What about those dogs…an update.

One of my previous posts called ‘The dog whispers…bring me home,’ yielded much interest and I thought an update might be appropriate.

To refresh, on December 29, 2012, Buddy, a yellow Labrador (with a torn ACL in his hind leg) and Maddy, a female English Bulldog, went missing from the Baird’s acreage.  Alas they were never recovered.  What happened to them is still unknown and there as been much speculation as to the possibilities of their wherabouts.  The Baird’s even took the extra step of calling in professional trackers and hunters but to no avail, although it was determined that coyotes attacking the dogs was highly unlikely.  Equally doubtful was for them to have just run off, since the bulldog never liked to travel far from the front door and Buddy’s torn ACL was too painful to allow for long walks anywhere.     http://www.buddymaddy.com/

It is my feeling that these two adorable pets were picked up by someone and it’s my hope that they are at least being treated well wherever they are.

The heartbreak of losing a pet can be like losing a member of the family.  You go through all of the emotions of denial, anger, depression and finally acceptance but you never forget them.

The Baird family did everything they possibly could to try and find their dogs and although they have been unsuccessful in bringing them home, so far; something positive has come from their experience.  On June 15th, of this past year, they organized a Missing Mutts Awareness Day in honour of their missing dogs, Buddy and Maddy.  The intent of this event was to promote awareness of where to go and who to contact if a lost or stray dog is found.  It was also a means to bring attention to hundreds of other families that have lost or stolen dogs.

http://www.missingmuttsawareness.com/

There was an agility event, expert dog clinics, groomers, dog vendors, and behaviorists, as well as, several rescue agencies where you could meet adoptable dogs.  There was also a fun all-breed dog show.

The weather was threatening to rain most of the day but that didn’t hold back these diehard dog lovers.  In fact, the event was so successful that Carmel Baird is even thinking of making it an annual event.  (check back on their website for updates on that.)

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I thought long and hard about adopting this little guy but we travel too much to take on the responsibility.  He was just so soft and cuddly that he was almost impossible to resist.  I think about getting a dog every month, however, I have to be realistic; I don’t have the time required to properly commit to training and exercising a dog right now.

Someday… someday I will hear those little pads tapping on my floor as they make their way to jump on my bed for a snuggle.

Where have I been…a Vancouver Island pictorial

It has been 8 months (seriously, 8 months, what the hell have I been doing with my life) since I have written a post.  Let me blame it on Candy Crush.  Do you have any idea how difficult level 64 is!

Or I could blame it on my work or some new direction my life has been taking but truthfully my procrastination really has no excuse other than laziness (and candy crush, that one really does count).  So tonight- I get back on track.  On with the blog!

and we’re off…

In August we took one week vacation to Vancouver Island. We flew direct from Edmonton to Victoria and rented a car at the airport so that we could easily tour the island.  We stayed in Victoria for two nights at the very lovely Huntingdon Hotel and Suites on the Harbour which had an awesome location right in the heart of all the action.  Considering Victoria is a major retirement hub for Canada’s seniors, action might not be the word I’m looking for but Victoria definitely won me over with it’s captivating ocean views and relaxing pubs.  From Victoria we headed up the coast stopping along the way in Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach.  After spending a night there we headed across the island to Ucluelet.  We headed back to Duncan and made our way via ferry to Salt Spring Island (not seen on the map) for two nights before ferrying over to Sidney for one last night before flying home.

bc_islands

The Huntingdon Hotel and Suites on the Harbour was walking distance to The Empress Hotel, the Victoria Clipper Ferry, Fisherman’s Wharf Park and the British Columbia Parliament building.  I was sad to see the Wax Museum was closed down, however.

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We couldn’t resist taking a tour on the Victoria Hippo bus. These buses are specially designed amphibious vehicles that work as both bus and boat. As a bus we were toured around Victoria’s city attractions and parks for ~45 min before a very wet splash into the Pacific Ocean for a further 45 min tour along the coastline. Our guide was informative, of course, and her bubbly enthusiasm made me want two of whatever she’d had before embarking on the tour. There were three buses that have these amphibious capabilities and ours was named Henrietta. The other two were called Happy and Harry. There were people from the States, England, Australia, Belgium and Denmark on our bus. It was a great way to get an overview of everything downtown Victoria had to offer.

Some of Victoria’s local sights:

SAM_7866The Empress hotel is famous for its Afternoon Tea.

Float planes are an essential mode of transport between mainland Vancouver and Vancouver Island and the tinier Gulf Islands.Float planes are an essential mode of transport between the mainland and islands.

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Dining options were many and we checked out a few pubs along the way.  There was a great selection of micro-brewed beers, ciders and local wines to try.

SAM_7601SAM_7844Fisherman’s Wharf was a must see for its colourful houseboats and famous fish and chips.

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SAM_7719It was a 30 min walk to the wharf from our hotel so we grabbed one of these water taxis for the ride home.

SAM_7850SAM_7717As cute as these houseboats were, I just would not be able to downsize to that extreme nor would I want tourists gawking in my windows.

SAM_7721Whale watching was readily available.

The British Columbia Parliament Building with its oxidized copper dome.

SAM_7629The secret to living a longer more loving life has been revealed!

SAM_7668SAM_7663SAM_7672SAM_7628SAM_7618SAM_7645SAM_7638SAM_7631We enjoyed our short visit to Victoria and would definitely love to return for an extended stay next time.

Next we were on our way to Qualicum Beach.

IMG_1810This family run hotel was comfortable and offered great views of the ocean tide coming in.

SAM_7878This was the view from our room, a very decent pub/restaurant was just across the road.

SAM_7879The tide is out.

IMG_1809And on its way in.

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IMG_1831Ucluelet is on the rugged, windy, beautiful and wild western coast of the island. It faces the Pacific Ocean.

It had several hiking trails and secluded little beaches waiting to be discovered but one must take care to not get caught out after dark or in the fog.

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SAM_7919The Salt Spring Inn, located in the charming village of Ganges, on Salt Spring Island was not only comfortable but boasted a fabulous restaurant.

IMG_1904The view from our room was of the Ganges harbour.

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These painted pianos were set on various street corners inviting many renditions of chopsticks.  Although not everyone is a Liberace, Salt Spring Island does have its share of famous inhabitants, as well as, a plethora of artists, musicians and winemakers.

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The final stretch, on the ferry to Sidney where we would spend our last night before flying home.  We had an amazing time on Salt Spring Island and I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again.  I just fell in love with its charm.

SAM_7950 SAM_7959 IMG_2042 IMG_2043 SAM_7969 IMG_2014 IMG_2011 IMG_2031 SAM_7966 SAM_7967 SAM_7977 SAM_7988 SAM_7979What on earth are these creatures?

And the fellas below appear to be waiting for some fool to take a dive.

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So that concludes my pictorial summary of our Vancouver Island vacation.  I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as we enjoyed the journey.  If and when I ever retire I would definitely think seriously about joining the rest of Canada’s seniors on one of these islands.  I might even take up lawn bowling.

The Dog Whispers…Bring Me Home.

If you are a dog lover, this post may resonate with you if not…well then pretend it’s a cat.

My first dog memory was that of a child of about 3.  He was an Irish setter/collie cross named Rover and he was my dad’s constant companion.  Rover would follow my dad out into the fields trotting behind his tractor. All day. Every day.

Since we lived on a farm we always had dogs around.  We never had to go to a pet store to buy one since they would often just show up looking lost and confused.  People who decided that they no longer wanted that Christmas puppy would drop them off in the spring at the end of our long driveway.  It was the late 60’s, their ears weren’t microchipped and they didn’t come with collars and pet rescues were unheard of. We would end up taking them in and it would become Rover’s job to school them into the ways of the farm.  There was Rex, Blacky, Lady, Sheila, Carly, Rocko, and Fido.

Fido was special. He was mine.

He was a little white mutt and he followed me devotedly as I went about my daily chores.  He would sleep on my bed at night and race about the farm with me while I pretended I was on some secret mission.  I shared my ice-cream with him and all my deepest darkest secrets.  Since it was the 60’s, it was not unusual for my 10 year old self and my 7 and 5 year old brothers to be off in some meadow picking flowers and chasing each other through the bush.  Fido was always there.  Taking in the fun.

One day we were about a half mile from home in a ditch picking cattails. I had my doll carriage with me so that I could cart the cattails and whatever other flowers we found back home.  Fido would get to ride if he got too tired to walk.

That particular road was not a busy one and we would wave frantically whenever someone drove by.  But that day the white car that passed was driving too fast to give us a chance to wave.  We watched the dust settle as the car roared off.  It was then that I noticed Fido laying in the middle of the dusty road.  I called him, then walked over to him and nudged him gently with my toe.  He looked like he was sleeping peacefully.  He wasn’t.  The nudge prompted some blood to spurt from his little white nose.  I dropped to my knees, cradled him in my arms and bawled.  My dear Fido was dead.  Just like that.

I placed him in the doll carriage and pushed him all the way back home.  Sobbing the entire way.  Once I got back to the farm I stopped outside the barn and called to my mom.  “Mom!  Mom! MOM!”  The mom, getting louder each time.  My mother responded in that exasperated way that mothers do when their kids are nagging for one last thing. “What!”

“Fido’s dead.”  Her face changed instantly as she ran to comfort me.  We buried Fido on the hill.  My dad  fashioned a little wooden cross and I scratched Fido’s name into the wood.  It’s probably there to this day.

Even though this happened over 40 years ago, it can still bring a tear to my eye.  The pain of that child’s loss seems fresh and becomes mine, once more.  I did get to mourn and remember him, however; much worse would have been not knowing what had happened to him.  If he had gotten lost, never to return- better to be able to mourn him than to forever wonder.

That brings me to the real reason for this post.

Two families that I know have recently lost a total of three dogs.  Both families live on acreages in the East Edmonton/ Sherwood Park area of Alberta.  All three missing dogs were purebred breeds.  A yellow Lab, an English bulldog and a Maremma.  Their families are heartbroken and desperate to get them back.

The first family, the Baird’s have lost two of their dogs:

Buddy, a 2 year old male, yellow lab, was wearing a camo collar with tag. He has been microchipped.  You may notice him limping since he recently tore his ACL (he was scheduled for surgery a few days following his disappearance).

buddy

buddy 2

Buddy holds a special place in 12 year old Keghan Baird’s heart.  As his mother, Carmel, will tell you if she wanted to find Buddy she only had to call out her son’s name and Buddy would come running.

Keghan and Buddy were almost inseparable.

However, on that fateful day, Buddy was on bedrest due to his torn ACL; he had been housebound for 5 days when, his boredom got the better of him and he nosed the front door open.  It was ~ 2 pm in the afternoon and he wanted to join the other family dogs for a romp in the yard.

 

 

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maddy belly

Then we have Maddy, an 8 month old female, tan & white English Bulldog.  She was wearing a pink leather collar and was not yet microchipped.

Being a bulldog meant she wasn’t a fan of long walks or marathons.  Nope, she was a little lazy and  instead of trying to keep up with the other dogs, she’d plop herself down to rest and wait for their return.

Buddy and Maddy went missing together on the afternoon of Dec. 29, 2012 from their Northeast Edmonton acreage.    Both of these dogs were loveable and friendly.  Flyers have been posted all over the city and searchers have scoured every bush of their 40 acres but to no avail.  Even local and national news coverage has so far not brought them home.

It seems very likely that they have been picked up by someone and if they were picked up- they could be anywhere.

The Baird’s are asking the public’s help to get them back.  They are also offering a reward for their safe return or for any tips that lead to their whereabouts.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2013/01/03/edmonton-missing-dogs-reward-animal-tracker.html

http://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/edmontonians-living-on-outskirts-of-city-fear-pets-are-being-stolen-1.1107678

https://www.facebook.com/LostDogsBuddyMaddy

If you find them or know of someone who may have seen them please contact the Baird’s at 780-964-0927.

Next we have the Barr’s.

They lost their dog, Rocky.  He is a 2 year old Maremma and he has been missing since November 16, 2012 from his Sherwood Park area acreage.

Rocky

Rocky 2

His primary role on the Barr’s farm was that of a sheep guardian.  He would guard the sheep out in the field so that they could graze peacefully and safely.  The year prior to getting Rocky, the Barr’s had lost nine sheep to coyotes.  The coyotes would attack almost daily.  Once Rocky was on patrol, however, not a single sheep went missing.

He is white and was wearing a blue collar.  He is only two and has not been neutered.  He also still has his dew claws.  Rocky is still a puppy at heart and he loves to romp about his yard.  The last sign of him were tracks showing that he had crossed the road to the neighbours.  He was known to do this on occasion but had always returned.  If you see him you can Contact Rick or Amy at 780-416-4958.

Dogs become family members and their loss brings real heartbreak and sadness.  Of course these are just two families that are searching for their lost companions.  There are many other dog-loving families out there that are looking for their pets.  So the next time you pass by a ‘Lost Dog‘ poster please take a moment to read it and keep an eye out for all those missing loved ones.  Their return will bring back a lot of smiles.

It’s Not The Food’s Fault

I absolutely hate paisley prints and yet that is where my life is headed if I don’t drop some weight.  The designers are cruel when it comes to larger women’s styles and as skinny models fight over an M&M, my clothes keep getting tighter.

January is the month of the Do-Over.   Diet fads are in full swing and gyms are at maximum capacity.  As stated in my previous post if I were to lose 2lbs a month for a total of 24lbs in the year I’d be a happy camper.  Let’s be clear that is my minimum goal.  In reality, I would love to double that.

Give up bread,

Sugar is bad,

Eat low-fat,

Cut out carbs,

Quit gluten,

Eat raw and

Consume no ALCOHOL!  OK, this last one is just craziness!

These are common refrains heard by those of us that need to lose weight.

But hey, it’s not the food’s fault.  No- it’s all mine.  A teaspoon of sugar didn’t get me this way; I simply Eat too much and Do too little.  I enjoy the taste, the smell and the comfort of food.  Ahhh…is that heavenly scent a cinnamon bun?

Simple remedy… Eat less and do more.

Sounds easy, but here’s the problem- I’m lazy.  I don’t like to exercise.  It makes me sweat and it hurts.  It doesn’t help that all of my passions involve sitting down.  It’s hard to write and run at the same time.  Reading a good book requires a comfortable chair with one’s feet curled up beneath them.  Only difference now is -I need a bigger chair.

As I get a little older (never mind how old) I notice that the weight doesn’t fall off, NO- it just falls down…to my ass, where it hangs on for dear life.

So whether I like it or not, I have to get off my chair and get my butt moving.  The Nike commercial rings through my ears ‘Just Do It’.  Cue the Checkmark.

I head over to my weights, blow off the dust and do a short set, but-  there is another reason I have to start moving.  A couple of co-workers have talked me into signing up for 2x a week exercise classes.

And these aren’t just regular co-workers, no they are the dreaded boot camp lovers- what the hell have I done…

Muscular Strength and Endurance, neither of which do I have, is the name of the class.  The main thing I will have to endure is the sideways smirk of all the fit, sculpted people, bouncing around like rabbits; while I attempt to follow their movements with sloth-like precision.  Here’s hoping I can lift my arms up without having them wave 3 minutes after I’ve put them down.

workout

Can I go from this

workout result-1

to this???? haha.

It’s all good- because even if I only lose 24lbs this year- that is still 24lbs that have kissed my ass good-bye and I’ll take that.

2013, I Am Ready…

Here we go 2013!

New Year’s Eve is one of two days of the year that I use to examine the goals I’ve made for myself, the other day being my birthday.  Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions I like to think of it as planning my ‘life renovations’.  I am in a constant state of renovation.  This year I wrote down my desired renos as goals completed and tied them into a scroll.  I’ve put them out to the universe, so now, if it doesn’t work out- I’ll blame it on the universe. Haha. Kidding Universe, don’t want to piss off karma.  In a year’s time I will unroll the scroll and see if I have achieved any of the proposed outcomes.

One resolution that I made when I started this blog was to write a post every week.  Well that has obviously not happened.  Instead of beating myself up about it I have modified that resolution to once a month.  12 times a year seems very doable to me.  As for weight loss, yikes I have had to modify that one as well.  I’m going for 24 lbs in the next year.  Again 2 lbs/mo is very doable.

Besides making resolutions (or planning your Life’s renovations) New Year’s Eve is a time for reflection.  I reflect on 2012 with a smile. It was good year for me with the occasional blip:

  • I had a car accident, with no major damage or injuries.
  • I dropped my cellphone into the toilet, the bag of rice trick did not work, but I got it replaced at no extra cost to me. Whew!
  • I had root canal which got infected on my vacation, requiring my cheek to be lanced and freezing didn’t work.  Ouch!

Great memories definitely outshone the negative for 2012 and for that I am thankful. I had lots of adventures with good friends and family.  The most recent was in October to Phoenix, Arizona for the state fair.  I went with two co-workers and we used a VRBO condo which worked out perfectly.  The weather was sunny and hot, although for Phoenix residents they felt it had cooled down considerably.  85-90F is as lot cooler than 110F but it was hot enough for us.

Phoenix

A car is a must for Phoenix, our condo was rather isolated and although taxis can be expensive, it was the most practical for our short visit.

Phoenix

We enjoyed the weather, the shopping and the rugged mountainous terrain.  And the heat, talk about hot desert sun…but the sky was so blue.

Phoenix2 Arizona

cacti Palm trees Phoneix flowers

One of the highlights was attending the Arizona State Fair.

Cotton Candy

My inner child screamed for candy floss, otherwise known as Cotton Candy.

AZ state fair

The rides look fun but personally I find them terrifying.  However, the three of us did get on the chair lift that carries you high above the crowds across the fairgrounds.  With nothing to hold you in but a skinny bar I found that my vertigo was indeed intact. Luckily my dear friend Jody was able to keep me from jumping off.  Although just barely.  (We laughed about it later over drinks, lots of drinks.) Yet, I was able to go on the Ferris wheel without a problem.  I think having my feet dangling is what unnerved me.

Fairgrounds

Ferris Wheel

I went on this.

While in Phoenix we also took in an Adam Lambert Concert.  He put on a fabulous show to an exuberant crowd. OLL AL2

good seats

We had great seats close to the stage.

He played most of the songs from Trespassing, his newest CD, which

debuted at number 1 on Billboard 200.

Adam Lambert Arizona Concert

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AL with Ashley, his bass player.

Honey, I think you have a run in those nylons!. lol

I just loved the evenings in Phoenix.  Yes, lots of good memories with some really great co-workers.Phoenix sunset

This past year made me really appreciate those that I work with.  They make going to work something to look forward to.  Even on stressful days there is always a laugh to be had.

I am excited to get started on this new year, 2013.

Already in the works for January:  I have my granddaughter’s 18th birthday to celebrate!  And NO- I am not that OLD, child bride here, remember!  We will do some good old karaoke in a local pub.  (18 is the legal drinking age here in Alberta)

Also a Blue Rodeo concert and OPRAH, hello it’s  OPRAH! She is coming to Edmonton.

Then March sees me travel back for some more adventures in the Mayan Riviera, this time staying in a villa on Akumal Beach to celebrate one of my best friend’s 50th birthday, don’t worry I won’t name you. Yay! So here we go!  I am ready.

Bragg Creek is something to Brag about!

I love to travel but since work doesn’t alway jive with my wants I have to schedule little breaks to keep me sane (or some semblance of).  I decided to use the Canada Day long weekend (that’s July 1 for you non-Canadians) to take a little road trip to the hamlet of Bragg Creek, located 337 km (209 mi.) South of Edmonton, Alberta.  Bragg Creek is only 44 km (27 mi.) east of Calgary which is a mere half hour drive for the bulk of Bragg Creek residents that work in Calgary.

If you love mountains (the Rockies, no less), fresh air, warm summer breezes, horses and wildlife you will love Bragg Creek.  It is the gateway to Kananaskis Country which is a 4,200 sq km forestry reserve. Wildlife comes in all sizes here: grizzlies, moose, elk, deer, cougars, fox right down to the little critters such as squirrels and chipmunks.

My ‘pillow park’ for the weekend was an acreage on the edge of Bragg Creek, the rustic log home of my friends, Katherine and Ted.  As I drove up their lush driveway I was greeted enthusiastically by Indy, their 7 mos old Border Collie.

Indy, a spirited joy. He gets right into your heart.

A backyard of birch and poplar often visited by deer.

A Connie Singer Butterfly, flitted and landed on my shoulder, ring and bracelet before settling on my thumb. It sat there for the longest time. Nature is awesome.

Meadow and Strider complete this happy home.  I thought it was cool that Katherine and Ted could ride their horses into Bragg Creek if they so chose.  The property is surrounded by an abundance of trails and Elbow Creek flows alongside the road.

Meadow (appaloosa) and Strider

Strider and Meadow munching on some oats.

One evening, we decided to check out the saloon. heehaw!  Well… it was called the Powderhorn Saloon and its decor was very saloon-ish.

They have live entertainment and the night we were there, a two-man band with an East Coast sound really got our toes tapping. The menu served up classic pub food with special items such as elk and bison.  I was leaning towards the bison but chose the steak and it was a great choice. Juicy and tender.  The sambuca shots were pretty good too.

The Powderhorn Saloon, a western style bar with live music.

A few shots of Black Sambuca to celebrate Canada Day!

Considering the thumbnail size of Bragg Creek I was astonished at how many good restaurants were available.  For Sunday brunch we decided on a restaurant called Infusion which served contemporary cusine.  Definitely take the patio if you go there, the mountain air revs the appetite.  I chose an omelette stuffed with salmon and mascarpone cheese and my friend had a seafood crepe, filled with red snapper, shrimp, salmon, lobster and scallops, which she described as fresh and flavourful.

Home fries came with each dish and seriously, I could have eaten a plate of those on their own!  We also dined at the Bavarian Inn.  The food was in a word, delicious and their wine list was extensive.  Is it any wonder that I gained 5 lbs over the weekend!

Infusion’s Seafood Crepe with Home fries and fresh fruit cocktail.

At the Bavarian, we chose a 2009 Luigi Bosca Malbec with a rich wonderful body,  I loved the colour as much as the taste and it went great with veal.

  
Bavarian Inn: Homemade apple streudle

One of the highlights of this trip was horseback riding.  I love horses and used to ride a lot…when I was 12.

Now… I was trepidatious, no scared shitless! about crawling on the back of a horse.  It had been years since I had ridden and I could now only picture myself on the ground with a broken limb, but my friend, Katherine, is a superb rider and I felt confident in her horsemanship.  So off we went to a local area that is known for its trails that wend through meadows, trees and well-just awesome scenery.

The drive to our trails, note the mountains ahead.

Meadow checking me out.

Katherine and Ted unloaded the horses while I tried hard not to have to breath in a paper bag.  I had on my favourite cowboy boots and a borrowed cowboy hat and a western shirt so I could at least look the part of horsewoman.

Meadow and myself.

Then came the time to mount up.  I forgot how much effort is required to swing ones leg way the hell up and over the back of a horse. Once I was planted firmly in the saddle we started off on our little adventure.  Meadow and I  followed Katherine and Strider.   First we headed off down through the ditch and across the road into the trees.  Things were going well.  I was starting to relax.  I heard rushing water but didn’t think too much of it until I saw a small river ahead of us.  I was looking around for a bridge when I noticed  Katherine guiding Strider through the rushing water.

“Ummm. Ok, I’m not too sure about this,” I told her with a bit of a worried chuckle.  But Meadow was unconcerned as she picked her way across the rocks in the water.  Safely on the other side we continued along the path through the trees into a clearing.  Wildflowers were blooming and it was a beautiful day, sunny and warm.

Katherine commented that it would be best if we stuck to the well travelled paths.  She explained that since I was a novice rider, we didn’t want any wildlife jumping out and startling the animals.

“Uhh ok, wildlife like rabbits?”

“No, like bears but don’t worry I am keeping my eyes peeled for any signs.”

“Sure, okay…”  I was perfecting that nervous chuckle by this point.  She reassured me that we would be fine.

We strode up and down hills edged by birch trees and trailing vines.  I was getting the hang of things.  A true horsewoman.  I imagined I was an early settler mapping out new terrain through dense wilderness…although this trail was starting to get muddy.  Small rivulets were running across our path forming small puddles which were becoming larger puddles.

I watched ahead as Strider splashed through them.  Meadow had other ideas which she wasn’t sharing with me.

She jumped them!  Heehaw yikes!!

I’m sure she looked amazingly graceful.  I did not.  My hat flew off and my boots came out of the stirrups, as I bounced a foot off the saddle.  The fact that I landed back in the saddle is nothing short of a miracle.  Katherine quickly came to my aid and retrieved my hat.

“Oops, I forgot to mention that Meadow likes to jump puddles,” Katherine said, giving me one of her biggest smiles.  Then, noting my terror stricken face, she reassured me that we would walk around them for the remainder of the trip.

Apparently, Meadow would get nervous if she couldn’t see the bottom of the puddle but she was ok with tromping through mud.  After that, I watched Katherine and Strider closely and made sure that Meadow followed behind, retracing their steps.  We had to take little detours through trees. I was fine with that as long as we didn’t have to jump anything.  Of course, our luck ran out as we approached a foot-wide gully that stretched across the road.  Katherine skilfully guided Strider across and then turned to wait for me.  Meadow couldn’t contain her glee at the anticipation of jumping that gully.  That’s it- rather than fall off, I hopped down and let her jump it.  And she did with such grace and style that I almost regretted getting off.  After some effort I was back in the saddle and thrilled that we were climbing a hill which meant, YAY no more puddles.  At last we rounded a corner and were back at the river we had previously crossed. No more worries.  We made it back to camp where Ted had a tasty BBQ dinner waiting for us.  We unsaddled the horses and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

What a great day.  What a great weekend.  A big Thank You to Ted and Katherine for their wonderful hospitality and for her patience on the trail.  Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway) I won’t be joining an Equestrian team anytime soon.

Happy Mother’s Day

Today I was brunched.  I love a brunch!  Not for the food- but for the laughter!  Especially when I am accompanied by my grown children and growing grandkids.  It reminds me that they turned out ok, in spite of my mothering skills.

I was a mother at 17 (shotgun wedding at 16) and really grew up with my kids.  The marriage dissolved after 10 years- I give it an A for effort.  Young love is not always the love.  I became a divorce/single parent statistic; I raised my two kids in a bright blue, 3-bedroom, rented townhouse.  My son played soccer instead of hockey since cleats were cheaper than skates and hockey padding.  Once old enough to babysit, my daughter would buy many of her own clothes.

Being a young mother meant I had a tons of energy.  I was able to take them to soccer and basketball games and manage my daughter’s baseball team.  I had also gone back to school to study Biological Sciences and often, with the kids tucked away in their beds, spent late hours at the kitchen table to complete assignments.  If this makes me sound like some kind of saint, let me tell you I was far from it.  Those were some of my darkest times.  I struggled with my own identity and I was not always there for them.  I’m chagrined.  Looking back, I see that I raised them while wrestling with my own inner demons- challenged by an emotionally weak period of my life.

I was super surprised to become an OMA for the first time at the age of 35 (Oma sounded younger to me and I wasn’t ready for the grandma label at that age) and I often got mistaken for their mother.  I volunteered for a field trip at my granddaughter’s school when she was about seven.  I started to get odd looks from the other school children when, finally, a little boy come up to me.  He asked me if I was a grandma; I nodded that I was, he ran back to his mates and yelled, “she really is a grandma!”  My granddaughter explained, that since most of her classmate’s mothers were my age or older, none of the kids would believe her, so, she bet them all a dollar that I was indeed, her grandma.  (yes-a lesson ensued)

Just last weekend I attended that same granddaughter’s high school graduation.

I am so thrilled and relieved that, in spite of all the craziness back then, my children turned out to be responsible adults raising families of their own.

And yet…I still remember the smell…of their hair…as they sat on my lap.

Happy Mother’s Day!!