Thursday, February 24, 2011


I'm feeling restless...I get this way once in a while. I attribute it to my "wandering" gene. The desire - that has been passed down to me from my grandmother, then my father - to pick up, pack up and head out on the road.

I love to travel; in my early 20s I thought that I would spend my days as a world traveller, perhaps working towards a career where frequent trips would be a necessity. I pictured myself as a single woman, childless, a nomad. Fast forward 6 or 7 years, and I couldn't be in a more different place!

I'm not complaining at all - I love my life, and wouldn't change a thing. But that doesn't stop the restless feelings, and the hour I spent yesterday surfing travel websites (JourneyWoman is a great example). I furtively began budgeting to see if there would be enough for me to take off on an adventure next year (there probably isn't).

I don't really agree with couples taking separate vacations all the time; after all, family vacations are wonderful ways to learn more about each other and create lasting memories for children. BUT, I think the occasional journey on one's own helps build confidence, renew energy and give some perspective.

Huffing and puffing my way through a hike in late pregnancy

And I've married a man who is quite comfortable using his vacation time to head out into the Ontario wilderness on canoe or hiking trips. He even enjoys tenting in the dead of winter! Isn't that what cabins and yurts were built for? So you didn't have to freeze your ass off in a tiny slip of a tent?

Now, I like my share of adventure, and have no problem travelling to places where the comforts of home are hard to find. But I could do without long camping trips in the wild, when I don't see a single other living soul for days at a time. I spend the nights shaking with terror in my tent, picturing a wandering black bear using me as his next meal.

If I'm not worrying about bears, I'm worrying about serial killers dumping the dead bodies of their victims in nearby woods. On one memorable portage trip with my hubby, I was woken in the night by the sound of a motorboat. I got out of the tent, and saw lights flashing across the lake, near a camping site we had checked out the day before. I crawled back into the tent, and shook Tom as hard as I could. He grunted and moaned (this was probably the third time I had woken him; once because I had heard a racoon which I was positive was a bear, and another time to ask him to accompany me while I peed).

"Someone's dumping a dead body," I whispered in quiet desperation.

"What??" he said, rubbing his eyes.

"A motorboat just pulled up to the shore, and I'm positive that they're doing something illegal! Drug running! Dead bodies!" I began sweating and shaking.

"Go back to sleep, he said. You're being ridiculous."

Well, needless to say, I didn't go back to sleep, and spent the rest of the night plotting how I would save our lives if the thugs came across the lake to dispose of the witnesses. So you can see why camping just isn't my thing.

My thing is people and places. I want to know how people live, where they eat, what they eat, and where they go for fun. I want to chat with people, visit their museums, and walk their streets. I want to use their toilets, even when they're missing the toilet bowl and I'm expected to squat over a hole. I want to get a sense of the country as a whole, and find out what makes a culture "tick." This usually involves visiting larger cities, although I also enjoy the quiet of the rural areas. So these are the types of trips I will need to do on my own, as Tom is more interested in sawing logs (literally) than navigating the crowds of a foreign city.

For now I will have to satisfy myself by browsing travel sites and living vicariously through friends who are on their own adventures.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Men have nipples too!

Parents love to tell stories about the funny things their children say. And so I have to do the same to you today. It's just too good to pass up.

Tom (hubby) got home from work, and as per usual, went into our bedroom to get changed out of his work clothes. A and I followed him in there, as I'm somewhat desperate for adult contact after a day of toddlerhood. A was sitting on the bed next to Tom, and as he took his shirt off, she got a glimpse of his nipples, pointed and said "boobies!"

I was rolling on the floor with laughter, although I don't think Tom was quite so amused. Men seem to get touchy when we talk too much about their nipples or "breast" area. It's a good thing we women are laid back enough to take the constant objectification of our breasts (and let me just reiterate that Tom DOESN'T have man boobs - in fact, he looks EXACTLY like the guy pictured above...I swear!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Writer's Block

I'm having writer's block this week. I keep starting posts and then abandoning them halfway through. They sound boring and my writing is choppy. So I've decided I'm not going to write anything, and will instead share a song with you. These lyrics illustrate things much better than I could!

This is Lynn Miles' Fearless Heart. Listen to it here

I wish I had a quiet mind
Cool water and sweet old time
and the answer to everything
some good luck and a pair of wings

I wish I knew which way to turn
and I could remember every lesson I learned
I wish the world was a kinder place
and I could put a smile on your
beautiful face

I wish I had a fearless heart
I wish I wouldn't fall apart
I wish I knew how to make a start
I wish I had a fearless heart

I wish that I could leave the past behind
I wish I had a straighter line
A better view and a cleaner mess
new shoes and a party dress

I wish there was a golden sun
enough love for everyone
I wish this didn't have to hurt so bad
feel so crazy, be so sad

I wish that I was brave and cool
and I could break my own rules
I wish that I could face the truth
I wish that I was bullet proof

I wish I had a fearless heart
I wish I wouldn't fall apart
I wish I knew how to make a start
I wish I had a fearless heart

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bikini time ALREADY!?

In one month from now, my family will be enjoying the sun and sand down in Casey Key, Florida. We took a week long vacation there last year with my parents and some friends, and we all had such a good time that we've planned to do it again this year. The motel we're staying at backs right onto a long strip of beach, and the area is fairly quiet compared to other parts of Florida. We're quite a ways away from the flashiness of Orlando or the busy retirement communities to the north.

It's the same area where I spent most of my vacation time as a child with my parents and brother, and we have very fond memories of all the local spots. "The Grove" is a short drive away, where you can purchase freshly picked grapefruits and oranges. Venice is a bustling little town with cafes, bookstores and fabulously tacky souvenirs.

Yummies Donuts is a bit of a drive, but worth every minute! The donuts are pulled out of the cookers right before your eyes, and a huge paddle is dipped into a steaming pot of glaze and poured carefully over the fried dough (they taste much different from a Tim Horton's donut, which pales in comparison).

You can be transported back to the 1950s when you visit The Frosted Mug, an old fashioned hot dog stand where dubious-looking bikers sit sipping their beers. A non-alcoholic version (root beer) for the kiddies is served in frosted mugs - with a scoop of ice cream if you're hankering for a float! The fries, chili dogs and hamburgers are deliciously artery-clogging.

I think my favourite part, though, is combing the beach for unusual shells and shark's teeth. I'll toot my own horn by saying that I'm a very good shark's tooth hunter. I have a knack for spotting the dark coloured fossils among the mounds of broken shells and seaweed. I never leave the beach empty handed, and time seems to slip by so quickly while I'm out searching. I look up and realize that I've walked over a mile past the strip motels, and have instead ended up on the beaches facing the multi-million dollar mansions of Casey Key.
People take Sunday drives along Casey Key Road just to gawk at the monstrous villas.

But with the beach comes the bikinis and trunks, and my husband and I have slowly come to the realization that our bodies are most certainly not fit for swimsuits. Although I've been doing well at keeping my New Year's resolutions to take my vitamins, drink lots of water and get more sleep, my resolve to eat better and exercise more has fallen short. I don't need to lose any weight, but I'm certainly not scoring any points in the toned and tanned departments.

So we've resolved for the next 4-5 weeks before we leave to get into (some) shape and eat healthier. My hubby bought a used bike trainer, onto which he can mount our bikes and we can spin for a while in the basement. We've also decided to have a week "TV free" in the evenings, where we will be forced to do things that actually require interaction with one another. We're going to bust out all of our old board games and decks of cards, and maybe spend some time working on a website for my new doula business, Chickadee Birthing Services. This will help us avoid our worst habit, which is collapsing on the couch in the front of the TV with our favourite treats. It will probably also be great for our relationship!

Valentine's Day is a good time to start, and I'm looking forward to reconnecting with my hubby and having some fun evenings together. Given that today is the Day of Love, I would like to dedicate this song to Tom, my Valentine. This is Joel Plaskett's Light of the Moon. Listen to it here

In late September
I drove across the prairie
The mountains behind me
And the ocean beyond
This country's a coalmine
And I'm a canary
Turn out the headlights and the radio on

I remember the words
I forget the tune
The light of the moon
The light of the moon
Under the stars, you stagger and swoon
The light of the moon
The light of the moon

Sunrise oh sunrise
Will you wait for me
Don't come too soon
Through the night's deep abyss
Flirt with the waitress in Sault Ste Marie
Hear music and voices through static and hiss

I remember the words
I forget the tune
The light of the moon
The light of the moon
Under the stars, you stagger and swoon
The light of the moon
The light of the moon

Friday, February 11, 2011

What do you mean, she don't eat no meat!!?

Just close your eyes and imagine Andrea Martin's character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding saying that line....and then, "ahhh, that's ok. I make lamb!" That's one of my favourite movie lines, and I enjoy doing an impression of it on occasion (I stink at impressions - my accent probably sounds more Chinese than Greek).

So last night, on my way home from visiting one of my expectant couples, I had a chance to listen to CBC Radio's show Ideas. I know, I know, it seems like I'm very obsessed with CBC Radio. And I am!! I can't get enough of it. The only shows I don't enjoy are Rex Murphy's Cross-Country Check-up (yawn) and Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein (I don't really understand what that show is supposed to be ABOUT. Can someone explain it to me?)

They were doing a segment on factory farming. I'm very well aware of factory farms, but don't think I've ever heard such a detailed account of a chicken or pigs' daily living environment on one of these massive farms. It was extremely depressing, and I was actually picturing the tiny piglets who are separated immediately from their Mother by a wire cage. I had tears in my eyes at this thought.

I'm a very emotional person, and tend to make sweeping statements or committments when I hear something that affects me. I don't always stick to my vow to make a change, but this felt like a bit of a turning point for me. I really, really don't want to eat any more meat from the grocery store or from restaurants that purchase their meat from these farms.

We are fairly good at buying locally raised meat from sustainble family farms. Unfortunately, on more occasions than I wish to admit, I'll run over to the grocery store to pick up a package of pork tenderloin or chicken breasts when I've run out of dinner ideas. Part of the problem is that it looks so good and pretty, sitting there in the styrofoam package with shiny plastic wrapped tightly around the meat. It's so far removed from the daily horror and digust that the poor animals have to endure, that the thought doesn't even enter my mind as I'm making my purchase.

But this has got to stop. NO MORE MEAT. I am perfectly capable of cooking vegetarian meals, and in fact, I actually enjoy eating these more than a hunk of meat. And we still get our local chickens from a farm outside of Eganville, and our beef from Fitzroy Beef Co-op. This stuff I can have on hand when I'm craving a chicken breast or ground beef.

It's not going to be totally easy, because I don't think my husband will join in this with me (unless I force him to listen to the Ideas show from last night), and I need to decide what to do when I'm visiting friends or family. Do I decline to eat something, warn people in advance, or just be flexible and eat meat on these occasions? Flexiblity is probably best so that I don't stress myself (or my hosts!) out too much.

Because I'm feeling very reflective today, I'd like to share this song by Matthew Barber. It's one that I usually put on when I just want to sit, stare and think about the way my life is moving. You HAVE to click on this link and listen to it, because it's just so beautiful that lyrics can't do it justice:

Where the River Bends

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Breastfeeding Comic

I had to share this hilarious comic strip with you all, posted by Doula Ambitions. I think I'll use this line when I get slack for breastfeeding past one year!

Click here to see it in a larger format