Deep Breaths And Wine

The vacation planning and the ongoing struggle to remain a human being whilst juggling the tedious, yet ever-so-important mundane task of breathing is getting exhausting.  
If you just read that SENTENCE and you aren’t fainting from the mere lengthy run-on-edness, then yay for you! You have more stamina than most folks who checked out after ‘the’.  

I know, “vacation planning…Ooooh so sucky to be you right now”, but wait! I’m a let’s-stay-at-home-and-find-something-interesting-to-do-around-here-that-doesn’t-involve-lenghty-lines-and-blistered-feet-and-quotes-of-GAWDIDON’TKNOWWHEREIAMRIGHTNOW!-kinda girl. I love to go away at the beach, etc. but SOME people get so worked up a week before we go, it’s like dancing around a campfire in a drunken stupor knowing at some point you are going to go headfirst into those flames and it ain’t going to be pretty. And nobody wants to see that go down.

Vacation planning sucks. That’s what I’m saying.

It’s all good once the vacay has commenced, but this week is fraught with anxiety and hand wringing and exclamations of “WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE DON’T HAVE THAT BOOKED?!” Gawd, don’t have a cow, it’s not like there are NO HOTELS ANYWHERE IN TORONTO. Or…where are we going, again?  

Yeah, it’s like that.

I should heed advice and not get so upset when SOMEBODY rips my head off because THERE ARE NO GRAPES IN THE HOUSE. WHO KEEPS EATING ALL OF THE GRAPES?! Because, obviously the secret minions of grape-land come in late at night and eat all the friggin’ grapes and it’s really not the grapes that SOMEBODY is upset about, but the getting on the plane and hoping there was nothing forgotten and hope we have enough money for that and let’s not lose the kid this time or fall down and almost break your face, remember that?  

Yeah. Good times.

Truly a hard go at this stage in the game, and with the whole WRITING OF THE EXAM, THE SEQUEL going on, it’s a little testy around these parts.  

I’m basically trying to keep my head on straight and secretly ordering batches of wine to be delivered to my room once we get to the sunny south so I can drink away the voices in my head still screaming DID YOU REMEMBER TO BRING THE PAPERWORK AND YOUR STURDY NO SLIP SHOES?!  

Fuck.  

 

 

East Coast Trail The Sequel, With Art and Everything!

We, meaning the ladies and I and a few little ones, embarked on our second epic East Coast trail hike last Sunday morning onto Cobbler Path.

2016 645  A 4kms and change hike into awesomeness that can only be described as steep and climby and a wee bit sweary.   Although it wasn’t raining…it was foggy, instead.  Newfoundland weather never disappoints.

2016 657

See over the cliff?  That’s the ocean.  See it? IT’S RIGHT THERE! 

So foggy, I couldn’t see the ocean…which was a bummer because who doesn’t like to see the ocean?   AND, we had to walk/hike/climb and of course, swear up the long stairs onto a steep cliff to look down and see…nothingness.  White nothingness.  Ugh.  At least we got through it…with a balancing act of epic proportions, I might add.

2016 647

  WHERE ARE THE DAMNED RAILINGS?!!

2016 665

 

The last pics are the artwork we found on the buildings just as we were heading out of Red Cliff.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

2016 678

They are waiting for me to cross the rocks and water.  Smartasses.  

2016 700

Graceful as fuck.  Again. 

2016 702

We are happy we are not lost in the fog…BTW…THERE’S THE OCEAN IN THE BACKGROUND.  WE FOUND IT. 

Wow…a wee bit sweary, but interesting for sure…

Our next adventure we are expecting to see actual vistas…and scenes.  And hopefully each other at some point.  One of the ladies is hoping there will be railings on the stairs, but I’m not holding my breath.

2016 667               2016 685

 

 

http://www.eastcoasttrail.ca/

http://eastcoasttrail.ca/trail/view.php?id=22

 

East Coast Trail Hike

So, the ladies have decided to try to conquer some of the East Coast Trails this summer and I decided in my infinite wisdom to join them.  We attempted one of the ‘easier’ trails on Saturday amidst the rain and muck and slippery-as-fuck rocks.  Did I say I ‘attempted’ the trail?  Yeah.

2016 6312016 642

2016 637

The cliff of no return

2016 639

2016 645

Graceful as fuck

2016 6442016 627

2016 634

I’m over here!

As you can see by the photos, I’m not only waaaay behind ALL of them, I’m also as graceful as fuck when crossing the streams and smooth as silk rocks that beg you to just TRY to pirouette over them without slamming your face into theirs.  Seriously, East Coast Trail Association…your definition of ‘easy’ is so very different than mine.

Also, notice the sky high cliffs with the death-drops that defy anyone to take a jump and actually live to tell about it.  Bestie is not allowed to work at the suicide hotline after saying she could give tips if someone really wanted to be done away with life.  “I could just tell them where the best cliff is to make sure they’re not coming back.  No question on that one.   Oooh…just look at that drop!  There’s NO WAY your face will be recognizable after that!”  See?  She is your go-to girl for maps on telling life to take a flying leap…literally.

I’m expecting the next adventure to be just as ‘fun’ as this one.  It was enjoyable, except for the ‘wait for me’ and ‘do we have to cross that rushing water again?’ moments.  I’m just glad I didn’t have to pee.

 

Here are the links where to find the trails and the descriptions of each one.  If you’re out this way this summer, take on a trail but be prepared.  Take water, snacks, maps and maybe somebody who is sturdy on their feet.

http://www.eastcoasttrail.ca/

Our first foray into trail hiking was this one:  Silver Mine Head Path http://eastcoasttrail.ca/trail/view.php?id=24

 

 

 

 

When Good People Take Bad Pictures…Ugh.

So, I went on vacation and took some pictures.  I should not be in charge of pictures.  I’ll show you a snippet of what I took with my iPhone.  It’s a good thing Apple doesn’t totally trust me with electronics and fixes shit.  Here are some pics I thought made my trip to Hawaii more interesting.

IMG_0340

Pineapples growing in rows.  Yummmm..only, can you see them?

IMG_0304

Everyone should have a self-portrait complete with a natural wind machine.  I couldn’t recreate this shot if I tried. 

IMG_0291

A giant phallic symbol growing out of the ground.  Awesome!

IMG_0235

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a sunset over the water…I was aiming for that ship in the distance.  SEE IT?!  IT’S OVER THERE!! 

IMG_0261

I found this very interesting.  A gun club in Waikiki.  REALLY?! Vacation =shooting practice.  Hmmmm.  The top stair that says bring out your ‘Dirty Harry’ really makes you scratch your head.

IMG_0460

Notice the finger hovering over the top?  Yeah.  So good at pics.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Officers poker tournament.  I LOST BADLY…Look at that concentration…on everyone, but me.  I’m wondering where ma drink is…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you go.  Pics to prove that unskilled photogs do exist.  That last pic was compliments of a friend we met on-board, who thankfully is more skilled than I.  Thanks, Ron.  You rock.

Family Time and Dog Farts

It’s not very often that we can gather together as a family, these days. With daughters working and going to Uni full time, and son also in his first year of high school and slightly employed (I say ‘slightly’ as he has secured a gig as a referee for some minor hockey games, but only on the weekends), our busy lives have prevented us from being in the same room for longer than fifteen minutes at a time. So when the opportunity presented itself for us to take a road trip to Nanny’s house Christmas day (a 4 1/2 hour long road trip), we surprisingly jumped at it. Turns out, the spontaneous let’s squish in the truck with an anxiety prone dog who should be taking Prozac and anti-farting medication was one of the better times we’ve had.
Why?
A short trip that entailed little in way of responsibility for any parties involved and virtually no expectations except that Nanny would be home and happy to see us. Yay for the latter, as Nanny happened to be out and we were waiting patiently for her return…but when she did show up, she was happy to see us. And we were happy to be out of the truck and away from the smell…ugh.

Our drive home on the open road...

Our drive home on the open road…

What?!  I didn't fart...that was the boy...I blame him.

What?! I didn’t fart…that was the boy…I blame him.

As fast as that road trip was (up and back home the next day) the time in the truck produced laughs, cuddles for us in the back seat, one spilled hot chocolate, a wandering dog who enjoyed licking everyone’s faces and some serious book time. Except for the dog’s flatulence and the tragedy of a hot chocolate downed on a Christmas shirt, it was quite a great ride home. One I think we needed in order to get that ‘family’ togetherness we have been lacking.
Since our spontaneous arrival at Nanny’s meant no Christmas turkey (Nanny had been invited out for turkey that afternoon), we postponed our dinner for a couple of days and invited Bestie and her fam. for the event. That meant, nine for dinner. Besides a runny bread pudding and less-than-baked cheesecake, the turkey was great and everybody around the table for dinner was amazing…
A nice way to spend Christmas.
New Year’s Eve prompted the annual Resolution Reformation and I cannot remember what I declared in Miss H’s binder of, what I am confident to be, intelligent and non-inebriated declarations of determined goals for the year ahead. However, after giving it some thought and a couple of prompts from Miss H herself in the forms of prolific quote and thoughtful email, I have decided to enjoy more.
That’s it really…smile more, laugh more and enjoy more. Fairly simple, really. I want to be able to enjoy the moments around me, the people who pass in and out of my life and the little stuff that we take for granted. For example, the quiet snowfall last night…I went out in my pj’s and took a few snaps, stood in the falling snow with my face to the sky and stuck out my tongue. I caught a few snowflakes and admittedly, a few questioning glances from neighbours, but I enjoyed the shit out of it. I got to linger in the peacefulness of a quiet night, the black sky darted with fat snowflakes falling gently onto my face and I thought “this is a wonderful night”.

Our snowy night...

Our snowy night…

That, my friends, is an awesome start to a new year in my books….how was yours?

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….

 

What I Did For My Summer Vacation and Pictures To Prove It

I always find traveling stressful, but my levels of anxiety hit the proverbial roof when D1 decided to join Hubby and son and I on the New York leg of our vacation.  Originally, we were headed to the Canada Games to watch D2 and her rowing teams in Sherbrooke, Quebec, then going on from there to the Big Apple, sans the daughters, for some big city adventure.  D2 was heading back home after her Games competition with her team and D1 was staying put.  (We, Hubby and I, had advised D1 that if she wished to accompany us on any of our travels, we expected her to contribute, ie. pay her flights.  She said ‘no way’ we said, ‘ok’.  The night before we leave, she cries, laments then finally plops down and arranges her flights to and from New York.)  The worry ensues after Canada Games as she was only going to New York with us and she was left to manage Toronto Airport independently. Her connecting flight to La Guardia was three hours after landing in T.O. but she had to make it through customs, retrieve her bag and put it back in the correct baggage conveyor, then get to her gate…We had separate flights from Montreal straight to La Guardia.  Texting packages are a MUST HAVE.  She did fine…after only one mental breakdown and some ‘interesting’ texts….

THAT is what mothers are for.  We get the breakdowns, the laments, the cries of ” I DON’T KNOW WHERE I AM AND NOBODY WILL HELP ME!  WHAT DO I DO? WHY ARE YOU NOT ANSWERING ME??!!”  I calmly explained it was because, I WAS ON A FUCKING PLANE and therefore, was unable to answer your BATSHIT-LIKE CRAZY TEXTS. OR, “I’m so sorry you are having a bad experience.  Find a nice person to ask and bug them until they give you an answer you understand”.  Yeah.  I’m nice sometimes…

Just to let you all know, Sherbrooke was wonderful and very hospitable.  Despite my lack of Francais, I managed with a bi-lingual son (who incessantly reminded me that my annunciation of any and all French words was atrocious and should not be heard anywhere on the planet.  Nice. )  and some very interesting hand gestures.  There were some young people who were unable to speak ANY English and quickly found someone who understood my dying need for a tea (for Hubby) and a coffee at Tim’s.  I have some pics of Lake Magog where D2 had her rowing competitions.  It was all very exciting and she coxed the women’s 8 and the mens’ 8 to the finals, coming in 6th overall on both counts.  A lot of fun and she was very happy with her teams performances, considering the other provinces had athletes on their way to national teams and were given more access to expert training experiences.  Some even training in Florida during the winter months.  I think all things considered, Team NL had a good showing.

D2 and her men's team

D2 and her men’s team

New York city was a whole other animal.  We flew into La Guardia and expected a hopping bustling metropolis airport, but instead found a small easy-to-follow-that-even-I-couldn’t-get-lost-in building that sent me into drivels of excitement and awe.  THANK God, D1 had only to walk down a flight of stairs to meet us where we waited for three hours after our flight landed and heard great questions from the Airport folk, like “You are all from Newfoundland? Wow, it must take you guys like an hour to get to Greenland!  You must go there A LOT”  Ummmm….Who the fuck goes to Greenland on purpose??!!

Yeah, he looked so disappointed at our answers of “No, we don’t go to Greenland, like EVER.”  Sorry, dude.

I would so like to go into a minute-by-minute play-by-play of how our escapade into the City that Never Sleeps went, but I wouldn’t want to bore you all into a City That Always Sleeps, so here are some tips and highlights that we found useful while visiting the home of El Gupowitz. Whom I didn’t see. Unfortunately.

1. Take every possible bus tour available.  It helped us get a ‘lay of the land’ so to speak and SOME of the tour guide peeps were awesome…some were inaudible and seemed rather bored with us.  I got a lot from the guy who knew every possible detail about the architecture of every possible building in New York and Brooklyn.  I found him interesting…Hubby found him annoying.  Whatevs…,.

She obviously found the bus ride as enthralling as Hubby...you two should have sat together...

She obviously found the bus ride as enthralling as Hubby…you two should have sat together…

2.   We stayed right smack dab in the middle of Times Square.  The hotel was quiet since we were facing towards the river…kinda.  It was there somewhere behind the apartment buildings, I’m sure it was.  Either way, we were able to walk out of the hotel and be right in the middle of stuff that no one in a lifetime should witness. EVER. 

Times Square

Times Square

3. A map is my bestest friend.  New York is on a grid so the streets were easy to get lost on, I mean, reassess my original position and get to the destination without too much ‘recalculating’ going on.  The only real time I got confused is coming back from Central Park, we were walking, Hubby and son left daughter and I in Century 21 (mistake 1) and ASSUMED I could find Broadway.( mistake 2)  Oh, I found Broadway, until Columbus reared its head and I crossed three streets unnecessarily to find myself back on Broadway.  It was all confusing…and raining…and we were tired.  What?  We made it back to the hotel before Hubby and son…cause they stopped at McDonald’s (eww) for shakes.  Ugh…a big city and they go to McDonald’s….apparently, American McDonald’s make milkshakes better/different than the Canadian McDonald’s…apparently.  I have no scientific proof of this.  Only son’s word. Which is about as scientific as it gets, around here.  

D1 in Central Park..."Ummm...weren't we supposed to go that way?" Ugh.

D1 in Central Park…”Ummm…weren’t we supposed to go that way?” Ugh.

4. Asking for a ‘pop’ will get you a weird look.  We had lunch at a diner in Times Square and I made the mistake of asking for a pop…soda in the USA.  My bad.  I didn’t think it was that much of a difference, but I was wrong.  She gave me the ‘what the hell are you talking about?’ look, to which I quickly realized my mistake.  After that, it was back to asking for a Diet Coke.

The guys in the kitchen at Lombardi's Pizza.  They made our pizza and gave me wine....I like those guys.

The guys in the kitchen at Lombardi’s Pizza. They made our pizza and gave me wine….I like those guys.

5.  How do you pay for the Subway?  The tokens look exactly like our loonies and it was downright confusing for us to differentiate between the two.  We finally figured out the subway machine and once we pissed off the subway token-lady with all of our questions and had a hell of a time manoeuvring the turnstile so we could all get through without broken pelvic bones, we were on our way.  It cut down our travel time in huge amounts.

Holiday 2013 506

6. It’s not the New Yorkers who are rude, it’s the other tourists.  Yes, we were pushed aside, snubbed, and cut in front of, not by the locals but by other tourist-peeps.  Take it easy, will ‘ya?  Geesh.  We found the local New York crowd pleasant, happy to help and downright congenial.  Thanks, eh.

7. There’s lots of walking so wear comfortable shoes.  Hubby was disappointed that I wasn’t wearing heels the whole time…huh?  Walk in those puppies, will ‘ya?!  I wore my unfashionable Skechers most of the time and my feet were thankful.  We walked EVERYWHERE.  Much better way to see the city…and great exercise. 

8. We saw a celebrity and didn’t know who she was.  Oops…Lady GaGa was premiering her new music video unbeknownst to us regular Un-GaGa-like fans.  Did you know that much to a Canadian’s delight, there are TWO Tim Horton’s in Times Square??!!  SQUEEEEE!  Son and I were on our way to one of these little Canadian Havens, when lo and behold a big black car makes its way down Times Square and loads of peeps were milling around and son and I were like “WTF?” (only I said that, son just nodded in agreement) and then we were like “Who Dat?” and then I snapped this:

GaGa in a car with some scary dudes.  I know.  I can feel your excitement.  Calm the fuck down.  Geesh.

GaGa in a car with some scary dudes. I know. I can feel your excitement. Calm the fuck down. Geesh.

AND THEN, somebody said “Lady GaGa” and we were like “Ohhhhh…k” . 

THE END

9. Always have Advil, bandaids and extra umbrellas on hand when it decides to rain, or D1 decides a random brain tumor has returned and she needs to take an Advil or 5 and then it rains and we need chocolate from the M&M store to make us feel better and of course the Ferris wheel at Toys R Us because we are “still kids you know” and need to have fun.  Yeah.

The Ferris wheel at Toys R Us...awww....

The Ferris wheel at Toys R Us…awww….

So, I wish I could come up with one more point, but I fear this is way too long already and I’ve noticed that Hubby has poured himself a glass of wine without me, so lest I be left out completely, I should saunter over to the comfy couch and get some wine before he drinks it all. 

Thanks for reading and for all your good behaviour, I give you the naked cowboy.  Only he wasn’t really naked like the pink lady, he had on underwear…she was just wearing body paint.  Totally normal for Times Square I hear. 

The Nekked Cowboy serenading, the...police?  hahaha

The Nekked Cowboy serenading, the…police? hahaha

The Pink Lady...yeah.

The Pink Lady…yeah.

A view from Top of the Rock

A view from Top of the Rock

Holiday 2013 513