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Avatar Art by Kid-kid

I keep a wipe off marker board with four markers and an eraser in the car.  It helps keep the girl busy when she’s tired of being cooped up.  It’s got a number of slide in sheets that can give it a different look, and allows her to switch out the background whenever she likes.  The sheets have things like lines for practicing her writing, tic tac toe graphs, blank open space, grids…  and she can flip them out and around all on her own.  It’s a perfect thing for in the back seat.  I love it!

Today we were in the car for a total of about twenty minutes.  We had to get groceries and then stopped for slurpees at the co-op convenience store on the way home.  During this time she did four different drawings, and asked me to share them.  They are all of different members of “Team Avatar”.  And for those of you who are fans of The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, you should have no trouble at all identifying each character.  She still has a couple she’d like to add, but here are her creations thus far:

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I love all the detail she put into the Cabbage Merchant…  she even passed the board up to me in the front seat so I could add text into her speech bubble.  It says “My Cabbages!!”

Sometimes totally uncool things happen to generally cool people.

Well…  we did it.  Yep.  Never, ever thought this would be me.  If you’d ever asked me if one day I’d be one of those people, I’d have denied it with much fervour.  Yet here we are.

I’m doing my best to convince myself that while it wasn’t what we WANTED it is what we NEEDED.  It makes sense.  It was the logical choice.  We may not like it, but it was the only choice.

It’s just that it’s SOOOO not cool.  Not even remotely cool.

I try not to think about it.  However I can’t help but look at it with a little disgust…  It’s not us, yet here we are…  the, embarrassed to admit it, owners of a station wagon.

I hang my head in shame, but there is no denying it.  When SGI paid us out on Friday, we already knew it was likely what would happen.  And by noon today we were test driving a 2003 Ford Taurus SE Wagon.

The beast drives really well.  It’s nice and smooth…  and you can ALMOST forget about the fact that it’s butt end is so darn ugly while you’re inside it.  Almost.

At it’s most basic, it’s the same vehicle we had before.  The Ford Taurus and the Mercury Sable really are one and the same in almost all respects, and it’s even silver – the same colour our Sable was.  Which has already caused a few giggles from friends and family.  But when they realize it’s a wagon, they all say the same thing:  (awkward pause, often with a foot shuffle or a shrug of the shoulders)  “They aren’t THAT bad.”

It really is though…  THAT bad.

the butt end of our "new to us" station wagon

But here we are.  Whether or not I LIKE it, it is what makes sense for us.  Basically the same vehicle we had before (six years newer) and with a WHOLE lot more cargo room.  Now, if kid-kid wants to start coming with my sister and I to dog shows, we have the space to bring her along.  Now if we want to go camping or head out to wherever we feel like going, we have room to pack up all the dogs and just go.  Now we won’t be stuck at home all year round because we can’t leave all the dogs and have no way to take them with us.  I may not like a wagon, I may not have wanted a wagon, but a wagon makes sense for us.  So I’m going to learn to like a wagon.

Maybe it’s not so bad?

the beast, viewed from the front

What a day…

My motto, based entirely on the fact that I seem to say it an awful lot, is “there are worse things in life.”  And our experiences today definitely fall into the category of my being grateful simply because things could easily have been worse.  LOL

Today, Jewles (my little sister), Ned (the champion chihuahua), and I, headed out for the Shamrock Kennel and Obedience Club Dog Show in Yorkton.  It’s  a three or three and a half hour drive depending on traffic and the like.  We got onto the highway uneventfully at about five.  We are now settled into our hotel room at almost eleven.  So, obviously, things didn’t go exactly as planned.

Here is proof that we are safe and sound…

Ned and Me... in our hotel room

Ned and me... see? We're A-okay!

Anyway… a few things went wrong (including our hotel having to move us from the room we are in now to a different room tomorrow WHILE we are at the dog show tomorrow)…  but the biggest one was the tire blowing.

We were driving along, thankfully only about 1/2 hour outside of Yorkton when it happened, and the car suddenly pulled to the left.  I kept it under control.  Smelled burning rubber, and knew we blew a tire.  With the sudden difficulties and the smell there was nothing else it could be.  Even though it had never happened to me before, I knew what was going on.

I got us onto the shoulder – thankfully it was a nice wide safe shoulder.  Sent my husband a message on BlackBerry Messenger.  And emptied our stuff out of the trunk to give us access to the spare.  Years ago I learned how to change one…  but it’s been a LOT of years.  I simply didn’t feel up to the task, so hoped desperately someone would stop.

We were helped by a WONDERFUL couple traveling from Thunder Bay to  (I think) Fort McMurry.  I’m totally having a brain fart here though…  I think they said Fort McMurry, but I wouldn’t bank on that.  LOL  Anyway…  They had been driving for a few days straight.  Today they’d covered part of Ontario, all of Manitoba, and part of Saskatchewan…  They had passed us going the other way, turned their vehicle around, and came to our rescue.  Truly wonderful folks.  I had asked for their new address (they’re moving to Alberta) to send them something to say thank you… but they insisted that they didn’t need a thing, and were just so happy  they could be there when we needed them.  Like I said, really wonderful people.   I wished them safe travels, and hope their future is full of folks as generous and good natured as they are.  🙂

So, we got on our way…  moving a lot slower seeing how there’s a doughnut on our car vs. a real tire.  LOL  But we got here just the same.

Will share more of our adventure tomorrow.  Hopefully nothing nearly as exciting happens.  LMAO  On the road anyway.  Exciting things AT the show would be more than welcome.  😉

Night all.

Closer than I appear.

Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear.

Closer than I appear.

I sometimes wonder if everything we do is worth it.  Living an ordinary life would be so much simpler.  I’ve done a lot of things, worn a lot of hats, played a lot of roles…  not all fit, but I could see how a person could be happy living within a box more simply defined.  One label.  One job.  One purpose.  A complex life is just that, complex.  It’s rarely easy.  And I do, from time to time, wonder if all the extra effort is really worth it.  It would be so much more simple, so much easier, to be ordinary.

I think we all get tired at times.  I know I’ve taken on a lot of important roles.  I’ve also moved past some important roles that I wish I could have held onto…  but we evolve.  We change.  And some hats we once wore so well end up not fitting us as well as the decades pull us onwards.

So…  no real point to make today.  LOL  Just kinda rambling on…  rambling through this road trip we call life.  🙂  Thinking about the interesting pit stops we’ve hit so far, and wondering where we’ll find ourselves tomorrow.

I’m feeling a bit like I’m at a crossroad.  Time to do some evaluating.  I think I may have a hat or two in my closet that just aren’t all together me any more.  Might be time to do a little late spring cleaning.  Wonder if there is anything here worth shipping off to Sally Ann.  😉

Take care of each other.

Onwards and Upwards

This month has ended up on the record books (at least for us) as completely chaotic.  Nana passed on very early in the month.  Her death prompted an emergency trip to Calgary.  For those not familiar with Canadian geography, that’s roughly seven hours from us here in Saskatoon (by car).  Because of our animals, we don’t take many trips.  It’s hard to orchestrate things…  finding families each willing to take in someone while we’re gone is tough.  But when push comes to shove, in emergency situations like this, friends are always there to help.

So before anything else, a huge thank you to: Susan and Ray who watched Roo (Chihuahua) and Zenora (Congo African Grey), Dani and her boys who watched Brandibuck (Havanese) and ended up picking up Neddie (Chihuahua) from the airport and watching him for a day too, Amber, Mike and Ainsley who took care of Thora (Lurcher), and my parents who let Liz (Miniature American Eskimo) tear through their house.  Without your help we would not have had the chance to go and gain the closure we so needed.  THANK YOU ALL!

We left Saskatoon on a Sunday, with plans to return home on Thursday (the day after the funeral).  During our planned stay we spent an afternoon at the Calgary Zoo.  Lily-Ann and I are both animal nuts (and Damon loves us so grins, shrugs his shoulders, and humors us), and the zoo in Calgary has a vast array of exotics we  don’t see at the Forestry Farm Zoo in Saskatoon.  So we took in the sights, sounds, and smells on the Monday after we first arrived.

River Otter, Swimming

Lily's favourite this trip was the River Otters

The following day (Tuesday) was Nana’s wake.  It was hard.  But it was nice to see family we hadn’t seen in a few years.  Seems it always takes an occasion like this to pull folks together.  It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.  I wasn’t sure how I’d handle things, so thought it was best that Lily-Ann not attend the viewing.  She stayed with our cousins, Sheena and Madison (who, like Damon, are Nana’s grandchildren).  In the end, she probably could have come…

In the morning on Wednesday we took Lily-Ann to visit my Auntie Risa.  It was the day of the funeral, and that wasn’t something we were ready to bring  Lily for.  We were (and are) very grateful that she was able to watch the wee girlie.  It made the day much easier knowing we didn’t have to worry about her.

I’m not big on funerals.  For some, they can be very cathartic.  For me… well…  they are a mixed bag of emotions, and most are not positive.  I would be much happier with just a group of folks who loved the deceased getting together to share stories.  That, for me, is where the catharsis is found.  That said, Nana’s funeral was lovely.  It was presided over by a pastor who knew Nana very well, and who loved her.  It was personal, and exactly what Nana would have wanted.  It was beautiful, and I am grateful to her pastor and her church for that.

Later in the day, everyone gathered at Debbie and Brian’s home (Debbie is Nana’s only surviving daughter).  It was a wonderful time.  Grief was the order for quite some time… but as stories and memories were shared smiles glowed all around us.  And late into the night we found ourselves enjoying being with one another, and even found ourselves laughing full heartedly as Debbie attempted to sing an incredible (and hilarious) rendition of “Back in Black”.  There was a lot of love in that room.

the whole family gathered around to play Rock Band

"Back in Black" with the whole clan

The next day we set out for home, after many hugs and sad goodbyes.  Most everyone from out of town was hitting the road at some point.  Seemed we were in the middle.  Many had already left, but a few stragglers remained when we loaded into our car and headed onto the highway.

However…  Our trip home was not to be.

About 45 minutes outside of Strathmore there is a stop sign on the highway.  You can turn right to head to Drumheller, or continue straight to Three Hills.  We did neither.  Our car stopped normally, but there it stayed as smoke billowed forth.  Believe it or not, we remained on that stretch of highway for almost twelve hours before being towed back to Strathmore, and then picked up by Debbie who took us back into Calgary.

stranded at the side of the highway

Following Daddy

The next week was a series of highs and lows.  Ordering part after part, having less and less confidence in the mechanics who held us hostage… but having no choices but to just keep waiting.  I packed our bags FOUR times during that week, each time expecting to be going home, only to find out from the mechanics that one more thing had gone wrong, and one more thing was keeping us from our trip home.

We are so grateful to all our friends and family who watched over our animal family members during our extended stay.  And to Debbie and Brian who played host for so much longer than they’d initially signed on for.  And to Auntie Risa who came by one afternoon to allow us to escape, at least for a little while.  And to Damon’s mom who loaned us the money we needed for the repairs.  And to David and his family who tried to help us fix the car before we finally gave up and called for a tow.  So many people came to our aid – including strangers that day as we sat in the ditch.  The semi driver who spent over an hour with us under the hood.  The families who offered us a ride back into town.  The fellow who gave us a car charger for our cell phones when they had died.  The woman who stopped and offered us water (and beer).  It was a horrible experience, but was a wonderful reminder about the kindness of strangers.  And that was something I needed.

Being involved  in politics you often see nothing but the negative.  So much back biting, ignorance, and just a failure to listen to anyone but “yes men”.  It can burn a person out.  I’m involved in the “game political” to give a voice to regular people…  as it’s been too long that we have been ignored.  I refuse to let the game get to me, and I refuse to stop listening, to stop  learning.  But it can get to you.  So it was nice to be reminded WHY I’m involved.  It’s for all the people, like us, who stop to help when they see someone in trouble.  All of you deserve to be heard.  THANK YOU!

So, we’re back home.  Thankful to be back home.  Grateful to be back home.  It’s been a long couple of weeks.  We’re exhausted.  But we’ll recover.  😉  And I’ll be back at it, working to make things better.  And my project 365  blog will be back to its old self in June.  See you then.

Eliana, mugging it up for the camera.

Lily-Ann and Madison playing

Nana's Great Grandchildren

Exhausted, sleeping at the table.

an almost nekkid baby

Making Pizza with Mommy

Wee girlie enjoying her pizza.

At the park with Auntie Risa and Kahlid.

Damon pushing Lily-Ann and Khalid.

Sheena, Madison, and Lily-Ann.

Hiding

Sooo…  to avoid boredom breakdowns in the car, we often use our imaginations to play little games.  Lately, the wee girlie has been having us be a bird family.  With her the baby bird, Damon as daddy bird, and me…  yep…  as mommy bird.  So that part isn’t so imaginative.  😉  The cutest part is that she wraps herself up in a blanket and calls it her nest.  Today though, the baby bird didn’t just sit in it’s nest – it decided to become a part of the nest.  So here’s our little baby bird, or, here isn’t our little baby bird.  😀

baby bird (little girl) in her nest (blanket).

"you can't see me!"

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