Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hither, Yon.

Well, as Sam Gamgee said, I’m back.

For the last 16 days I was in the untractable wilderness of Southern Ontario – viewing corn farmers in their native habitat.

Also the more common sprawlus urbanissimus.

We had some serious fun in Ontario, mostly staying between London and Toronto, with a one-day frolic to Niagara Falls. My kind father-in-law rented us a car for us to use, and we put 2,000 kilometers on it! Yeah!

We are museum people, so we did quite a lot of that. The Royal Ontario Museum:

Biodiversity (very interactive, kids loved the foxes’ tunnel system)

On-ROM-Biodiv

Dinosaurs (“thank you Mummy, but I have seen quite enough bones”):

On-ROM-Dino

and a King Cobra (“Look scared baby!”)

On-ROM-KingCobra

We loved the “Stairway of Marvels” or whatever they’re calling it – spent quite a bit of time at the toy soldiers:

On-ToySoldiers

and the ROM had the Dead Sea Scrolls while we were there, which was cool if you’re a religious person but otherwise, you can probably give it a miss. Especially if you have young children, because look what will happen to them by the end.

On-DSS-Exit

We spent a couple of days in St Jacob’s, which is amazing and lovely, but has gotten a little commercial since I was last there 13 years ago. The farmers’ market is worth going to, on Thursdays and Saturdays, when the Mennonite farmers bring their quilts, jam, bread, sausages, and all manner of good things to sell. Here is the parking lot:

On-StJac-Buggy

And while in St Jacob’s we visited the Maple Syrup Museum of Ontario – yeah baby!

On-StJac-MSM2

I like this picture, a cross-section of a sugar bush maple, taps clearly visible.

On-StJac-MSM

We saw the Toronto Zoo, where we sat in the underwater viewing area while the polar bears were being fed:

On-ZooPolar 

…and the kids got to ride a camel.

On-CamelRide

The London Children’s Museum was a big hit, especially the “Street Where I Live” exhibit, where kids could put on real firefighter’s gear, carry a Canada Post mailbag, and get a glimpse of the possible drudgery coming their way…if you don’t study hard, kids.

 On-ChildrensMcD    

And we learned about one of Canada’s heroes…the indomitable Laura Secord, venerated here not far from Brock’s Monument.

On-SecordMonument     

There are dozens more pictures, but I’ll spare you.

I did a bunch of knitting while I was there, but can’t show you any of it as it’s all for Christmas (three months from yesterday, if you’re wondering).

How have YOU been?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Verklempt

I’ve just been on Facebook checking on my best friend. I lose track of her because she’s awesome and has better things to do than stay in her house wiping counters and noses and butts and obsessing about wool all day long.

My friend is a wilderness adventure kayak guide. If you’ve been to Antarctica to spend $10,000 on a weekend of camping on a polar ice cap and getting close to Emperor penguins and minke whales, you might have met her. She’d have been the tall blonde amazon who knows everything and can save your life any number of ways.

I’m sure a lot of people have friends like her (well, nobody’s LIKE her), who they met and had adventures with, back in the day. I guess you could say that much of my connection with her is a subconscious desire to be what I was, when we first met.

We were on the UVic women’s rowing team together…though she rowed in a different eight than I did. We used to eat huge amounts of food, laugh until my neighbours complained, and fall asleep while watching movies late at night. We had to get up at 4.45 to get to the boathouse by 5.30, but it didn’t matter because we were amazingly strong and hot and invincible.

Now, I’m tired and harried, stretch marked, and I have quite a bit of grey in my hair.

Whereas my friend, may she live forever (and if anyone could, she would), is this woman.

BethAnne1

And also this one

BA2

Conquering Greenland, if you’re wondering.

Jealous – sure. Self-pitying – yeah, okay. Overwhelmed with gratitude and love, just that she’s still in my life – absolutely.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

She remembers 1967 quite well, thank you.

Mum and I took the kids to a restaurant today for a late lunch. We were drinking our Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre and the girls were colouring their placemats, when “I’m a Believer” came on the radio.

“Hey!” Charlotte said, “This song’s from Shrek!”

“Actually, it’s an old song, babe,” I said, “by a band called ‘The Monkees’…or, am I wrong, was it the Beatles, Mum?”

“Nope, the Monkees.”

Charlotte looked skeptical. “’The Monkees’? ‘The Beatles’? Why would anyone name their bands after monkeys and beetles?”

There was a pause as my mum swirled her red wine, then said, dry and worldly-wise, “You had to be there, kid.”

It was perfect. I laughed my head off.

Poor Charlotte. Wait til she sees my Yard Birds album.