Friday, September 17, 2010

My Heart has a History

Labour Day weekend is one of those yearly milestones that arrive with mixed feelings for a lot of us. A signal to the looming end of summer, and a herald of the Fall Fair season. I always look forward to both as I am not a big fan of summer heat and I just love a Fall Fair. Well, to be honest it is not the Fair so much as the food, corn dogs and cheesy fries being my treats of choice. Corn dogs and cheesy fries become Pogos and Poutine in Quebec, but delicious no matter how you say it! This year my daughter and I decided to go to the Shawville Fair because Paul Brandt was headlining and we both just love the bones off this guy. Road trip Yippee!! Let the excitement begin. As we arrive in Shawville we are greeted by the Main street locals all enthusiastically waving a welcome at us and inviting us to park on their lawns for the small sum of $5.00. Walking up to the entrance gates the smell of a country fair assails us, cigarette smoke (both the legal and illegal kind) wafts through the air, mixed with the aroma of fresh horse dung and Johnny on the spots. The first order of business was to get our food and head to the main stage area to scope out the best spot to spread our blankets. We wandered for a bit, checked out the vendors stalls and the over priced, hand made (mostly in China) souvenirs, bought a pink Cowgirl hat in honour of the Country Music Star we were about to watch perform. Pogos and Pountine obtained, check, find spot for blanket, check. Hey, wait a minute, what are all of these chairs doing here? It seems the modern Fair attendees now bring soccer chairs NOT blankets. They set them up and then abandon them, trusting that the chairs will still be there in the exact same spots at show time, while they go off to spend time at the midway. Well never mind that, our blankets will do just fine thank you very much, we can stretch our necks to see and will make a mental note for next time. We were so excited and had spent the whole week before checking the weather reports hoping for a dry day. I guess in hind sight we should have put a little more emphasis on warm and dry because it was cold. Not cool, not breezy but darn right teeth chattering, bone chilling cold. The kind of weather that just begs for a nice big mug of hot coffee or tea, the only problem being that neither of us wanted to drink anything because we just couldn't face another trip to the Big Blue Box! And so we sat on our blankets, in the middle of a field, surrounded by soccer chairs and giggled and reminisced about fairs gone by while we waited patiently for our Country Idol to get up on stage. Paul was great, the man can sing! We will remember this day forever and talk of it often. Worth every minute of the cold, the blankets in lieu of soccer chairs and the weird smells because my beautiful daughter and I had spent the day together creating new memories to call up when we hit pause and rewind. Oh, and for those of you who haven't yet connected the title of this blog with the story "My Heart has a History" is the title of one of our favourite Paul tunes. Thank you Paul Brandt for helping to create these lovely memories. Love and stuff Pam:}

Friday, June 25, 2010

The All and Mighty Job Jar

I am back with another short story about yet another memory triggered by an ordinary activity. Yesterday, I got up and decided it was time to tackle the fridge, you know one of those jobs we all hate but have to get to from time to time. So, out comes the cooler to put all the food in while I am doing the necessary cleaning, the bucket of hot soapy water and sponges to wash, the bucket of hot vinegar water to rinse, the little stool to sit on because my back is not what it used to be and my knees are too wonky to crouch for too long. By the time I was set up I was already tired and daunted by the job ahead. I sat on the little stool for a minute and had another "Hit Pause and Rewind" moment.
This one took me back about fifteen years to the job jar. As a working Mum with too much to do and too little time I was often guilty of barking out orders to my daughter on my way out the door heading to the office. " Empty the dishwasher, Don't forget to make your bed, Set the table, I'll be home by five." You know the drill, I think all mothers are guilty of this from time to time. Then we arrive at the office, haven't even put our coffee cup down on our desk,and the BOSS barks, "Get me that report, Don't forget staff reviews are due yesterday, Where are the quarterly numbers" yada, yada, yada. Boy do I feel like a lump of poo by now and it isn't even 10AM. After one particularly difficult day I decided that I was going to be a kinder Mum and find a better way to get the stuff done around the house without coming off as an ogre.
Tada!!! The birth of the job jar. A simple concept really, instead of allowance we had a pay as you go chore list. Little bits of paper in a jar (colour coded of course) that said things like sweep the kitchen floor $1, dust the Livingroom (only I called it the Salon)$1, hoover the stairs $2, Clean out the hall cupboards $5, Clean the fridge $7 wow that was a big one. I would pay triple that now to have someone clean my fridge ha! ha! The simple little jar got a lot of attention the summer of '95 and I got a few things done each week without having to bark out the orders. I still did nag of course because I am a Mum and that is what Mums do. Everything went pretty smoothly for a while. I would tally the jobs done at the end of every week and pay up feeling pretty full of myself for having so easily pulled the wool over my impressionable teenage daughters eyes. Five dollars here, seven dollars there, until one day when I arrived home to a very tired girl, an empty job jar and a note leaning against it that said "Surprise Mum, You owe me $40" Just another ordinary day. Love and stuff Pam:} xxooxx

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Strawberry Warm and Fuzzies

Hi Everyone, this is the first post to my new Blog. I have decided that there are so many simple pleasures in life that it is time to start documenting the ones that have shaped me and make me who I really am. Yesterday was one of those very special ordinary days. I spent the morning with my daughter, having tea at her home in her garden, and then, taking a road trip together to the local Farmer's Market. We of course bought between us, more food than we could eat in a week. But just the mere sight of all those carrots and lettuce and onions and string beans fresh from some local farm is enough to send both of us into a buying frenzie. It is almost like we are feeling these might be the very last "real" veggies we will ever get our hands on. So home we come, with bags and bags of the best and freshest food we have had in a long time. On goes the kettle for tea and we both stand side by side at the double kitchen sink washing and rinsing and spinning them dry in the spinner. All the time we are doing this I am thinking this is one of those ordinary things that people do every day, but for me these Mother /Daughter times are the very happiest of times. My daughter Tammy and I have been doing this thing together for more than twenty five years, ever since she could stand on a little stool built by her grandfather for just such a purpose. I learned a lot of things about my girl over the years just from standing at the sink and performing this ritual together. Finally, we had saved the best for last, it was time for the strawberries!! Ah those lovely sweet smelling, sweet tasting little signs of summer. Watching them float in the sink brought back a flood of memories of Tammy and her cousin crouching in the strawberry fields at the pick your own when they were toddlers, one for the bucket and one for the mouth and then taking the fresh picked strawberries home and floating them in the bathtub to wash them. And I thought to myself the more that things change the more they stay the same. I hope I will have at least another twenty five years of standing at the kitchen sink with my beautiful daughter washing the veggies, hitting pause and rewinding all of my ordinary days. Pom:}