Sunday, 21 February 2010

Seven Hundred and Thirty Days.

Seven hundred and thirty days?
And that's how long I have been a Nana to Callum.
The Equestrienne waved her magic wooden spoon and created a fabulous Birthday Cake in the shape of a car.... VW bug convertible rally car to be exact. Oreo cookies for wheels, and liquorice allsorts for headlights, steering wheel and chequered flag, and a liquorice tailpipe!

"If my arm was just a little bit longer, I could taste the icing....."

The party included aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandma and Nana, and family friends.

On the menu: pizza, veggies and dip, more pizza, chips, grapes, pretzels, M&Ms, and even more pizza!

But first, Callum and his cousins went outside to help OlderSon tap the maple trees. It's getting close to maple syrup time. They helped drill the trees, hammer in the spiles and hang the buckets to catch the sap. (The blue bucket on tree to the right)

And then they made an alien snowman.... scary, isn't he? "Take me to your leader..."

Finally, it was Birthday Cake time. "I blow candles out!"

And then it was time to open the presents. Callum wasn't quite sure why he was getting presents, but he certainly knew how to open them.

And the best prezzies? A little blue car from Nana (same colour as Nana's car), and a road play mat from Grandma. Perfect combination!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Kittysitting Duties

The nice people who live next door have gone to chase the sunshine in Florida for a couple of golf-filled weeks, and have left me in charge of their three furry friends.

Bobby, Beau and Bonnie are two big brothers and a little sister. (Well, she's not so little actually!)

Bobby and Beau are super friendly and greet me at the door like a long lost buddy when I arrive, but Bonnie isn't so sure that she likes me letting myself into her house, and she prefers to scoot under the table or behind the chair.

But I'm gradually winning her trust.

Of course, it helps a lot when she remembers that I'm the only one capable of opening the tins of cat food.

(BTW, it's a special day today, my grandson Callum is TWO! Happy Birthday Callum! Party time and birthday cake tomorrow.... WOOHOO!)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Shane Koyczan

I had never heard of Shane Koyczan before he stood up there on that column at the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

I had no idea what to expect. And I had never heard of slam poetry.

But I loved what he had to say.... it was humble and inspiring and showed a passion for this wonderful country that is not always evident.

We Are More

by Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada

you might list some statistics

you might mention our tallest building

or biggest lake

you might shake a tree in the fall

and call a red leaf Canada

you might rattle off some celebrities

might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie

might even mention the fact that we've got a few

Barenaked Ladies

or that we made these crazy things

like zippers

electric cars

and washing machines

when defining Canada

it seems the world's anthem has been

"been there done that"

and maybe that's where we used to be at

it's true

we've done and we've been

we've seen

all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine

and turned into theme parks

but when defining Canada

don't forget to mention that we have set sparks

we are not just fishing stories

about the one that got away

we do more than sit around and say "eh?"

and yes

we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One

who inspired little number nines

and little number ninety-nines

but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines

off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes

and some say what defines us

is something as simple as please and thank you

and as for you're welcome

well we say that too

but we are more

than genteel or civilized

we are an idea in the process

of being realized

we are young

we are cultures strung together

then woven into a tapestry

and the design

is what makes us more

than the sum total of our history

we are an experiment going right for a change

with influences that range from a to zed

and yes we say zed instead of zee

we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy

we dream so big that there are those

who would call our ambition an industry

because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow

we do more than grow wheat and brew beer

we are vineyards of good year after good year

we reforest what we clear

because we believe in generations beyond our own

knowing now that so many of us

have grown past what used to be

we can stand here today

filled with all the hope people have

when they say things like "someday"

someday we'll be great

someday we'll be this

or that

someday we'll be at a point

when someday was yesterday

and all of our aspirations will pay the way

for those who on that day

look towards tomorrow

and still they say someday

we will reach the goals we set

and we will get interest on our inspiration

because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks

more than backpacks and hiking trails

we are hammers and nails building bridges

towards those who are willing to walk across

we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss

we are not the see-through gloss or glamour

of those who clamour for the failings of others

we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers

uncles and nephews aunts and nieces

we are cousins

we are found missing puzzle pieces

we are families with room at the table for newcomers

we are more than summers and winters

more than on and off seasons

we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay

because we are more than what we say or do

we live to get past what we go through

and learn who we are

we are students

students who study the studiousness of studying

so we know what as well as why

we don't have all the answers

but we try

and the effort is what makes us more

we don't all know what it is in life we're looking for

so keep exploring

go far and wide

or go inside but go deep

go deep

as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss

and suddenly there was this location scout

trying to figure some way out

to get inside you

because you've been through hell and high water

and you went deep

keep exploring

because we are more

than a laundry list of things to do and places to see

we are more than hills to ski

or countryside ponds to skate

we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait

we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes

a country that is all the ways you choose to live

a land that can give you variety

because we are choices

we are millions upon millions of voices shouting

"keep exploring... we are more"

we are the surprise the world has in store for you

it's true

Canada is the "what" in "what's new?"

so don't say "been there done that"

unless you've sat on the sidewalk

while chalk artists draw still lifes

on the concrete of a kid in the street

beatboxing to Neil Young for fun

don't say you've been there done that

unless you've been here doing it

let this country be your first-aid kit

for all the times you get sick of the same old same old

let us be the story told to your friends

and when that story ends

leave chapters for the next time you'll come back

next time pack for all the things

you didn't pack for the first time

but don't let your luggage define your travels

each life unravels differently

and experiences are what make up

the colours of our tapestry

we are the true north

strong and free

and what's more

is that we didn't just say it

we made it be.

-Shane Koyczan

Friday, 12 February 2010

Welcome to the Winter Olympics!

As I write this, the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics are only 6 hours away. The Olympic Torch Relay is making it's final journey through the streets of Vancouver, and Olympic Fever is running high throughout the country.
150 proud Canadians will carry the Torch through Vancouver today, including celebrities from the worlds of showbusiness, sports, politics, education, and representatives from Canada's multi-cultural population. Even Arnie You-Know-Who the Governator got a chance to run through Stanley Park carrying the Flame!
I'll be at YoungerSon's house to watch the Opening Ceremony extravaganza tonight. And I'm looking forward to watching the games.
Even though Canada has hosted the Olympics twice (Montreal Summer Olympics in 1976 and Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988), Canada has never won a gold medal on home turf..... so I'm cheering loudly for the home team....
Go Canada Go!