Wordless Wednesday – Texas wanderings









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Airplane tetris

The days leading up to my recent trip to Dallas were busy for me at home, but my excitement was building.  The frequency of emails between my girlfriends kept increasing, which contributed greatly to my anticipation. We must have exchanged about sixty-five emails the day before we left, covering a multitude of topics including; logistics, our fabulous plans, what we were bringing, and packing.

Packing was a big topic, but it wasn’t what to pack, it was how to pack.  Airlines have become more stringent in the last little while, so checking even one bag now costs real money and there are pretty clear regulations about what you are allowed to carry on a plane.  I know this, because it is printed on the documents that were emailed to me when I booked my ticket, it was on the email that was sent to me when I checked in online, and it is easily available on the airline’s website. Given that we are all rule followers, we knew that we would each need to check a bag. We were all carrying our cameras and associated gear, laptops, and tablets, which left little room for the clothes that we would need for a week away. These valuables are all items items that we would never dream of checking, but that the airlines also specifically tell you not to check, so we ensured that our carry-ons followed the rules in terms of size and number.

When we arrived at our gate on tuesday, we were surprised to see the number of travellers whose carry-on baggage clearly exceeded the allowances for both size and number.  The three of us talked about how it was unfair to those of us who followed the rules, and how we not-so-secretly hoped that they would be asked to jam their bag into the contraption that ensures they are regulation, and that offenders would be forced to check their bags.  To our amazement, a number were asked, and some of the large bags, after their owners tried to twist and turn them to make them fit, were removed and stowed with the checked baggage.

Still, each time a flight was called, people started jockeying for position, trying to inch themselves and their bags into the closest available space that would get them on to the plane sooner. They shuffled together and moved in rows as they were called to board. Space on planes is limited and the airlines are trying their best to add more seats without changing the physical size, meaning the we all have less place to stow our bags. I think that the new fees are forcing people to try and carry more and more onto planes.  I had to fight for space in the overhead bins on all four of my flights, despite the fact that I was only trying to stow a small camera bag. People struggled to jam their just small enough bags into the overhead, twisting and turning them like puzzle pieces, some fitting, some being removed and “checked” for the traveller.

While I first secretly cheered as bags were removed, a comment made by one of my girlfriends as we were boarding our last flight made me stop. I think that these are the actual winners in this game. They are momentarily inconvenienced, but none seemed to fight the decree that their bag was too large. It was still travelling with them, and they had now saved themselves the fee, for one flight at least.




A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my selfish behaviour surrounding my husband’s upcoming surgery.  What I neglected to include in that post (after two lil people, you just forget to say things sometimes), was that the surgery has been scheduled for about six weeks later, in early May. It was a date that Willy could live with, a date that assuaged my guilt a little.  It was also a date that let us think about heading out of town for a very short, adults only trip to Chicago for Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour event in early May, a trip that might not have been possible had he had the surgery been this week.

If we could pull it together, this trip would be the first time that we have left the lils for a fun, just us trip. Sure, we have left them with my siblings on two other occasions, but neither of those trips were for fun at all.  So we started to look at dates and costs, to talk about how long we could go and what we could do and see.  We started to dream. Making those plans concrete was the first item on my list for this week, seeing as it is the first time that Willy and I will be in the same country for more than a couple of days in a row this month.

Just before I left to walk the lils to school this AM, I saw a post-it on the table with Woo’s dental surgeon’s name and a phone number written on it.  One of his molars never descended, so he needs to have it extracted before it messes up his jaw and adult teeth.  It has started to bother him lately, so we are all looking forward to having the surgery (and recovery) behind us.  We were told to expect a call the week before the surgery, so I figured I would be getting pre-op instructions in the call. I called them back and was surprised to hear that the surgery had been moved to May 3rd, a full month later than planned.

I could hear the air go out of that Chicago balloon when I realized that the May 3rd was the date that we were to leave for Chicago.  Selfish me half-heartedly asked if there was a date the following week that he could have instead, even though I knew I would not make him wait even longer if there was a date available.  She let me know that it could be months if we waited, so I confirmed the date and let Willy know that we wouldn’t be going to Chicago this time.  Then it dawned on me.  Woo’s surgery is on the third.  Willy’s surgery is on the sixth.  That week is going to be all kinds of fun… Well played karma, that one selfish moment is going to come back to bite me.

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Out of control

You expect that things will change when you move away from home for a year, or at least your perception of certain things will change. Squirrels were one thing that we did not see a lot if in India, most likely because the snakes and eagles would get them. I barely even noticed that they were missing, other than to once note their absence.

When we left for India, we left behind some pretty low-key squirrels.

They were of no bother to us, so for the most part we coexisted in blissful ignorance of each other. We have noisy small people, so they quite often make themselves scarce when we are out and about. Then we left.

The yard that we came home to was vastly different. The little buggers had had gotten bigger, fatter, and had taken over. They have eaten through our garbage can lid; have eaten the lid off of our green bin; have ripped all the padding out of the cover to the barbeque, putting many large holes in it along the way; and they have eaten the plastic knob off the igniter button on the ‘que!





I am pretty sure that they are the large animals that knock over the green bin every time that I turn around. There are way more of them taking over the yard and they have attitude.

It used to be that I could just knock on the window and they would scamper with their busy tails tucked firmly between their legs. Now the tails are mangy and thin, and they just look at me as I knock, then open the door, step outside, yell at them to stop destroying our stuff. Lately, the looks have been filed with disdain, and the only thing that gets them off the patio is me throwing a snow shovel at them. I don’t know what I am going to do when the snow melts… Sling shots are out of the question, right?



Wordless wednesday – looking into stranger’s backyards (in Texas!)

Waiting for play




Pots for sale

Spare parts

The Chair EE tree!




Willy has been anxiously awaiting the call from his doctor to let him know the date for his ear surgery. His excitement was tempered a little when a January call to the doctor resulted in him being told that he could expect to be notified of the date sometime in the next three to nine months! So he waited and hoped it would come sooner. I know that it is something he thinks of often, and not just when we both get frustrated when he can’t hear what I say, but also when he tries to plan for family and work during the recovery period.

I was excited to get a call from his doctor’s office when he was in India, excited until they told me the date of his surgery. It was proposed for this coming Monday, March 18th. Willy would be in town, and likely ecstatic to hear that it was so soon, my heart sank. I was planning on going to Dallas on the 19th, a trip with two friends that I have been planning for 6 months, and really, really looking forward to. I debated not telling him that they had called at all, but I knew that I could not do that to him, so I offered to stay home, even though it was really, really hard.

His immediate reaction was that I had to keep my plans, so we started to strategize how we could make it happen. Willy has already had this surgery done on one ear, so we know that the first week consists of him “recovering” in bed. He can’t really move around too much, and can’t lift anything over ten pounds. Asking either of our mothers to care for three children (one of whom is essentially helpless) seemed like too much.

The truth is, after Willy told me that he still wanted me to go to Dallas, my heart really wasn’t into our discussions about how to make it work if I still went. I had offered to stay behind, but I really wanted him to turn me down. We talked about having someone help, but I might have oversold how much work he was post-surgery last time (he did sleep eighteen hours a day for a week, after all). When we looked into ways that I could leave a bit later for my trip, my heart wasn’t anywhere near committed to that option. I want this trip, this adventure, and I don’t want to give it up. It’s selfish and I feel guilty, but not guilty enough…



Wordless Wednesday – turning six

Batman and his cake

Wearing a party dress

Cake time!

Star Wars books!

New star wars lego

The finished product

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Counting with two hands

Dear Woo

Today you are SIX, or as your Auntie pointed out to you; you now need two hands to show us your age! I am amazed that we are here already, as it seems like just yesterday that you we’re born. Yet here we are.

This last year has brought with it more change, new experiences, and challenges, and you continued to amaze us with how maturely you embraced them all. You really want to live life to the fullest, and want to make sure that you understand it along the way. I am in awe of your dedication to knowledge, and fully immersing yourself into new things. It challenges us to do the same, learning along with you.

Your two great passions this year have been sports and reading. It has been so fun to watch you join a formal hockey team, and start to learn the basics of playing on a team. I love that you have fully embraced the team as part of this experience; making sure all of your teammates are included, cheering from the bench and the ice, high fives when anyone scores, and stopping to make sure a player is ok when he falls, regardless of whether he is on your team or not. You also have become quite the avid Sens fan, and I so enjoy watching them play with you.

When you aren’t playing and having fun, you often have your head buried in a book. You read every chance you get, even at the dinner table or long past your bedtime. Where you used to concentrate on non-fiction “fact” books, you have really embraced fiction, and reading for pleasure this year. It is so fun to see you discover the same worlds that I loved as a child, and to find new ones that we explore together.

Woo, you are a loving and kind little boy who is growing up before our eyes. I love to see you explore and learn, play and laugh. I hope that this year brings you more of the same.

Lots of love,

A year of Woo…
Hanging out!

Golfing 101

The family that cruises together


First day of school

Independence day

Pile up!!!!

Right Winger


Hands on!

A little help?


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Wordless wednesday – winter’s last gasp

Winter's last gasp

Winter's last gasp

Winter's last gasp

Winter's last gasp

Winter's last gasp

Winter's last gasp

Winter's last gasp

Winter's last gasp




I am very lucky in that the lils are generally quite well behaved when Willy travels. Sure they get sick most times, but they are very well behaved about it.  I guess that is part of the reason why his most recent trip, to India, has been so difficult.  They have been so difficult, and I have been handling it poorly.

The lils have been fighting, yelling, hitting each other, not listening, and answering me back since Willy left last week.  It’s all behaviour that I see from time to time, but for it to be this intense and prolonged is unusual.  I know that they miss him, but I get frustrated and sometimes I react in ways that I really shouldn’t.  They often figure out ways to work around my overreactions.  As Goose did at dinner last night.

I tend to make “safe” foods when Willy is away, so that I don’t have to fight with one or both about what they aren’t eating.  I was shocked when Woo took great offence to the fried rice that I prepared last night, as it is something that he generally devours.  Instead, he loudly expressed his displeasure for about twenty minutes, until I told him that he had to at least try it before deciding that it was the “grossest food ever”.  He did, and devoured two helpings.

It set the tone for the meal, which included several squabbles where one child had grievously wronged the other.  Finally, I had had enough, and when Goose started to lodge a complaint with “Woo said…”, I didn’t want to hear her out, or want to have them settle it themselves, or have us all move on to something more peaceful, I just wanted silence.  She persisted, despite my attempts to change or close the subject.  Finally, when she started to say “Woo said” just one more time I exasperatedly told her that I didn’t want to hear anything from her that started with “Woo said.”

“Fine!” she said, “I will end with that!” She proceeded to exactly what had offended her so, ending with “… and that is what Woo said.” I was speechless, and a little bit proud.

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