The Unrelenting Echoes of Summer

The ‘hood battles are raging and the summer days are stretching onwards and upwards. No one is immune to the reaching fingertips of ire and impatience emanating from cranky neighbours who refuse to admit their age is getting the better of them. If one is to listen to them, the kids are running amok flailing wildly among heathens and hoodlums destined to dethrone the king of badness. Nothing good happens past nine- thirty peeps, and children left to pillage and plunder the village into the abyss of indifference and permissive dismissal are future adults destined for the Presidency of an American nation. Alas how are we to survive the madness?!Calm down, peeps.

The children are children playing in the backyards of responsible professional adults paying their taxes, abiding the laws of society and contributing to the well-being of community and ‘hood alike.

There is no crime here, only that of youth being restless and young on summer nights that have magically become windless and warm. The days where summer seems to last forever, where any kid of any age can dream of digging for buried treasure, swim in the depths of a backyard pool and savour the taste of s’mores and burnt marshmallows on a backyard campfire. Tents, giggles, sleeping bags, practical jokes, stolen garden gnomes (oh, my poor Norman where art thou?) all a big part of childhood and growing up in a safe environment surrounded by loving parents and committed neighbours to raising a generation of well-adjusted, educated, intelligent, compassionate and community minded young people.

That’s what my idea of a neighbourhood is.

Watching out for each other against the rallies of the occasional late-night thievery, lost dogs, wayward cats, and kids out past the boundaries of the park at the end of the street. Local spring clean-ups, bottle drives for hockey trips, Mummering Christmases, barbeques and the fence raising- shed building- deck erecting- construction that brings friends and neighbours together.

We connect to support each other in times of confusion and debt reduction, lost jobs, raised taxes, sky-high grocery bills and illness and heart attacks and even the death of someone’s parent or relative. It’s what they mean when a neighbourhood becomes a small village.

We become each other’s indirect relative.

A communal leaning post.

Friends. Allies. Fellow compatriots in a world where we embrace differences and stand up for the underdog. Where we denounce bullies, raise up kindness and understanding and assist at all costs.

It’s in the DNA of every Newfoundlander to have this innate sense of community; to feel responsible for each other because, hey, don’t I know yer father? At least, that’s what I was led to believe.

Let’s see more of that. Community. Fellowship. Understanding.

AND FUN.

Hey kids! Your loudness behooves me!

The kids running around playing spotlight after dark, the fires in the backyard pits, the barbeques, the late night dog walking, the chatting…

There is no room for fear of being loud or obnoxious. The sounds of laughter and squealing from children should be a sign of a healthy happy environment fraught with joy and the unending bounds of childhood activity.

It should be lauded as the epitome of strength of home and family; not sullied as unnecessary and appalling.

As the summer progresses, let the children play in the streets and wreak havoc in the backyards. Soon enough they will be grown and gone and our yards will echo with their lost squeals of fun-fueled delight from summers past. Youth is fleeting.

Let’s not wish it away.

 What?! I can’t hear you! Whispering sucks. 

 

 

Summer Days Can Be Noisy. Bring Your Headphones. And Gas Ovens. 

The summer is spinning on and I’m trying desperately to hang on without randomly sticking my in the oven…It just occurred to me that even that wouldn’t be effective, as I have an electric oven. I guess when you see the old lady-with-her-head-in-the-oven gag, she actually owns a gas operated appliance, which obviously would do one in. An electric one would only be harmful if it was simultaneously touching water…or plugged in whilst out in the rain. But then, why would you have an oven OUTSIDE IN THE RAIN. No one would need to bake a cake outside during a monsoon. Unless you wanted to have a baked goods sale on the side of the road instead of the usual lemonade stand and having the oven outside is both convenient and a sales pitch, and people would be too excited and cause mass riots in the ‘hood since, BAKED GOODS.    Then some people would think y0u are trying to sell the oven instead of the baked goods, which would cause more discussion and chaos.

No oven outside is what I’m saying. Totally useless and makes too much noise in the ‘hood which apparently, is an issue what with all of the children home from school because ITS SUMMER HOLIDAYS AND THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS IN THE SUMMER.

And no need to stick one’s head inside it, since it would also be pointless. And kinda creepy looking. Unless, cleaning. Ugh.    

What was I saying?

Right. Summer.  

It’s happening and really I just want to sit outside in the sun. It’s the best.  

Unfortunately, there are people in the universe who are not happy well-adjusted human beings who, for some unknown reason, decide that living in a neighbourhood full of children and families is a great idea until the children decide to, God forbid, laugh and play then it’s all STOP THOSE CHILDREN FROM HAVING FUN I’M TRYING TO BE QUIET HERE! And we’re all like YOU LIVE IN A NEIGHBOURHOOD WITH FAMILIES. And they’re all WELL THAT’S NOT MY FAULT. GET THOSE CHILDREN TO BE QUIET. JEOPARDY IS ON AND I CAN’T HEAR ALEX’S QUESTION! And I’m all like IT’S ACUTALLY THE ANSWER, YOU NEED TO COME UP WITH THE QUESTION GAWD DO YOU NOT WATCH JEOPARDY ON A REGULAR BASIS?! And they’re like NO BECAUSE I CAN’T FREAKIN’ HEAR IT WITH ALL THE FRIVOLITY AND FUN GOING ON!  

Hence, the oven.

Maybe I will have a baked goods sale with ovens and children and lemonade stands and garage sales and carnivals in the streets. Mags can be outside and bark at all the joyous crowds gathering then we could have firetrucks and police cars sounding their sirens and in the evening have fireworks and a bonfire and…

DID SOMEBODY SAY BLOCKPARTY??!!  

 THIS LOOKS AWESOME.  AND SCARY.  HANG ON KID! But don’t scream. That’s way too much noise.  

Let’s Pretend Reality is Really Real

As I get older, I find it harder to keep up. Keep up with the ‘kids’, keep up with the work around the house, keep up with the bills, keep up with exercising, keep up with the ever moving ever changing world we live in. I suppose that’s normal and something everybody has to deal with, but that’s not the image people play out on social media.
If one was to believe everything according to Facebook, everybody is living a perfect well-balanced, harmonious life void of any pressures of keeping up, or staying fit or feeling great or being successful. Life According to Facebook is a veritable wonderland of rainbows and unicorns. The happiness meter is on bust and the world is one great big giant playground where all the kids are having fun and playing nice and laughing hysterically…not maniacally. That would be creepy and Facebook doesn’t do creepy. Does it? 

 Well, kinda when you think about it. That’s the premise of Facebook. We gander and peruse others’ lives. We look at the pictures. We see the posts. “I had a great time eating my lunch today.” REALLY?! How is eating lunch equal to having a good time? UNLESS, there was alcohol and a lot of friends thrown in there where you didn’t have to go back to work and the food was free and the sun was shining and….see, there are parameters about how having fun eating lunch can actually occur. Who am I to judge whether someone had fun simply by eating his/her lunch? I’m not. But if somebody puts it out there for the world to see, the world will invariably judge because, duh, that’s what human beings do.  

We judge.

We compare.

We analyse.

We decide what is good, what is bad, what is tasteful, what isn’t. It’s in our nature to simply make decisions on first impressions, be all judgey about it then move on.  

Or, like me, make fun. It’s how I roll, but then I expect the same in return.  

The perfectionist in all of us wants to post the BEST of us on Facebook for the world to dissect and analyse and examine in some sort of twisted voyeuristic play, but that’s not real life.

Nothing on there is real. Really. Not EXACTLY reality, sort of a mixed-up “let’s pretend” kind of thing.  

Image is what is being projected. Someone’s likeness to the real human underneath the pouty smile or the posed stance next to the car. No one’s life is a perfect sequence of magical events all coming together in one symphonic interlude.  

But we sure as hell like to think it does. “Hey, I got a smile from my dog. Post that!” I have done that. I do that all of the damned time and then think, “Why the fuck did I just post a picture of my snarly growly tyrannical dog who actually looks like she’s smiling for once and not ready to tear the head off some random kid walking by our house?” WELL, BECAUSE MY SNARLY GROWLY TYRANNICAL DOG ACUTALLY LOOKED LIKE SHE’S SMILING FOR ONCE AND NOT READY TO TEAR THE HEAD OFF SOME RANDOM KID WALKING BY OUR HOUSE! That’s why. Because it made me happy to think she was actually happy and I wanted the world to think my dog was happy and in turn, I was happy.

Because happy is good.

AND WHO DOESN’T WANT TO BE HAPPY?!

So post happy!

As long as everyone is under the general anesthetic knowledge that NOTHING ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS REALLY REAL, only kinda sorta real then we’re all good.

So, Truman on folks.*  

Fake is the new reality. Not to be confused with the ever-nauseating phrase ‘fake news’. Pleeeeeeaaasssse. No.

Here is a picture of my snarly growly tyrannical dog who actually looks like she’s smiling for once.


I hope it makes you happy.

*[For those of you old enough, this is a movie reference to the Truman Show. Jim Carrey. Ring a bell? No? Ugh. Nevermind….]

I’m Drivin’ Here!! 

Summer has finally hit the rock with warmer winds and the penchant to sit out in the sun void of any common sense and sunblock. Everyone returns to work on Tuesday after a long weekend with red skin and a hangover. Ahhhh, summer.With that, drivers seemed to be imminently scarred from the rays of the sun with forgetfulness and ignorance, aka, signal lights have gone mysteriously missing and cutting others off then driving like grandma-without-a-license is the new fad. Apparently, my daughter says I have road rage and I should take anger management classes, just because I swore a bit today while trying to turn into Tim’s and people had the nerve to DRIVE WITHOUT LETTING ME TURN!! COME ON I NEED COFFEE HERE!!! Gawd….

I think people should be reminded how to drive with a bit of grace, dignity and an air of panache. Like driving with the windows down whilst listening to a classic Manilow tune! Or driving that convertible that can only be taken out a few times a year and whip around the city with hair flying and eyes closed! AND, of course turn down any street and park on the wrong side of the road while one figures out that dang cell-phone thingy the daughter left! Please! Just don’t cut me off then look at me in shock and horror that I am presenting you with an offer to go in another direction. At least I’m smiling sweetly while I do that. AND, DON’T DRIVE BY THE COFFEE SHOP WHEN I’M TRYING TO TURN!  
Aside from the brutal driving, I am content with the sun, tolerating the wind and am unhappy with the clouds that seem to descend once I get home from work. I long for a full day of sun in multiple succession, not just a day here and there.

ALSO, who thought up the bright idea to have graduations, convocations and proms all in the span of one month?! Those of us geniuses with multiple childadults who are about-to-be-employed-and-eat-all-of-my-food-without-replacing-it-including-my-FAVOURITE-COFFEE-THAT-I-NEED-TO-EXIST-ON-THIS-CLIMATE-CHANGING-TRUMP-VOMIT-INDUCING-PLANET, DO NOT THANK YOU FOR THAT.  

Just saying.

Despite all of the above whining, I am content. I go to Bootcamp that has me dizzy with new exercises that are combined with other exercises that have me doing multiple things all at once. The bicep-tricep-dip-with-a-downward-dog-push-up-frogjump is my favourite so far. I’m gonna wait while you try that sucker out…

See?

Awesome. I’m often glad I can’t see EXACTLY what exercises Coach has printed on the whiteboards at each station. I’m tempted to rewrite what’s there when it’s my turn and watch the ladies who follow me figure that shit out.  

IF you see me with a marker anywhere near those whiteboards, consider yourself warned.

Also, I am hanging out with Hubby who is doing very well and the childadults-who–eat- all-of-the-food and whine about working.  

Awwww…SUCK IT UP KIDS.

Enjoy the sun, warmth and the impending rain that will happen because Newfoundland.

I’ll be over here drinking wine and watching another door blow off my house. Cheers! 

 

I Remain Aloof and Ambivilant With a Side of Fog-Induced Misery. Good. Times.

The current weather conditions have prompted Hubby to exclaim his dedication to moving, so he has taken to looking up prospective real estate on the mainland. This has included my hometown, where I have to say “No, that’s not Chatham. That’s actually in Tilbury” to which he shakes his head and says “So?” Yes. Exactly. So? So why are you even looking over there? So, there’s no real viable based-in-reality prospect of us moving to Southwestern Ontario within the next 4 years, but he loves to toy with the idea just to see my reaction. I remain ambivalent and aloof, until the next day which has me looking up real estate in ACTUAL Chatham, not the near-miss towns, and then I get all sentimental and ‘what if’ and then I snap out of it when the IB book list looms over my head reminding me my teenaged son has yet to graduate highschool. And drive. And get a first part-time job with actual customers yelling at him because he messed up their beloved double-double. To relocate the junior would be detrimental to my sanity…and his.
Life marches on and the weather we are experiencing plays a major part in mood and enjoyment of life. The entire month of July has been one big kick in the ass, day-after-day of rain, drizzle, fog and near freezing temperatures. After a while it has one dreaming of beachy vacations amid sand, sun and surf, and possibly even selling it all and moving to an uninhabitable tropical island to become beachcombers and vagrants…is that even possible? Can one still be a rugged beachcomber living off the sand, building a straw hut and eating coconuts and bananas all day as the warm sun sinks into her skin? Ahhh….I think I want to try that.
People are starting to wonder if the sun will ever shine again in our skies. Flowers are not blooming, the barbeque remains unlit and the deck hasn’t seen occupants the entire month. We are now thinking fall will just come swiftly, leaving summer a distant imaginary friend waving at us from our driveway as father backs over her with his car. Poor Summer. She never had a chance with Dad at the wheel.
As the rest of the civilized world bakes in a heat wave, we shiver and huddle in our masses and homes, fires lit in the fire place, blankets abound and the umbrellas and nanny bonnets at the ready. (Nanny bonnet= rain bonnet old ladies wear to protect their permanents. These are Dollar store finds that the senior women use on windy, rainy days, currently in abundance these days. I threatened to don one yesterday as I headed out into torrential rain and 60km hour winds)
You may laugh at our inconsequential whining of ‘no summer weather’ however, we only get two months of summer-like temperatures to begin with. Now take away an entire month, and we are left hoping and desperately pleading with the weather gods to make August a more warmer and sunnier reprieve from the onslaught of winter. We know, we choose to live here, and most of us will not trade places with mainlanders, our island being our homeland as we remain stoically patriotic, however, that tends to wain as the days of rain, drizzle, fog wear on and our spirits begin to drag. A day in the sunshine is all we ask.
I hope with a new month beginning tomorrow, Summer will make an appearance in my driveway. I’ll remind the drivers to watch where they’re going so she can safely wave and maybe even stay for supper.    I’ll turn on the barbeque….who wants a hamburger?

Look!  There it is!  Ahhh...warm....

Look! There it is! Ahhh…warm….

The Positives of Positivity

I wanted to write another Top Ten, but since I couldn’t come up with anything original or interesting for you folks, you’re stuck with whatever pops into ma head next. Soooo….summer is over.

How’s that for positivity?

The fall winds have begun to blow and there goes summer, gone in a puff. What happened? Summer is so brief around here, we have to relish every second. And for the most part, we did. There were barbeques, regattas, birthdays, hot days (rare, but July was one of the hottest here…yay for me!), reading, swearing, drinking which led to more swearing, and finally vacay…2.0. It was awesome and we are all still friends, which is a tribute to great friendships but even better to rum. Yeah.

The dog survived her two and half weeks away from us, the house stood without spontaneously combusting, the cars remained intact and we are all still in one piece…no bumps, no scars but a little bruised…still not sure what that was from.

The girls are back to university, the kid is in his first year of high school (Gawd, I’m old) and I am still here.
Another year ahead of hockey, (ugh) part-time jobs, weekends with the ‘hood, working, writing and hubby complaining…because I think that’s his favorite hobby.

I think New Year’s resolutions should be made in the fall, that way we can make them while we are still in a good mood from the summer. Everything is still bright and shiny like the new pencils we bought for school and our new running shoes we got for gym.

I have some plans and I hope they get to see the light of day. In the meantime, let’s stay positive and keep on going.

I told a student today, baby steps baby. Think of last year and all the great strides you’ve made to get right here where you are today. A simple thing like walking into a building can be the biggest accomplishment you have…so take that and run with it. Doesn’t matter how big or small it is to anyone else…it only matters how big it is to you.

So, what have you accomplished this year?

Me…I’ve decided to become more inspiring…more motivational and positive. Turn stuff around so it looks better from the other side. Sometimes, all it takes is a different perspective.

So, have a great week peeps! And stay positive.

Remember…You. Are. Awesome.

Barney awesome

 

Top Ten Things I Learned on My Epic Family Summer Vacation The Sequel

As it is with ma ‘hood, we like to do stuff together. In fact, togetherness is all the rage, yo. So, behold, on the fourteenth of this past month, five and a half families(the half came in middle of said vacation when a father-son duo joined the group) decided to depart TOGETHER on the Epic Family Vacation venturing on what would become an epic fantasmic event of lost wallets, missing Disney tickets, the barbeque from hell and frogs that just wouldn’t shut the fuck up. Here is a list of shit I learned whilst venturing into the wilds with nothing more than my wits and my flip flops (and alcohol…don’t forget the alcohol):

1. Blue water is good, brown water is yukky and may contain nastiness such as alligators, crocodiles, mosquitos on steroids and wasps…ewww.

2. Nothing says ‘romance’ more than sharing a room with three kids, a cot, a loose praying mantis and a veritable array of alcoholic beverages that do not go well with oatmeal. ugh.

3. Barbeques work especially well when the propane tank is attached and actually filled with propane. When the inevitable ’empty tank’ situation occurs, the next best thing is to ‘borrow’ the neighbour’s barbeque…only beware. Their anti-theft shit is awesome. Four men couldn’t open the tank….it took yours truly, a stealthy little can opener and five minutes of hacking to get that baby to move. I know…I rock. I was proud to announce ma prowess with barbeques after the men all sat back down and recommenced to chugging the beers they were consuming pre-barbeque valve contest. There should have been prize money involved…at least a free t-shirt that read “I OPENED THE BARBEQUE TANK WITH A CAN OPENER. WHAT DID YOU DO TODAY?” yeah.

Yay!  VACATION!!

Yay! VACATION!!

4. Attending Disney is better when you actually remember to bring the tickets. This did not happen to me, but to poor Birthday Girl who forgot the tickets, however, did wisely take pics of them and showed them to the nice lady at Blizzard Beach, who promptly issued new ones. We love her. AND, Birthday Girl’s mom who had to endure the “This is how you take a picture with iphone and email said picture” lesson…which was a bit lengthy, I understand.

5. Keep it in your pants, pal. The wallet, I mean. I was referring to the wallet. The escapades continued with Bday Girls’ fam as her hubby promptly lost his shit on the Summit Plummit ride…and by shit, I was referring to the wallet…which was recovered. Eventually. See? There are good people still walkin’ around out there…AND, he could have lost his shit on that ride I didn’t stick around long enough to watch the descent into madness.

6. Don’t take the fucking chair lift, please. Bday Girl made the mistake of gently suggesting we take the ‘nice chair lift ride’ to the top of the ‘mountain’ so we could ride the water slide. I think I vomited a little in ma mouth before I retorted the “DO YOU WANT TO SEE ME CRY?!!” She then remembered my anxiety around chair lifts (there is no such thing as a ‘nice chair lift ride’) and we made the trek up the stairs.

7. Saying “I just passed away” is not the same as “I just passed out”. Just to be clear. I don’t want people to start the funeral arrangements for daughter who said she “passed away” whilst lounging in a chair in the summer heat…poor girl. I think somebody was eyeing her room and planning to pilfer her eye shadow collection…

8. Standing in the underbelly of a large ship with four thousand of your closest friends with no AC and lined up like targets in a shooting contest all in the name of ‘safety’ doesn’t really work well for me. Hence the nausea, intense sweating and hyperventilating that went on before I moved out to get air. I think if we ever were in a dire situation and we needed life boats, I’ll jump, thanks. I tend to like air…and breathing. Breathing is good. I’ll chance the drowning…and the sharks. Sharks are our friends, right? Right?

9. Apparently, there is no such thing as ‘too much Rum’. Hmmm….

10. Packing a suitcase can be tricky when said suitcase is packed too full already and shit starts to spill out and you have to start leaving stuff behind because it’s over the weight limit. Pretty soon you’ll be approaching strangers in an airport and asking if they want to buy used t-shirts or shoes or ‘look, it’s pretty! Hardly worn…underwear’ . That’s when airport security gets a little ‘annoyed’ and asks you to cease and desist with the Undergarment Giveaway Extravaganza you had planned. Damnit. Soo much decent underwear to be won by the many weary travellers just LOOKING for a great pair of boxers. Ugh.

I leave you with the best line of the vacay:

Heard on the plane as we were about to touchdown in St. John’s, my nine year old neighbour promptly asks what day it is. Friday, we say. “Hey, it’s Happy Hour now. Might as well break out the Tequila! Vacation isn’t over yet!”

AWESOME….I like the way she thinks….