant slug on pavement.

How exciting to have a new project.

maternal pride and some white-hot anger

The day after my last post, I accompanied Foster’s class on a trip to CFB 14 Wing Greenwood, where Foster promptly stole a parachute and tried to hijack the Hercules plane we were being shown:

That kid. Honestly. I can’t take him anywhere.

Two days later was this girl’s birthday:

Anna is twelve now. Twelve. Crazy. Because her birthday was a “marking day,” Anna had no school and instead spent the day going out for lunch and Frenchy’s shopping with Jam, then opening presents and going to Swiss Chalet for a birthday dinner with the whole family.

Two days after her birthday, Anna had a swimming/sleepover party with four of her friends. Yes, you heard me correctly: a swimming AND sleepover party. Are we not the world’s greatest parents? Yes, I think so. The Boy Wonder took Foster, Charlotte, Anna and four of her friends to the Acadia pool to swim for a couple hours, then they came home, decorated make-your-own pizzas for supper, ate homemade cake and then “slept” in the basement. I think I spent about eight solid hours just doing dishes that day. I won’t post photos from her party because I’m not sure how the girls’ parents would feel about that, but I can sum up my shots by saying the girls were JUST A LITTLE EXCITED.

Two days after that (see the pattern?) was the closing ceremony at Anna’s school, during which she won an Outstanding Effort and Achievement award:

Please forgive the photo; I was standing about a mile and a half away. That’s Anna to the left of the kid in the orange sweater. Her teacher is poking her head in between the two kids. The hoodlums in the back are the other Grade 6 teachers.

Anyway, this is what is printed on the back of her certificate (wording and random capitalization not mine, obviously):

This Award is presented to two students in each Homeroom

Who have Demonstrated an Outstanding Dedication to Learning.

These students have Shown Tremendous Intellectual and Social Development.

Both Exemplify the Academic Spirit and Work Ethic of

EMS to which All should Aspire.

Good God. I weep for the future. Seriously, people, just because you write something in italics doesn’t mean you can capitalize at will. I keep studying this little passage, looking for a pattern and I can’t find one. We have a few capitalized verbs, but not all. We have lots of capitalized nouns, but not all. I hate to be bitchy about it (not really, but let’s pretend), but shouldn’t EDUCATORS pay a teensy bit more attention to these kinds of things? You know, “setting a good example” and all that?

But maybe I’m just punchy because my medical situation has gone from bad to worse: a thyroid ultrasound I did about a month ago has revealed I have two nodules on my thyroid, one on the left side and one on the right. The good news is that the nodules aren’t necessarily cancerous and, even if they are, thyroid cancer is one of the easiest to treat. The bad news is I have to have a biopsy to find out for sure. Big needle in throat = no fun. So the revelation of this whole nodule thing combined with my whacked out hormone levels certainly helps explain my crappy health. Oh, how I’d love to take my ultrasound report and cram it down the piehole of that arsehole endocrinologist who said my problems were all in my head. Close, goofball – they’re in my throat, but better luck next time.