You can always go home

Holy Amazeballs it is LOVELY to be home 🙂 While I’m grateful for Saskatchewan to giving us affordability and safety, Toronto will always be home.   One of the students I worked with remarked upon home and how he missed his hometown in Saskatchewan.  He too didn’t like where we were. Home is where your heart is  –  whether it be province, city, town, or house.  One of the biggest things I’ve learned on this journey, is I’m a city girl. Born and bred.  I am not a country girl.  Even after a year I still suffer from culture shock which leads others to laughter 🙂

Ontario Travel – I think I’ll be emailing you something awesome.

Seeing the kid after two weeks was also amazing.  I missed her so much and it was the most amazing feeling to be able to give her a hug.  Our adventure has been great.  Friends, family, Toronto, so much to do so little time.

I leave soon.  But the memories are forever and we will be back to stay one day.

……or maybe BC, Alberta…. the skies the limits huh?  To dream perchance to go where your heart takes you!!

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Pearson Airport. Felt alive stepping out into the chaos

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Strange as it sounds, driving in traffic was exhilarating. What you miss is wierd sometimes.

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Family to see 🙂

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NIghts to sit outside and just be.

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Sights to go down memory lane with.

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New attractions to experience. Ripley’s Aquarium Toronto. Loved it.

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University Avenue in Downtown Toronto – chillin watching the traffic.

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Queen West – Eatons Centre just up the road.

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Spending time with old friends.

 

 

Memories

People may scoff at my reality tv viewing habits, (the sidekick notes obsession), but Mama June from Honey Boo Boo has it right.   “It’s all about having fun and making memories”.  We may not understand everything they say, but they have a core understanding of what makes life worth living that people should take note of.  They’re not the perfect family – but who of us are?

While I would love to make memories like them, I don’t have a tv reality show or a sponsorship to afford all the cool things they do.  I would love to go on an air boat or do an RV trip.  I would have loved the opportunity to be on Family Feud – I was a little bummed when I found out Steve Harvey wasn’t impressed with the Honey Boo Boo Crew.  Though check out the link cuz he had me in stitches with his thoughts on the family.

Here – here it’s a little harder to find things to do all the time.  Back home you have so many options.  My favourite was driving to Oakville/Burlington and walking the boardwalk.  Going into Toronto and just people watching is another family favourite.  There is so much to see.  Here, you can walk but a tree is a tree no matter how many times you pass it.  But we looked – we found – we didn’t spend to much money.  Always a plus in my book.

Yesterday saw our adventures take us 2 hours into Regina.  We had lunch at Wasabi.

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So many bowls, so many choices. Apparently, the middle green bowl is wasabi. Which is meant to be used sparingly. My friend commented on this two hours after I had posted the picture on facebook. My friend could have posted this two hours sooner and saved my mouth from fire. Lesson learned, people don’t pay enough attention to me on social media when I post….. 😉

Next was the movie theater.  The kid had a coupon for a free movie, and I had a free movie from my scene card after I think 5 years of saving points.  Which tells you how often we go out.  The movie theater in our town is literally A movie theater.  One screen – from 1980.  My new twitter friend @MtnHolly, another Ontario transplant but to Alberta, told me her small towns burnt down … in 2008.  We consider ourselves lucky to have the one 🙂 Nonetheless, a modern cineplex was a treat.  After we wandered, tried not to spend money and let the memories set 🙂

 

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WE WANTED AGNES SO BAD!!  The kid was willing to selflessly write a review on her blog in order to get her hands on one.  Our town only has a small Walmart. When in the big city, you take opportunities to see things when you can. We wandered Toys R Rus, Walmart, and Target 🙂 We purchased the white chocolate M&M’s only available at Target. When living far away from major urban cities, you must stock up on supplies as you never know when a freak July blizzard will isolate you in your house.

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Downtown Regina traffic!! Much different then Toronto.

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Memory makers – On the 2 hour ride back home we stopped to take our picture over looking Qu’Appelle Valley. A beautiful spot. Snow outside and wearing just shirts. Ice fishing in the background.

 

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Ever the photobomber … check the middle 🙂

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Even though we’ve been here almost a year, sights like this still make me stop the car on the side of the highway to look.  As soon as we stopped, they bolted The locals think we’re weird about finding ‘everyday occurrences’ neat. LOL.

Today’s adventure to make memories had us shooting.  When the Apocalypse comes, you’re all invited to my house.  She’s almost a crack shot.  #food 🙂

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What about you?  Tell me how you make family memories without breaking the bank?

Olympians and you’re welcome

We may not have much right now, but for what we do have I give thanks.  It was a hard week in one aspect, which will come up in another post.  It was also a beautiful week.

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Hoarfrost – while a name that clearly someone didn’t really think about before making official.. really gorgeous however.

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The hoarfrost gives beauty to those ‘dead’ winter trees.

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What an amazing experience!!

So the kid met Canada’s own Sochi2014 Olympic Gold Medalist Kaitlyn Lawes.  The kid got to hold the gold medal and was much impressed by this tiny woman with so much strength.

Kaitlyn: Thank you for coming to meet me!!
My kid:  You’re welcome!!

Walking to the car,

Me: You’re welcome huh?  LOL

My kid: I panicked!!!

Never say I have never taught the kid good manners and common courtesy!!

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Free Skate

Our week ended with Free Sunday night skating.  I don’t go out on the ice because I would die if I did.  But it was lovely to sit and watch the kid glide around.

This is what life is supposed to be about.  I may not be where I want to be right now, but this week had nice scenery.  Those other people who make it about crap – phooey on them.

How was your week?

 

The GTA #icestorm from Saskatchewan

One of the hardest things about moving is how many loved ones I left back in Ontario.  I have 6 siblings just for starters!!  Finishing 6 months of being here and I still get very homesick.  Not just for the people though – but for the land.  The sidekick and imp do too.

When the we heard about the ice storm we weren’t to concerned.  I remember back in the 90’s I think it was, when we had a bit of one.  Quebec got clobbered if I remember correctly.  I knew everyone would be okay, but being so far away you still worry.

This is where I’m grateful for social media and cell phone coverage.  We read about how our town we moved from – Georgetown in Halton Hills – got hit really bad.  The pictures on facebook were stunning but deadly at the same time.  We read on twitter how friends were faring without power.  On instagram we saw pictures of others.  Even without power, some had data on their phones and were able to communicate that way.

It was good to keep up with everyone and just know that they were safe.  I have a sister who doesn’t have power still, but my sister-in-law who just got power back herself, through cell phones and twitter are trying to see if they need a place to stay.  I’ve seen friends get taken in by family.  My brother-in-law helped a family take a tree out of the roof.  One of my sisters lives in Toronto Housing and is on the 14th floor.  Family and friends through social media/cell phones are seeing if she is okay.

I wish you all in Ontario a safe, warm Christmas.  For those of you without power I hope Santa, (aka Hydro 🙂 ) is able to continue their brilliant work.  I wish for them lots of hot cider and love too 🙂

In other news, I was going to finally give up on Candy crush. I’ve been on level 129 for the past 500 years.  Just when I was going to post on facebook for everyone not to tag me for stuff, I see there’s a new candy crush? Some owl at nighttime…and it sucked me back in.  I’m so annoyed with myself…but I have to stop typing now and go back to level 6.  I’m sure by bed I can be at level 25 at least.

Sisters in Conversation

Now that it’s really cold and living in a small town … well there’s not a lot to do.  Amusement is at a premium..

November I found on facebook a cool little survey designed to tell all my family and friends something about me.  Something to make a couple of minutes go fast.

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Disclaimer: If anyone is impressionable and read #7, going to the dentist every time your insurance allows you to go is very important for good dental hygiene…honestly I don’t think I had dental insurance for at least 5 of those 8 years…..

The rules of the game are that the writer gives you a number and you have to write that many things about yourself.  My sister – older, elder, not the same age as me 🙂 – decided to reply to my note. To which I replied to her.  ( S – for sister M – for me.  the fifth s should be a M)  We had a GREAT conversation 🙂

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I don’t believe you need the S and M (hee hee) as you are reading the flow now… Oh 5 she had written she was a pain in the ass.

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She wouldn’t put it on her own wall, so I put it on her wall for her 🙂 Brilliance at best if I do say so!!

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I WIN though she felt she let me win because she was fantastic.. and she then posted on my wall a video of Dr. Who saying fantastic 50 million times in 50 million different scenarios.  Really …. quite a boring show to watch someone whose whole dialogue is only fantastic.

I also would like to question Facebook at this time and ask where the post is.  Searched everywhere on the wall and clicked all.  Hmmm….I thought facebook was forever….

I then posted on her wall ……. Teri 5

She found some reference to Judge Judy and how Judge Judy got on someone’s naughty list for being a bad judge.  She posted that on my wall.  I replied  Again facebook, I clicked everywhere for her post and no post to find …

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A lot of white space up there….obviously my editing pictures skills aren’t up to snuff here ….

She wanted to let me know that

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I let her know that

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Hopefully she reads the wiki article …. it’s extremely important to know things like this.

One of my sister-in-laws adhered to the rules and wrote her list of things those of us did not know when given her number.  I did graffiti.

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A few days later I got another message from my sister.

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I smiled….. then I was sad.  I miss home.

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Remembrance Day In Saskatchewan

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Today had a different feel it usually does.   Back home, the imp would have been off for school.  I would have been off to work.  The sidekick would have started doing chores around the house.  Here, we got up, had breakfast and drove to the community centre for the town’s Remembrance Day ceremony.

20131111_101532 I honestly couldn’t tell you what I was expecting.  Never having the opportunity to honour those that have given my family freedom as a family ….well to be as a family today – it meant a lot. The ceremony was brilliant.  I did a guesstimate and probably about 1000 people showed up.

We sat up in the bleachers and had a birds eye view of the proceedings.  I have to admit, I have the attention span of a two  year old so I did instagram a few pictures.  (Yes – instagram, tweet, facebook and google are all verbs now at our house).  The town honoured those of the district who had fallen.  The town honoured all Canadians who are guard us.

What surprised me the most, was how much God was mentioned.  I didn’t have a problem with that at all.  For me, I believe and am thankful for what I have been given.  It was just kind of again – different – to be able to listen to hymns, bible readings, and petitions in a public forum.  Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know – tell me in the comment section – but I usually see someone mention Christianity openly and there is a backlash.  Again – that’s what I see.  For me, I enjoyed this part.  I haven’t watched the Ottawa ceremonies and I don’t even know if Toronto’s is telecast, so I wasn’t able to compare if Christianity is referenced.  It was a beautiful rural ceremony.

One of the speakers remarked we owe our soldiers. For they who gave their lives for us, we owe them such a debt of gratitude.  And we do.  Without them, we would not have the freedoms we take for granted.

What really shocked me, and it really shouldn’t have, was after everyone had been so proud, patriotic, respectful, kind and nice in the building, as soon as they got in their cars it was a free for all.  People only putting one inch between the car infront so noone could bump in.  I let one person go across from me hoping that the next person would let me go, and nooo … le sigh … that person drove (on the ice let it be known) so noone could get infront.  People’s need to be the first one out of a parking lot still mind boggles me to say the least.

Afterwards we hit the Canadian Legion.  Then we went to the Army, Navy and Airforce Veterans Hall where awesome bagpipe playing was happening.  I met the MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly.  In Ontario it’s MPP) Greg Ottenbreit.  Well actually my dad called out to him that I lived here in Saskatchewan now, but hated it and wanted to go back and could he convince me otherwise.  Not the greatest way to be introduced to an MLA but my Dad means well 🙂  Mr. Ottenbreit seemed very nice.  This is one of the worst towns to make friends if you are an outsider, so ya….. I’m not sure where we will end up.  We will see what will happen in the future.

We did drop by the SuperStore as some stores were still open, but I think they were on holiday hours.  There were a lot of people in the store.  Hopefully they were able to take time and remember what today was all about.

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By the way …. the roads still look like this here…

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I’m thinking I need chains to drive here never mind winter tires …..

Oh – and a double by the way – it was frickin cold here. However, last year people told me there was so much snow you couldn’t get out of your house.  So, at least I’m only driving on ice and can’t feel my face – we’re still mobile.

where did you come from

I was going to write a post on a guy I read about in the Toronto Star.  He makes 100k a year.   He is going for retirement at 42.  It was suppose to be 45 but his retirement math was wrong.  Sometimes reading the paper makes me laugh.

But instead of being facetious about people who have been blessed enough in their lives to go to university, I’m going to write about something else.  (Don’t get me wrong.  I do not at all begrudge anyone their education.  Education is so very important and it’s what allows us to be successful in life. Yes – poor people go to university.  But it’s very very hard just so you know.  My sister went to university.  She’s is in debt tens of thousands of dollars.  She’ll be 5 million years old by the time she pays it off.  I wish circumstances were different for me and I could have gone to university.  I only went to college because that’s would I could afford.  I have $5000 left off my student loan to pay.  Instead of making minimum wage I make a few dollars more.  Not enough to actually afford life.  I just wish a university education wasn’t so unattainable for some that poor people worry about giving both their kidney’s to the neighbourhood don.  This is a whole different story that I will get into another day.  Agree, disagree… we’ll talk later.)

I’m going to write about the imp.  She’s amazing.  She just finished her post for today.  I read it, looked at her and thought “where did you come from?”.  Sometimes the wisdom that comes out of her mind astounds me.  Check out her latest post ——> http://presswithjess.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/hobbies/

I asked the sidekick what he did at 11.  He replied, “I played outside, played woodtag (I had to ask for clarification here.  Was totally not what I first thought), annoyed my brothers.”  I played outside, read books, and dug a hole to China.

I’m totally gobsmacked by the child that lives in this house with us.  Yes she is a typical kid with attitude, bad jokes, and loving hugs.  Then she does something that makes me look at her in awe.

I’m privileged to be in her life.

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Just the two of us – we can make it if we try 🙂

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

One of the pros about about moving to a new province is being able to explore more of Canada.  Middle of August saw us check out Saskatoon.  I don’t remember at all if I’ve ever visited Saskatoon.  When our family came out to Saskatchewan to visit family when I was five, I know we went a few places.  We have pictures of visiting Alberta and the huge Easter Egg.  But I can’t find anything about Saskatoon.  Which was lovely as this trip felt like a ‘first’ for all three of us.

I have to admit – I could have down without the three hour drive that looked like this.

20130826_0930061 Having to drive this both to and from the Paris of the Prairies was in one word ‘mindnumbing’.

Usually you have to yell at the kids in the back to look up from the gadget and see the beauty of our country.  Having driven a lot now here, I let her continue playing while I begged the sidekick to talk to me so my eyes wouldn’t glaze over.

But once we got there – wow.  I can see why Saskatoon is considered the Paris of the Prairies.

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One of the magnificent views on the Saskatchewan River

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Eating dessert a lovely awesome Greek restuarant – Mediterraneo. The food was fantastic and the staff amazing. I would totally recommend here. The pastry chef is there every day and the desserts were out. of. this. world.

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We’ve been spoiled by having had the opportunity to go to the Toronto Zoo. That being said, for northern Canada and the price – this was a great little trip to enjoy.

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My mother kept saying “It’s like Toronto traffic!! Be careful”. um hmm…. this would be the equivalent of the 401 on top of the city. The sidekick and I laughed when we saw this. Hey – the sidekick took this picture 🙂 Pretty good huh?

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The streets are huge. Really lovely architecture.

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On the Prairie Lily – River boat. And no she has not seen the movie yet thinks particular scene is hysterical.

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The sidekick and I seeing all the sights on the river. Take the tour – breathtaking and peaceful.

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The backyard of where the rich people go to stay. This possibly could make my bucket list. Looks beautiful.

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Radisson hotel downtown Saskatchewan. This slide made all the difference in our stay. Awesome hotel, awesome staff!!

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The imp reading the paper before breakfast at the the only Cora’s in Saskatchewan.

A really fantastic trip.  If you ever get the chance to go, explore Saskatoon.

That’s what makes you beautiful

There have been positives to this move. Not a lot, but some. The best one – this summer I got to stay home with the imp. Before in Ontario, my job had me working a lot of weekends and nights. I didn’t see the imp very much. To many times I looked into the imps eyes saying “I’m sorry I can’t be there at your school” or “I’m sorry I can’t be there for the after school concert” or “You can’t be in that because I’m working and can’t drive you.” Unless you’ve been in this position, you really don’t know how much your heart breaks into a million pieces when they look at you in disappointment.

This summer has been about re-connecting with the imp. Enjoying her one liners, her humour, her infectious laugh, her empathy, genuineness and the insightful comments she has about life around her. She’s a brilliant child. I know you think yours is..but I know mine is ;). You can step into her world at Press With Jess.

Today we drove 2 1/2 hours to Regina so she could see a movie she has been dying to see. We could have stayed in our little town, but it only has one movie screen and was playing a different movie. And this movie – well it needed to be seen on an awesomely huge screen with surround sound. Yes – we went to see One Direction.

We talked in the car on the way there. We talked about Saskatchewan and back home.

Me: Where would you rather live?

Her: Where ever. Has. Less. Of. This. (pointing out window to flat landscape)

Me: *snorting* (the disdain in her voice was worthy of an oscar)

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We made ourselves say at least 5 good things about moving here…we both only made in to four. Which is an improvement because the last time we only made it to three.

We talked about life, about how the sidekick is doing better, about opportunities and friends.

The movie – I loved it. It was lovely to hear her laugh and see her smile as her favourite band became larger then life for a couple of hours. Her favourite is Niall. I don’t regret at all driving what felt like forever across Saskatchewan. The boys were charming and funny. I laughed at their antics, and smiled at the obvious love their family and friends have for them. For me, my heart will always belong to New Kids On The Block, but I think for the way that One Direction has made her light up – I think my heart can have a little space for the Uk boys. (shhhhh don’t tell anyone but I sang along to the songs and now am the proud owner of one song called Little Things. It’s really good.) And the movie reminded me of when I was her age. I remember watching my Hanging Tough video cassette….yes I wrote video cassette LOL. I remember being excited to get a poster of them one Christmas. I remember watching them in Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto so many years ago. Our seats were so far away I think we were almost at the very top of the concert hall.

We had life lessons in the car.

Her: I thought you weren’t happy anymore with NKOTB since Donnie didn’t….

Me: *shrugs* I may be upset with Donnie right now (another story lol), but I’ve been a blockhead for 25 years. You learn in life kid, sometimes you don’t get want you want. It sucks, it hurts, but it happens.

It made me a little bit sad that living here and not in the GTA where all musicians go, she might not get that opportunity to enjoy her boy band to the fullest. I hope at some point she is able to see them in concert. That would be cool…

On the way back, we blared her One Direction songs and sang at the top of our lungs. And it was fun. She took pictures. I took one which is okay, because there’s construction here. So when you’re on the transcanada highway, as it’s only 2 lanes, they shut down both lanes sometimes for the crews to do whatever they need to do. You actually are stopped, engine off, while you wait. (I actually really really miss the traffic of the 401) I took the one of the both of us. She took the rest. Imagine the music blaring – singing with the windows down – and just being ….

I’m sad summer’s over…but happy for the time I got to spend with her. I remember looking over at her as she sang – and it didn’t matter to her she wasn’t in tune. She wants singing lessons anyway. She, for the most most part, isn’t really concerned about what people think about her. She’s definitely her own person. And I hope she never forgets that’s what makes you beautiful.

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