Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Let Them Eat...Cake?

There's to be a real estate agents' tour of my house today - they should be here within the hour.

Last week,  I received the email from our awesome real estate agent (and my Back-Up Husband), Steve about the tour.

Steve, our real estate agent.

  I immediately volunteered to make banana bread. You know, something warm and delicious to entice the other agents to bring their clients here and convince them that it's home.

Welcome Home!

I make a mean banana bread, if I do say so myself. I've made it so many times, I no longer need a recipe, I just pour and mix and mash and bake.

Easy-peasy, right?


As soon as I turned the oven to pre-heat, I could smell something burning.  Warily, I peeked into the oven, expecting to see a plastic spoon or cup or plates or something, because I sometimes jam dirty dishes in there when people pop by and I haven't done the dishes.

Don't judge me, people - just admit you do it, too.

Nothing. No dishes, no spoons just a sickly-sweet smell of....burning plastic.

Determined to ignore the smell, I turned up the radio and began throwing ingredients in a bowl. Then the phone rang and while I was chatting, I swept a bit in the living room and mentally replaced all the windows on the first floor...

 Time passed and then I suddenly remembered the banana mixture on the counter and rushed back into the kitchen. Dumped the mushed-up goodness into a baking pan, set the timer and waited for the glorious smell to fill my home.


Not 10 minutes ago, I pulled a slightly overdone but delicious-smelling banana bread from my no-longer-burning-plastic oven and left it on the stove to cool. In the meantime, I set the coffee-maker to brew and began gathering up plates and mugs.

Cut the banana bread into delectable slices of yummy, snuck a piece...



Apparently, I, the goddess of banana bread, the one who makes it blindfolded and upside down?

Forgot to add sugar.

I dumped the whole stinking mess into the garbage....

...and thanked my lucky stars that we have cake left over from Matthew's First Communion this past Sunday.

And now they've come and gone, just like that, leaving me here with half a cake and some freshly-brewed coffee. I think I'll sit here awhile and bask in the glory of  a clean, great-smelling house and wait for the offers to just pour in.

Nom, nom, nom....

P.S. If you know anyone in the Belleville area - or anyone looking to move here, who wants to buy a lovely little house in East Hill, my your door is always open!

P.P.S. I am SUPER good at buying cookies and warming them up in the oven...

The door is always open...

And you?
Any angst-y "selling a home" stories you'd like to share?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Today would have been my brother's 35th birthday. To honour him, the Reds and I headed to Lakefield this morning to help my parents plant fresh flowers in Andrew's Garden. We also brought balloons, so we could tie message of remembrance and love to them and send them up to Heaven.

Some of the messages came from Andrew's friends, who shared their memories with me via Facebook, some came from the Reds and me, and one very special one was written by my mum.

From Shara:

 My parents lived on the farm in Lindsay and I came down from the city for their annual pig roast. The backyard had been designated for the younger crowd (made up mostly of BHU, whom I was meeting for the first time) so naturally that is where I migrated to. Most of the crowd was packed into the backyard, but not Andrew. He was inside the garage apparently planning his entrance.....then out he pops with the biggest porky pig paper mache head on his shoulders, prancing around like a fool...but everyone laughed hysterically...his mission accomplished!

Andrew was never that great at sharing his heart-felt emotions...but making people laugh, that was where he  truly shined!

Some memories, printed out and ready for rolling into scrolls.

From Shauna:

When I got my g1, I called him up to tell him he was stoked...didn't know why ...he met me after work and showed me why...he wanted to teach me how to drive lol he figured 11pm was safer for other ppl because Bowmanville was a dead town after 9 , it was going fine until we got to the stop sign before the 401 turn ramp on liberty. He was goin' over some safety thing and I was nervous and attempting to listen intently after 5 mins there he asks laughing "what are u waiting for" I didn't know what he meant ...he was losin' it as i was trying to figure it out...i was now petrified I screwed up lol finally I answered the light isn't green...he couldn't take it...we got out and switched spots...he then pulled over into the gas station and tells me we were at a stop sign...stop signs stay one colour

From Shay:

1: when I was 11 years old and him and my mom first started dating, we were at the farm and I had seen him walking up to the trailer, I ran to him yelling KANGAROO!!
2: when learning how to drive, dad took me out in the truck and let me drive, we got to the house and he told me that he would pull into the driveway for me as it was pretty narrow, I didn't listen and pulled into our drive way on my own (at full speed) slammed on the breaks and dad told me I must never drive again lol
3: I could always count on dad to make my sorrows go away, we took my little rescue cat to the vet to be put down and it was a sad moment for me, dad Cranked the good ol' rap music (50 cent) and allowed to stick my feet out the truck and didn't give me trouble once lol

From my mum:

"Happy Birthday, son.
It would be your 35th today.
Hope you are
sharing your
birthday celebration
with all of us.
Love, Mum"

We planted pretty flowers, to make his space a bright and happy one:



My dad barbecued steak. And my mum make dessert:

Did you know that balloons with tiny memories attached to them don't go airborne easily? We suspected as much, but gamely threw our memories skyward, hoping Andrew was watching:
Up, up and...


In the end, we tucked all the balloons that didn't pop into the tree pictured above - it was given to my parents after Andrew died: a memorial tree. Seemed fitting to plant our love there.

And because it was a celebration, there was dancing:

There were some tears, because Andrew is missed and loved, every. single. day. It doesn't get easier, this missing him. Not for any of us. But, today I think we did the right thing, as a family: today, we celebrated him in the place where his ashes rest, where his mother's gaze can fall upon him, where his father can sit and chat quietly, in the middle of the day.

In the end, it felt right and good to remember him with light and pretty flowers and good food and dancing. I hope he saw us down here, missing him. I hope he smiled and knows how very much we love him.

Happy Birthday, Bamboo.
I loved you before I even knew you. I love you still, every day.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dear Proctor and Gamble...

Dear Proctor and Gamble,

I am writing to congratulate and thank you for creating a well-designed and easily-used product: the  Always "Ultra Thin" maxi pad (with wings).

Earlier this evening, I was happily cruising home from running errands with my youngest son, Luke, strapped into his car seat behind me. We were singing.

Mid-warble, a quiet voice came from the back seat: "Uh, Mummy?"


"I'm bleeding."

I grabbed the rear view mirror and yanked it down - sure enough, blood was gushing from Luke's nose with alarming speed. While I cast frantic eyes around the car for a tissue, newspaper, ANYTHING, Luke sat quite calmly, watching blood pool into his cupped hands.

"Did you pick your nose, Luke?"


"Oh, dear."

Luke began practicing the art of nose-picking early on...

"Luke, I'm sorry. I don't have a tissue. Let me see if I've got some scrap paper in my purse..."

Digging down (while driving) I felt my hand close around a familiar product: a tampon. Grimaced at the thought of being stopped at a light and having other drivers see me toting a kid with a tampon sticking out his nose and then rummaged for the next best thing: an Always "Ultra Thin" maxi pad (with wings).

Expertly, I tore it from its pretty green wrapping and handed it back to Luke, who snort-laughed out his nose, spraying blood everywhere. Then he shrugged and jammed the pad on his nose, twisting the sticky side around so that the whole thing stuck to his face.

"OK, Luke?"

"OK, Mummy. There's a lot of blood in my nose."

"Sure seems like it. Keep that pad on your nose, OK?"

"OK. Is this for girls to use on their 'ginas?"


"It's sort of gross that it's on my nose, isn't it?"

"Not necessarily. It's stopping the blood from going all over your clothes, right?"

"I guess. LOOK! The blood's getting sucked inside the pad. That's  so cool!"

Indeed, it was.

So there you have it, Proctor and Gamble:

"Maxi pads (with wings) - not just for girls, not just for periods!"

With sincere thanks,
Luke's Mum

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Moe is 40!

She was the "new girl" at my high school. Pretty, blond, quiet. I think we might have chatted a time or two during Family Studies class, but I didn't know her, as a friend, when we were paired up for a project.

Our task - at the age of 16, in 1991 - was to visit a group in Toronto (the "BIG city" then, to my small-town, teenaged mind) that supported women seeking an abortion. Tentatively, as we made our plans and got permission from our parents to drive to Toronto, we became closer; chatting on the phone, spending time during the lunch hour hanging out by my locker.

Her name was Tracy, but I called her Moe. Still do. In fact, for years and years, my parents had no idea of her real name, assuming it was Maureen.

Me, Jen, Moe and Mel: Prom. Happy. Young.
Holy crap, look how YOUNG we were!

Anyway, in Toronto one Spring morning, we found the building, the floor, the people we needed to speak with. Armed with spiral notebooks, questions and nerves, we sat down with the staff, prepared to learn how to best support a woman who had made a difficult decision.

Suddenly, Moe shot up out of her seat and fled the room. I blinked in surprise and turned wide eyes to the women gathered near. "Uh....I don't know what she's doing. Sorry. I'll just ask her questions, OK?"

Even as I stammered through and tried to focus on the answers, I wondered where she'd gone, worried that she had. Began to feel sweat trickling down my back and then suddenly, I couldn't see. The room narrowed and then pitched and I knew that I HAD to leave. I tossed a quick "Thanks so much for your time!" at the bewildered staff and staggered from the office, blindly.

Felt along the cool wall of the hallway, knowing that an elevator waited nearby. All I could think was, "If I can just get outside, I'll be OK."

"Moe?" I croaked, pressing my face to the wall, sinking to the blessedly hard floor, terrified that I was having some kind of seizure, maybe a stroke.

"Here," she whispered, mere feet from me, huddled on the floor, too.

"What's happening?"

"I don't know. I just had to get out. I can't see!"

"Me neither!"

And we burst out laughing, groped for each other and held on tight. Eventually, my sight returned and hers did, too. Weak-kneed and trembling we made our way to the elevator, for all the world looking like two drunken tarts leaving a bar at last call.

Back on the street, we gulped in as much fresh air as we could, still clinging to one another and giggling.

19, at the airport, waiting to board my plane west...

Today, my Moe turns 40. Almost 25 years later, we still cling to each other and laugh like crazy - at stuff that's funny, at stuff that really isn't, except to us:

Between us, we've loved the same boy (that was awkward, but it's funny now) had four children, a few broken hearts, some husbands, some weddings, lost our minds, ourselves, each other. Her son was born on my wedding anniversary, my son was born on hers.

Me and Moe, October 4th, 2003

We've driven miles to hang out for a few hours, spent countless more on the phone, laughing inappropriately. We have cried, we have fought, sobbed with and for, hugged, fed, snuggled and propped each other up. She is my touchstone, in almost every memory I have and the keeper of my deepest, most delicious secrets.


All these years, you've had my back, even when - perhaps especially when - I didn't have yours. You are loyal and kind and funny as hell. How I love that you have known me for all the person(s) I've been and that I have known you for the same. This friendship took root when we were mere children and I am so lucky to say that it has grown - as we have - into a wondrous, rich and layered one. 

That our children will know and discover the world together - as we did - makes my heart happy. Thank you, for all of it: the past, the present, the future.

Mostly, thank you for and long drives to nowhere and the journey to here. For calling me, for taking my call even when you're mad, for making me laugh so hard I stop breathing. For snuggling with me, pouring me baths, sending me your book drafts, trusting me with your heart, your fears, your dreams.

You are my Moe-Moe. You are 40. You are fabulous.

And I love you.