It’s legendary in our household–the tale of the tole-painted plate.
Years ago, when Dave and I were first dating, I had taken a folk art painting course. I was terrible at it, but my instructor was very talented and at the end of the course I bought a beautiful tole-painted plate of a wintry scene.
It was December and because I felt so guilty spending money on myself before Christmas, I wrapped up the plate, wrote “To Dave” on the tag and tucked it under the tree.
To this day, I still hear about it, but somehow all three of us–Dave, me and the plate have survived 27 years of marriage.
I think he secretly cherishes the tole-painted plate. He says every time he looks at it he thinks what a lame gift it was and that I’m psychologically scarred because I can’t just buy something for myself and feel good about it.
My response is at least I don’t buy ice fishing huts and gear and hide them in the barn from my wife.
This week’s #HappyAct is when you’re out frantically finding that perfect last minute gift for the someone special on your list, buy a little something for yourself. I do have one little problem this year though. The thing I bought for myself I can’t exactly write “To Dave” on the tag. Guess I’ll have to give it to myself from Bella. Dogs are very good shoppers after all.
One of the many things I’m thankful for is living in the country. While I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, I’m forever grateful we made the decision more than 20 years ago to get out of the city and move to rural roads where the air is fresh, the mosaic fields of fall spread before you like a harvest feast, and you can walk or drive for a country mile without seeing another car or person.
What I didn’t count on was how much the simplistic charm of the little hamlets and crossroads, and the people who inhabit them would grow on me.
For instance, I was driving to Tamworth the other night for a 4H meeting. The sign at the church in Croyden said, “Rhonda. Sunday. 6:30.”
It made me wonder who was Rhonda and what was she doing at the Croyden church on Sunday at 6:30? Was she getting married? Or was it an unhappy occasion—a memorial service for Rhonda? Was she young or old?
I did wonder if perhaps my friend Rhonda Nontell who has a cottage nearby was giving a gospel performance at 6:30 in Croyden, but then the sign would say “Rhonda. Sunday. 6:30. $5.” I mean most of us would pay at least $5 to see that performance.
These are the things that keep me up at night.
And then there is the country wave. When I first moved to this area 20 years ago, my best friend’s Mom Audrey educated me on the country wave. The country wave is different if you’re walking or driving.
When walking, the proper way to wave to people is a slight nod of the head or raise of the hand for a half-wave. No full-out wave, or Queen wave, just an acknowledgement you saw them driving by.
If driving, there are two approved country waves. There’s the two finger wave, where you just raise two fingers off the steering wheel or the four finger wave with your four index fingers extended. A slight nod of the head is acceptable.
Over the years, I’ve experienced everything from discovering a newborn fawn at the end of my driveway, to eating my breakfast cereal with an escaped cow staring at me through the kitchen window, to chickens on our hot tub. Yes, country living is definitely better by a country mile.
This week’s #HappyAct is to give thanks for where you live. Here are some pictures I took on my drive and walk on the country roads near Tamworth the other night.
My 11-year old is one of the funniest, coolest people I know. She’s more comfortable in her own skin than most 40-year olds.
Here’s a compilation of conversations with Clare over the past week.
This kid Austin in her class tells her he’s planning a big summer blowout. It’s in 2019. Austin brought in a list for all his classmates to bring to the party. The list went something like this: bow and arrow, swan and pink flamingo floaties, Sunny D, chicken nuggets, and beer. Did I mention they are 11? Now that’s a party.
We’re driving in the car one morning, and there’s a news story about a NHL player who’s back playing after being injured. Now when injured players return, the NHL allows them to wear “red shirts” which means no contact.
I say to Clare, “Wow, isn’t that fantastic—I think that’s new, I don’t remember the NHL doing that before.”
Clare says, “What’s new for you Mom is 10 years old. What’s new for me is a few months old.”
Then a jingle comes on the radio for an adult fun store in Kingston. She starts singing along, then stops and says, “It’s really sad I’m singing to this right now.”
I ask her what time we need to be at her volleyball tournament. I say, “Okay, let’s leave at 7:45.”
She says, “No, let’s make it a quarter to eight.”
Clare asks if we can watch a movie. I say, “Can I choose the movie for a change?” Clare says, “As long as it’s not a chick flick or some old person’s movie.” Her favourite movie right now is Deadpool.
Her favourite line is “That’s why Regina rhymes with fun.”
She recites the full lyrics to Salt n Pepa’s Shoop at least three times a day.
“Bright as the sun, I wanna have some fun Come and give me some of that yum-yum Chocolate chip, honey dip, can I get a scoop? Baby, take a ride in my coupe, you make me wanna Shoop shoop ba-doop (Baby, hey)”
Then she lays a Yo Mamma’s joke on me.
“Yo Mama’s sooooo fat, I took a picture of her last Christmas and it’s still printing.”
I’m trying to convince her we should visit the Diefenbunker museum when we’re in Ottawa.
She says, “Mom, I don’t learn about history. I make history.”
It’s 9 o’clock and we’re playing HQ Trivia. Clare is sitting beside me. I bug everyone in the house to join in so we have a shot at winning. Third question, and I know the answer, but Clare is yelling in my ear the wrong answer and I tell her to be quiet.
She leaves in a huff and says, “You know Mom, sometimes with you, it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
She knows me so well.
At least it’s nice having a kid in the house that will actually talk to me.
This week’s #HappyAct is to have a conversation with a cool 11-year old. Mine’s free if you want a kid for a week.
The other day I read about a new invention: a tiny implant for your brain that injects medicine. Modern technology has led to advances in communications, medicine, and business. And yet, there are still so many basic necessities of life we still struggle with.
Here are ten yet-to-be inventions I’d like to see in 2018:
A dryer that automatically sorts your socks
A zip-up bathing suit top so you don’t have to wriggle out of your wet clingly suit like Houdini trying to escape from a straightjacket
A teapot that doesn’t spill when you pour it
A massage jacket that gives you a soothing massage when you wear it
A device that could magically remove moles so no one would ever have to worry about skin cancer again…while you’re at it, a cure for cancer, Alzheimers and diabetes please
A jet pack like the Jetsons so you never have to be stuck in traffic or drive your kids anywhere ever again
A blender that doesn’t spout hot liquid like lava from a volcano
A toilet paper roll that automatically refills itself
A duvet cover that has zippers or buttons at both ends so when your husband tosses and turns and all the duvet winds up on your side of the bed and he blames you, it’s easy to fix
A robot that will go around the house and pick up all the mitts, scarves, hats, markers, dishes and clothes that your kids have just left even though you tidied the house twenty minutes ago
Maybe for Mother’s Day, I’ll get my robot. In the meantime, if some smart inventor out there can work on numbers one to nine, that would make me happy.
Calling all ghosts and goblins. If you want to get into the Halloween spirit early, and put a ghoulish grin on your face, visit PetSmart this week.
Every year, PetSmart offers Halloween photos of your pet in costume. Last year when we visited the store before Halloween, the store was filled with primped pets prowling the aisles. There was a ghoulish greyhound, a devilish Dalmatian and a schnauzer dressed as Superman.
At PetSmart, trick or treating takes on a whole new meaning. Raise your paw, get a treat. Roll over and speak. Woof down another treat.
We popped into PetSmart on Saturday—there weren’t many dogs dressed up since Halloween was still 10 days away, but there was a big lab growling at the Pet Smart mascot, and a little Jack Russell trying to catch the rats in the photo display.
This week’s #HappyAct is to visit PetSmart before Halloween. Just don’t shell out near the fish tanks and steer clear if a black cat crosses your path.
Ed. note: I didn’t get many good photos at PetSmart this week, so I’m sharing a couple of costume pictures of our loveable mutts.