Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Days are Just Packed

To borrow a title from one of my favourite cartoonists (one of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes collections), the days have felt completely jammed full lately - thus a lack of recent updates here!

Aside from all the laundry, cooking and eating (all of which seem to have increased exponentially of late) here are a few of the things we've been up to:

Water: The boys spent the entire month of June playing with water - water gun and water balloon fights, swimming in the neighbour's pool, squirting the hose at each other, and generally remaining as wet as possible for the majority of their waking hours! The neighbourhood pool and splash pad opened last week, so I don't expect to see them fully dried off until September :)

Nursing languishing electronics: It seems that our house has turned into a graveyard for electronic thingamajigs in varying states of repair. We now have four (yes, four) printers of dubious vintage and degrees of functioning taking up space (I am still determined to get one of them to work - cross your fingers for me!) Anyone know what's the best way to dispose of dead printers?? Our digital camera also bit the dust recently (so expect a dearth of photos here for a while). Luckily, it seems we will at least be able to trade this in locally and get a portable CD player for the van (to replace the one that got stolen last summer). Joe has also been trying to revive a TV he dragged home for free - not sure how that one's going to end yet!

Learning piano: Our one successful revival thus far, we finally have our music keyboard functional again. We just got it up and running yesterday, and all four of us have been clamoring around, eagerly awaiting our turn tickling the (non) ivories. I haven't played in over a decade now (I can't BELIEVE it's been that long!) but so far I've managed to bang out a half-decent Ode to Joy and stumble along with Edelweiss. I'm looking forward to spending some regular time playing - I was never a natural by any means; I have to practice, practice, practice on even the basic stuff. Nathan is already gracing us with his own spontaneous compositions!

Writing (other places than here!): I've been devoting what little blogging time I've had lately to my cooking blog, The Speeding Kitchen, which I hope to expand on in a few directions. I've also got some other (offline) writing projects going - more news about that soon!

Playing with EFT: I've known about EFT for a while, but never really delved into it further, or learned how to do it. In the last couple of weeks, I've spent a lot of time reading about EFT, watching YouTube videos, and tapping like a fiend. So far, I am very excited about this process and think everyone should know how to do this!!

Now we are gearing up for some Canada Day celebrations, lots of fun things planned over the next couple of days, so I should have plenty to report by July 2nd!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Yard Sale Booty!!

[SPOILER ALERT: If you or someone you are related to is on my gift list, please don't read this post, you might ruin a surprise or two!!!]

I am a die-hard yard sale shopper. Every spring I wait impatiently for the fun to start again. I've been out almost every Saturday morning for the last 4 or 5 weeks now, and I'll be going until the end of September - then the fall church rummage sales will begin, to keep me going for another month or so.

I love the "thrill of the hunt" - you never know what great bargains you might find. I have a knack for finding the exact things we need, when we need them. This season, I've already replaced our languishing drinking glass collection with an entire set of gorgeous matching glasses (identical to the kind I had in mind!) and found a replacement winter jacket and snow pants for Noah for next winter, along with quite a lot of other great stuff.

It seems every week ends up having a bit of a theme to it, and this week it was "books and stationery week".

Yesterday's haul included:
-2 unopened boxes of Christmas cards (cute ones that I really like!)
-4 brand new, still in the package fancy greeting cards (2 are new baby cards and I need those right now!)
-BRAND NEW copies of Eat*Pray*Love and Rodney Yee's Yoga: Poetry of the Body
-2 like-new condition children's books (one hardcover)
- a felt story board with 2 sets of felt figures
[these last 2 items are for a certain toddler's birthday and Christmas gifts]
-a set of plastic dishes (to replace our really old and beat up camping set!)
-a set of "magic boxer shorts" (add water and watch them grow!) for Joe's Christmas stocking

I estimate this lovely collection of items would have cost me $125 at retail prices. My yard sale total? $16.00

Have I mentioned that I love yard sales??

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Simple Pleasures of City Living

While much has been written about the simple pleasures of living in the country, I'm not sure enough has been written about the simply joys of city living! We haven't done anything "big and exciting" lately, we've just been sharing lots of those small but enjoyable moments that make life so worthwhile.

I never expected to end up living in a city of a half a million people, but I've been here over 15 years now and love it. While we live in the city proper (not a suburb), the neighbourhood we live in (about 16,000 people) has a really small-town feel to it, despite the fact that it's only a five minute drive or 30 minute walk to the downtown.

Our neighbourhood was one of the first "planned communities" in Canada, which means it's extremely walkable. I do most of my day-to-day errands on foot, which means I often end up stopping to chat with a neighbour or two, or even one of the library staff, who know all the members of my family on a first name basis!

Nathan has started soccer for the season, and the soccer field's a 10 minute walk from our house, at the large community park. Along the way are all manner of flowering shrubs and trees (they planted over 150 new trees in the park last year alone!) and it's just such a beautiful community space I feel blessed to live so close by.

And then there's our front porch, which we lovingly refer to as our "summer living room". I can (and do!) spend hours out there, reading, knitting, drinking coffee (iced, if the temperature climbs too high), playing backgammon and Uno with the kids, and generally whiling away a hot summer afternoon. It's also the place we sit and eat ice cream when we get back from our daily afternoon swim (another great bonus - our community pool's a five minute walk from our house!)

The street we live on is located adjacent to two major bike routes (one of which is the Waterfront Trail, which is also popular with walkers, runners and Rollerbladers) so a lot of that "traffic" ends up going down our street. It's all part of the fun of porch-sitting to watch the community roll right by our doorstep (and often, someone we know will be going by and stop for a chat!)

I also spend a lot of my porch-time just watching the kids play - there are about 20 kids on the block, and they are out on the street playing until after dark every night now that it's nearly summer. Sometimes scooters and bikes go flying down the sidewalk, often there's a street-wide game of hide-and-seek going on, or there could be some sidewalk-chalk street art being created.

You never know what might happen next around here - a few nights ago I poked my head out the front door to see what the boys were up to, and found them talking to a cockatiel named Gonzo!! His owner lives around the corner from us and had brought the bird out to enjoy the gorgeous early-evening weather.

I can't imagine not being a part of this thriving, friendly, family-loving, diverse community and all the daily blessings, large and small, that go along with it.