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Things That Make Me Happy

I think we all have enough of ‘have-to’s’ in our life. Let’s take a little peek at some of the lovely things that make life a little more bearable….

(all photos found on yahoo.ca)

Daffodils – the first sign of spring way up here in the Great-White-North.

 

firstsignspringGulpable wine

red-wine-wallpaper

Hot coffee in the morning

coffeemorning

A Shoulder to Lean On…a strong, competent shoulder…

shouldertoleanon

A really good book

gatsby

..and another wonderful book patiently waiting to be read…

bookonbed

Candlelit baths

bathbycandle

Being read poetry while in the bath

NerudaPoem

Kittens and old cats…

kitties

The first ball-game of the season

baseball

…and the first ballpark frank and cold beer…

beerandhotdog

…and the next season of ball…

oregon

Dinner with kindred spirits

bestnight

Kisses in the rain

rainkisses

Stargazing

Deep space nebulae

Waking without an alarm clock or agenda

sleepingin

Celebrating (anything) with champagne

champagne

Kindness

adopt

 

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Not-So-Little-League; an Adult Obsession

thesearekidsToday was not a good day in the land of mom, or local little league for that matter.

For years I have been grateful to the coaches and volunteers who have come together to help kids in our city play sports. I’ve been a hockey mom, a soccer mom, a baseball mom, a football mom, a curling mom, a basketball mom, and a happy mom.

I have also been an annoyed mom.

Annoyed when adults with something to prove take the fun out of the sport for kids. I’ve seen parents yell at their kids, other people’s kids, and act like barbaric fools over kids’ sports.

Most of the time I wear my trademark grin, and waddle away silent, with a happy kiddo. But not today. Today I lost my ever-present-cool, and let someone have it. The only thing I regret is that every single parent who has ever interfered in their child’s sports like a whiny six-year-old didn’t get the full lecture.

Let me lay out some basic rules for you over-enthusiastic-never-made-the-team-I-live-vicariously-through-my-own-child goombas;

1) It’s a game. Play by the rules and honour sportsmanship above all else.

2) It’s a game. Cheer for the great stuff going on at the rink, on the field, on the court. Don’t shame a kid because they aren’t a professional athlete.

3) It’s a game. Your ego means nothing. How the kids come off the field/ice/court/whatever is all that matters. Are they smiling? Do they make everyone on the team feel valued? If you can answer yes to both of these questions nothing else matters.

4) It’s a game. DO NOT use the words, ‘sign’,  ‘draft’, or ‘release’ when you’re talking about kids and sports. If you find yourself using these words and taking yourself seriously, clearly you need to march your chubby-has-been-buns off to an old-timers team and get busy. You are not helping the kids, you are pathetic.

5) It’s a game. Thank your coaches. It’s a huge commitment, and a good coach is a blessing.  Goodness knows that I haven’t a clue about how to be a good coach. I just know that my child has been blessed with some amazing ones.

6) It’s a game. Don’t play politics with minor sports. Kids need this now more than ever. If you want to play politics, start reading and paying attention to our career-quasi-Hollywood politicians already in office. That’s a sport for adults.

7) It’s a game. It’s not all about winning or losing (although winning is indeed pretty darn sweet). It’s about commitment, integrity, and getting better than you were the day before.

8) It’s a game. Have fun with each other. Enjoy the time you get to spend with other parents who want the best for their children. Revert to your childhood, and enjoy being out and active with your community.

After a week of over-the-top bullying by adults trying to run little league like it’s the MLB, I thought that sharing some of my tips might be helpful, inspiring, or even just reassuring to other parents.

It’s about fun, learning and not about making it such an over-the-top-ego-circus that you tick off the momma. ‘Cause when the momma gets angry, ain’t nobody having fun.

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Bittersweet Summertime

farmersmarketBaseball season and football season start the official overlap tomorrow at our house. That means autumn is on the way.

The seasons are marked at our house according to what kind of footwear the kiddo needs; football cleats, baseball spikes, curling sliders, court shoes, water shoes…you name it, we’ve got it.

We are at the front end of what I refer to as deep summer.

I am ready to start canning tomatoes, salsa, chili sauce, and pickling beets. I wedge my domestic chores in between practices, playoffs and football camp. Oh yes, and my fuller-than-full-time-gig as a professional, working, single mom.

This is a bittersweet time of year. The sun is setting earlier, and there’s a crisp edge to damp air each evening when I sit out on my little patio before bedtime.

Although I love the summer sunshine,the tail end of the season is more precious because we can feel it slipping away.

I capture the essence of August in the fresh produce put up for another cold, icy winter, and enjoying the sunshine into the autumn.

As sweet as summertime is, fall has always been the season of my heart.

I give you another list;

 ~Reasons that the end of Summer & Cool Fall days are the Best Time of the Year~

1) Cool nights that call for sweaters and curling in up with your true-love under a blanket, watching for falling stars.

2) Canning and preserving all the delicious fruits of your summer time gardening-labours.

3) Pumpkin spice lattes. Pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving turkey.

4) Football season, and cheering on your local team.

5) Fuzzy socks

6) Long drives along winding roads to buy your produce from small farmer’s markets.

7) Winery tours during the grape harvest.

8) Long walks, holding hands and kisses on cold lips and cold noses.

9)  Delicious, hearty stews by candlelight with red wine and hoards of good company.

10) The World Series.

~Wishing you sunny days and a satisfying slide into autumn.~

 

 

 

 

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The Cynical Elf

Christmas 2011
Christmas 2011 (Photo credit: jreifegerste)

Part and parcel of being an old-fashioned-I-like-to-digest-my-news-in-print-form-darling is getting the really great advertising inserts that proliferate this time of year.

Quite frankly, they beat the heck out of the recent spree of front page ogre-inspired images  of our mysoginist-drug-adled-personal-black-hole-of-ethics-and-dignity mayor. But I digress….

Today, I brought home the LCBO ‘Give Cheer’ insert. I opened up the 41 page glossy mini-mag with the eyes of cynicism. “Beer & Cookies: Surprisingly Sweet Matches”, seemed like another annoyingly magnificent effort to appeal to the glamping/foodie crowd.

Pul-eaze, I thought as I sipped my bourbon. Beer and cookies? Really?

Spare me the obvious effort to be avant-garde and just give me shortbread and eggnog. Even I, the culinary-Christmas-cook thinks that anything other than butter or chocolate added to shortbread is a little too far-fetched.

I can’t say I was convinced by the beer-cookie pairings. I would likely give it a try if someone put any of them in front of me; Dark Beer and Coffee Toffee Shortbread or Winter Ale and Gingerbread Cookies aren’t likely to be on my top ten must-serve selections this holiday season. But if they’re yours, I’d love an invitation and wouldn’t mind having a swig and a nibble.

What did catch my attention were some of the delicious sounding cocktails like the Winter Spice Sour with Cinnamon syrup and deluxe whiskey. Espresso with Sortilege Maple Cream Whiskey  kind of lit my fire as did the Golden Cider (main ingredients are Goldschlager and Canadian Cider).

I’ll be cheeky and let you know that the ‘Snug Sailor’ kind of made me warm in my girly bits just thinking of getting snug with a sailor, but I think that may be the bourbon talking.  Unfortunately the cocktail does not involve a sailor, cock or tail. It does however involve Crabbies Ginger Beer which I love, love, love, and Sailor Jerry spiced rum.

So, as I flipped through the beautifully presented advertising piece from the LCBO, once again it became apparent that I am not a ‘leading-edge-consumer’.

I am not a trend-setter.  In fact, I think that trend-setters lack the deep-rooted self-confidence and grace that define classic style and taste.

I also happen to like to think I fit into the self-confident-classically-styled-individual category.  On occasion, I also like to think that I fit into a size zero and look like Marilyn Monroe, but that’s usually the bourbon cheering me on.

Although it is rare that I ride the edge of seasonal style, whether it be fashion or food, I do like to know what’s current and trending. Trends are fads, and fads are fun.

Fun, my sweet sugar plums is a big part of what this season of giving and sharing is about.  Heck, you may even find me at home serving up maple cream liquor lattes and shortbread spiked with something nutty….

Happy Holidaying to you. I’ve gotta run and get a bottle of that maple cream whiskey before it’s sold out!

 

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Stategic Planning for Summer

strategic plan

A Strategic Plan  list of ‘Early Summer Things’ to do;

1) Plant flowers, herbs and veggies.

2) Pedicures – as many as possible.

3) Break in the new BBQ.

4) Spend hours sipping coffee and watching the baby birds learn to fly.

5) Have many impromptu visits with the neighbours a la patio, porch or front step.

6) Drive with the windows down.

7) Receive the joy of sunshine, green grass and thunder storms

8) Notice the subtle changes in season during your long twilight walks on the lake trail.

9) Sleep with the windows open.

10) Walk bare foot in the midnight grass, hand in hand with your sweetheart….

 

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Anticipating Summer – Top Ten List

flip flops
flip flops (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sun is shining, and the temperatures have finally stretched into the 20’s. Our little corner of the world is waking from the long, cold, winter slumber and reaching out to the hot, humid days of summer.

This is when the world outside comes alive, nymphlike and beckoning us to come and play.

This is the ANDSHELAUGHS Anticipating Summer Top Ten list

 

1) Flip-Flops

2) Wine on the patio

3) Open windows and a fresh breeze at night

4) The smell of the BBQ

5) Dining Al Fresco

6) Running on the trail by the lake

7) The buzz of lights at the baseball diamond

8) The ice-cream truck

9) Prepping the camping gear

10) Planning the garden

What are you looking forward to???

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Baseball Etiquette

Ace the Toronto Blue Jays Mascot
Ace the Toronto Blue Jays Mascot (Photo credit: mutrock)

Spring heralds baseball season, and in the height of spring fever, fans, and wanna-be-fans flock to the ball parks.

Most of them for a one-off guzzle of beer, purchase of team gear, and a slew of selfies in the stands.

For the die-hard fans, the ones who actually go to watch the game, ballpark etiquette is de rigueur. It allows us to enjoy the game in close proximity to tens of thousands of other fans in  a civilized manner.

We do not behave like ‘football’ fans, trampling one another in our exuberance, or getting into brawls. Baseball is a gentleman’s game darlings.

As a female baseball fan, it’s terribly unbecoming to have to pitch a fit. Like today for instance, having to politely tell the gentlemen next to me to, “Sit the fuck down,” I was reminded that perhaps the poor young man was not aware that folks actually show up to watch the game.

As a seasoned baseball fan, I felt it was incumbent upon me to let the young man know that we do come to watch the game, and not how many beverages he  drinks,  or get a rather less-than-awe-inspiring view of his underwear as he scoots back and forth in front of me mid-at-bat.

“Sweetie,” I gently said, ” the beer guy actually comes up here. You don’t need to go get one.” I’m nothing if I’m not helpful.

After getting up and down more times than a sinner at Easter Mass, I felt a list of helpful etiquette hints might help out those poor lost souls who act like ignorant tits at the ball park;

1) If you must get up during the game, do so when mid-inning when the fielders are switching places on the field. Expect a steaming wiener in your ear if you wiggle your way through the bleachers while the home team is either pitching or at bat.

2)If you came to drink, sit down and shut the fuck up. Again, beer guy comes to you. No one needs your inebriated slobber flying in their personal space as you trash talk the other team.

3)Children. The ball park is absolutely the place for kids. If you bring one, engage them in the game so they enjoy it and learn something.  If I have your ketchup-faced kid breathing down my neck and kicking my seat, expect to be given the stink-eye.

4) Streakers. Please, please, please, run faster. There’s nothing like a good streaker to liven up the outfield. I do understand that we’ve become a more punitive society, so I understand if you don’t streak in your birthday suit, but don’t rule it out. We love  streakers.

5) Booing the home team. Really? Don’t boo your own team – stroke their ego, pump them up, treat them like the vulnerable-talented-multi-million-dollar-large-children that they are.

6) The wave. Do it.

7) The national anthem. Also, shut up or sing. Those are your only two options. The time for woo-hooing, cheering, and yee-hawing is just after the first pitch leaves the pitcher’s mound.

8) Large purses. If you bring an over-the-shoulder-anything, or a back pack, please make sure it doesn’t disembowel anyone on your way through the crowd. This unfortunately is for those who are up and down like popcorn.

I hope this helps clarify etiquette at the ball park. Please do all of us baseball fans a favour and pass this along to any would-be-fans.  Let’s keep the ball park wholesome my sweet little dumplings.

If you only remember one thing, please, for the love of all that’s holy, let the beer guy come to you.