Day 206-211 – My Vacation (part two)

Day 206 – I only had one full day at home before going on our first full-fledged family camping trip and the most beautiful moment (or should I say momentS) of my day was/were one(s) that show how good of a team Stewart and I can make.  Things were in order.  The meal “plan” was made.  The groceries were bought.  The kids were happy.  Usually the day before a holiday is filled with anxiety, chaos and frustration… at least for me.  But there was very little of that this time.

Day 207 – Letting go.  This is not something I do easily.

Day 208 – It was a fairly rainy and icky day, so we decided to get in the car and go for an explore.  Stewart stumbled on The Chippery, a chip wagon in Rideau Ferry.  Other than Stewart’s pancakes, there’s not much that my kids like more than french fries.  Boy were they happy with this place.  The chips were hot, fresh and soooooo tasty.  And I even got to try deep-fried pickles for the first time… also lovely.  I was a greasy, happy, full girl.

Day 209 – Clouds… also equally beautiful is taking the time to gaze at them.

Day 210 – Sunset at Murphy’s Point

Day 211 – We put away most of our camping gear today, which was kind of sad.  I don’t expect we’ll have a chance to camp again before the end of the summer.  However, I was surprised by something new.  Instead of feeling bummed out, there was a kernel of anticipation for the next trip.  Just a tiny glimmer of excitement deep down.  Where I normally feel a hole was replaced with hope.  A vast improvement I would say.

Day 202-205 – My Vacation (Part 1)

Day 202 – Being plan-less and clock-less is enough to drive me insane.  I try to know where my iPhone is at all times so I can instantly access information that will keep me on track, focussed and on deadline.  It makes me feel safe.

But there’s something about being on holiday that changes all of that.  Other than making sure I was on the right flight at the right time, I barely looked at my watch.  I didn’t care where I went.  I wasn’t bothered by what I saw or didn’t see.  I went where the Manitoba breeze (or lack thereof) took me.  It was great.  Nobody depending on me.  No one to answer to.  No commitments.  Proper ME time.  Bliss.


Day 203 – Have you ever been to a restaurant and had a meal so good that you remember is vividly years later?  Almost like you can taste it?  The Mondragon in Winnipeg is that place for me.  So needless to say I was keen on going back there after a four year hiatus.  I was pleased to notice that not much had changed.   It still had the same quirky, mismatched decor.  The menus were still printed on recycled paper.  The menu items themselves hadn’t changed much, but they did expand their book/bulk foods/fresh foods section which looked amazing.

I ate there twice while at the Winnipeg Fringe.  The veggie burger (packed with flavour) and Twister wrap (with beautifully seasoned tofu) were just as amazing as I remembered.  Super fresh.  Great service.  Excellent value for money. 


Day 204 – One of the perks of going to a Fringe Festival is that there’s so much going on and you have a huge selection of plays to choose from.  I was only there for 2.5 days (plus travel time) so it was difficult for me to plan what I was going to see, which left me wide open.  I had many dates with (my now even better friend than before) Cat who had heard lots of buzz about shows having arrived at the festival much earlier than me.  She suggested we check out The Bike Trip, because she’d heard good things about it.  I knew absolutely nothing going into it.  Not the performing company.  Not the running time.  Not the genre.  Nothing. 

It was a trip all right.  Martin Dockery has got a performance style all his own, with rapid fire delivery combined with crystal clear storytelling skills and an organic, simple-yet-effective, way of inhabiting the stage space.  The show is a series of short monologue recounting important moments in his experimentation with LSD.  There are no frat-boy or adolescent “easy” jokes here, but more an honest and often hilarious series of observations on the human mind’s dance with drugs and how it can bring enlightenment in ways you least expect.    I thoroughly enjoyed my trip… and I didn’t have to destroy any brain cells in the process!


Day 205 – For those of you who have never toured the Fringe circuit, I’d like to introduce you to the Fringe Family Phenomenon.  If you wish to truly turn your show into a tour, the Fringe Festivals in Canada are (for the most part) schedule so you can go across the country from June to September.  One version of it could include Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver.  You’re on the road for 5 months and even though you’re moving from Fringe to Fringe, it’s like starting anew in each city.  What works for an Ontario audience might not read in the Prairies.  You can get 4 stars reviews in one place and 2 star reviews the next.  There’s all of the media calls, postering, flyering, publicising, re-rehearsing… it goes on and on.  But there’s one constant – Your Fringe Family.  Touring artists have a way of becoming really close.  They give you a shoulder to cry on when your van gets broken into in Winnipeg.  They buy you a drink when you forget your wallet at home.  They do brunch, go to movies, promo your show, come see your performance at your crappy timeslot.  These people become your sisters, your brothers, your collaborators and, in some cases, your lovers or best friends. 

I had the pleasure of touring from 2003-2006 in various capacities.  It was always with known companies which meant they had a built-in Fringe Family.  They wouldn’t see each other or even send an email for the other 7 months of the year, but once the tour started it’s like it had never ended. 

I was a bit nervous to come to Winnipeg because I felt that my Fringe Family was gone.  Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  I was looking forward to some alone time.  But I wasn’t looking forward to that “Hey super-cool person I had martinis with all of the time four summers ago, remember me? No?  Ok.  That’s cool.  … walk away crying” moment. 

As it turns out, I was worrying for nothing.  Every single person I saw from my past Fringe Family greeted me with open arms.  Some even carried on our conversation from where we left off.  Many assumed I had a show in the Festival and wanted to see it.  Others were just tickled at my surprise appearance.  Even at my favourite local haunt, the King’s Head’s bartender recognised me and threw his arms around me like I was his long lost daughter.  It was amazing to feel so connected to that again. 

The only problem with it all though is that the Fringe Family Phenomenon is a fantasy (and also a serious alliteration I’ve just realised).  It feels very real in the moment, but it’s not actually real.  If you’d move all of us into the same town, we might find each other terribly boring/obnoxious/exhausting/etcetcetc,  Very few Fringe friends truly translate into future project collaborators or year-long friends.  Very few Fringe romances look so idyllic when all is said and done.  The 9-5 grind comes back into the play.  The bills still have to be paid.  And everyone looks drabber in the fall and winter months without the summer flush and glow. 

But still, I got to feel it again… The Fringe Family Love.  So to all of my friends from Vancouver, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto, Australia, England, Winnipeg and Seattle, thank you for taking such good care of me and making me feel like I was home.  I will miss you.

Day 201 – SHOES!

I don’t normally have the patience to look through the Salvation Army, even though I love a bargain. Especially when they are for beautiful shoes. I just lucked out on this one trip. They were just staring at me and I had to have them.

Nude strappy high heels for me. (8$)

Black patent leather Capezio tap shows for one of my babies. (6$) — premature, I know, but I couldn’t help it. They look brand new.

Day 198-200 – With Age Comes…

Day 198 – FLAB

I did a 20 minute workout, and it just about killed me.  But I’m choosing to look at this as a good thing.  When you’re young you take lots of things for granted, particularly being naturally lean and fit.  But now I’m not fit.  Some of that has to do with my gorgeous children.  Some of that can be blamed on enjoying chocolate and sweets to the point of addiction.  No matter what the cause, acknowledging that I’m not fit is a beautiful thing.  It makes life seem more immediate, more worth living.  It gives me motivation to be healthier so I can enjoy my kids and my chocolate (in moderation) for much, much longer.

Day 199 – CALM

I’ve had chronic dislocation of the patella since I was 16 and my knee popped out while doing “swinging of the leg”, one of my favorite step dancing moves.   Luckily, I’ve never required surgery and could get by with physiotherapy.  I haven’t had to worry much about my condition since I’ve stopped dancing too, because I’m no longer putting the same strain on my knees.  That is, until today.

One second I was standing near a bookcase and the next I was on the floor, all from simply turning around.   Good fortune was mine as I landed comfortably on a couch cushion that was left behind from a toddler adventure.   And I didn’t panic.  Even with two tiny children near me who just wanted to jump on me to hug me better.   When I was a teen, just the the stress of having the injury made it worse.  So I think I did myself a favor by not freaking out.  It’s bad, but not as bad as it could have been.


When I was watching TV with AJ, I heard the greatest answer to a simple question.  A bunch of young kids were asked “If you could be any age right now, how old would you be?”  My favorite answer was (and I quote roughly):  “I want to be 10 years old, because I could do things that big people do but still be a kid.”

I realised that even though I’m 30 that answer still totally applies to me.  Being 30 is great.  I get the respect from others because of my adult wisdom and responsible behavior, but I can still act like a kid because a) I’ve got two of them to kid around with and b) I work in a field where “play” is vital to its success.  I’ve got it pretty good.

Day 196 – I’m Yours (kid-style)

I spent a lot of time on Day 195’s beautiful thing yesterday and I rediscovered videos of this amazingly talented kid playing the ukulele.  You might have already seen him because some of his videos have gone viral.  Still, he is worth watching over and over again.  What he does is art in some of its purest form.  He’s naturally talented and he genuinely seems to love what he does, which in turn makes us the audience go right along with him.

I dare you not to smile.

Day 194 – Christmas in July

Our family helps out with testing toys for an amazing site. It’s a pretty fabulous deal. Our kids get to test out a load of toys (we’ve had anywhere from 1 to 15 in our possession at any given time). We get to share our opinions. They get posted on the website, which then helps parents/guardians make informed choices based on a toy’s value, safety and playability. Finally, all of the toys get donated to charity at the end of the testing period. And for a family like ours, who really shouldn’t be spending a lot of money on expensive toys (especially if we’re not sure our kids will like them), it’s a great way for the little ladies to have special presents.

I haven’t picked up any toys to test for a long time because of how busy we’ve been, but it makes me so happy to be able to give this experience to my kids. Plus the only payment I have to make is with my time.

Day 191-192 – Planned Spontaneity

Day 191 – My husband and I have finally planned a mini-holiday to Murphy’s Point Provincial Park. We’ve never been there, but it’s only 1.5 hours away and it looks beautiful, so it seems like a good option. The kids have never been camping before, so we decided to break out the new tent (a.k.a. three chamber monstrosity with room dividers included!) Luckily, it didn’t take long to get the tent up because Stewart and I have this thing down to a science… and he only yelled at me once!

The girls fell asleep super late, but it was just so fantastic to sit in the backyard and listen to them talk to each other from across the tent. AJ was checking up on B. B was singing to herself. All in all, it was a successful tryout. Now we’ll have to wait and see how the four-day, three night trip goes.

Day 192 – One of my best and longest friends and I planned ages ago to play hooky from work (hers more than mine) and spend the day together. A few hiccups prevented us from starting earlier than lunchtime, but still. We ate at Ahora’s (mmmmmmmmm) and then walked through the market wondering what to do. I suggested we walk down by the locks. I have a fascination with this amazing and efficient man-made structure. We eventually decided to do the cheesiest activity possible and paid a ridiculous amount of money to go on one of the Rideau River boat tours. The tour guide’s voice blaring over the loudspeaker was a bit much, but it was still exactly what the doctor ordered. Totally relaxing. A beautiful day with a beautiful lady.