FORE!!

And by check back tomorrow I apparently meant check back next week… Oops! Knitting is finished, so I’m back on the blog train! So, without further adieu…

Day One:

We woke to a beautiful day in sunny Florida and had planned on golfing in Sanibel for the day. The boy rose to see his first glimpse of the ocean right outside out balcony. The condo couldn’t contain him, he was out walking the beach within half an hour – the most eager I’ve ever seen him at 8:00 in the morning in a LONG time… maybe ever! Dad was making us breakfast, so I went to collect the boy from the water and thought nothing of going downstairs in my pajama pants and a sweatshirt… how wrong I was it was probably 25 by 8:30am… PERFECT!

We hit the links with a tee-off at 11:00, and after the first hole, the boy tells me a secret. Surprise, surprise… he’s hungry! Now here’s a question, why does the boy tell me this now instead of 10 minutes earlier when we were in the Pro Shop? Freak. His poor planning, I gave him a bag of almonds to munch on – too bad so sad, he’d just have to wait for lunch after 9.

It didn’t take long for us to find some friends on the course, we saw a number of alligators, and some brilliantly coloured iguanas. (I have pictures of all of these, but I can’t seem to find my cord… I’ll keep looking and you can check back later – as my sister told me recently, “You can’t have everything!”)

Brilliant part of this course, you call in your order from the kitchen when you get to the 9th tee and your lunch is ready for you when you come in – no waiting! I thought that was genius… and in an effort to encourage this practice on all golf courses, I thought I’d share the idea here so the idea can catch on!

We played the last 9 and I had a great game of 128ish, (heavy on the ish – but who’s counting?)

We returned to the condo to see the famous Fort Myers sunset. I had told the boy that you can count the sun down to sleep but he had to see it to believe it… now he’s a believer the sunsets are beautiful and you don’t have to be old to appreciate them.

We had our first taste of Grouper the local fish for dinner – the boy is not too much of a fish eater, or so he says…

And that was day 1, we were in bed by 11:00 at the latest… we were in Del Boca Vista after all!

Tomorrow, (I promise) hanging out with Jungle Erv….

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I’m back loyal followers!

Hi everyone,

Well the boy and I just spent 7 beautiful days in sunny Fort Myers Beach Florida. It was all full of sun, sand, surf, dolphins, sea shells, shopping, golf and of course fun! The only downside is there was NO internet available… oh Del Boca Vista – the old people seem to remember how to live without Google.

Anyway, to make up for my absence I will be posting my days in Florida in consecutive order…. just one week late.

So day one was a week ago today… Wednesday November 18, I worked until 12:00 and then we hit the road. First stop… picking up the boy’s passport! Luckily that went without incident. Second stop, McDonalds and with full tummies we hit the highway.

After a quick stop at the duty free we crossed the border and encountered some unusual questions… “What do you do for work?” I answered, “I work for a non-profit and ‘the boy’ works at a golf course” Customs answered “How are you affording this trip?” I stopped myself from saying “Non of your business asshole!” and simply answered that we were staying with my parents and we got a great deal on a flight. After a quick search of ALL OF OUR BAGS we were granted access into the United States of America.

Our flight was great, Direct Air out of Niagara Falls was awesome we flew into Punta Gourda, Florida for $149 return plus $20/bag beat West Jet by a LONG shot and parking was FREE!

We got in at night, which was too bad for the boy who had never seen the ocean, but we both felt the warm right away as we walked off the plane, and we woke up to the ocean waves in the morning for our first full day in Florida…

Come back tomorrow to hear all about it!

Happy Birthday Big Bird

Two posts in one day, an extra special treat for my loyal followers! I ask you – Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

I’ve seen the promotions on Google for the last week, but today November 10, is officially Sesame Street’s 40th Birthday. Today’s episode is #4187 and features First Lady Michelle Obama as the special guest – they’re planting a garden, and apparently she’s bonding with Big Bird because they are both so tall!

Sesame street was a big part of my childhood, I still love the songs – still know most of the words, remember all the characters, and use the lessons it taught me daily – like sharing and how to cross the street!

I just read an article on the big 4-0 for the Street, and it mentions that Sesame Street has been the subject of over 1000 research studies – making it the most studied television show of all time. Did you know – “One notable study reconnected with adolescents who had participated in “Sesame Street” research as preschoolers. It found that teens who watched “Sesame Street” in preschool had higher grades and spent more time reading for pleasure than other teens who had missed the show as children.” Has my love of the Street transformed into my love of Chapters? I think so!

So here is my tribute to you Sesame Street – I always wanted to live at apartment 123, with Bert and Ernie as neighbours, and Bob and Susan, Elmo and Telly and of course Oscar the Grouch! Here is my top 10 moments from the Street:

Sesame Street Top 10:

10. Kermit – Rainbow Connection (I learned this morning that this song made it to number 25 on the Billboard Top 100, and stayed in the top 40 for 7 weeks!)

9. Mr. Hooper dies – I had to Wikipedia this to see if I was even alive when Mr. Hooper died, turns out I was but just barely. Even if I only remember it from reruns – it was news to me, and it still brings a tear to my eye!

8. Oscar the Grouch – remember his sister? Awesome.

7. Snuffleupagus and Big Bird – remember when no one knew him except for Big Bird, and everyone told Big Bird he was crazy, and he was just imagining his friend. TURN AROUND BOB, Snuffy is right there, sauntering down the street!

6. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street – There was a skating party and trying to get Oscar into the Christmas spirit. Bert and Ernie both sell their favourite things to get the other the perfect gift… Mr. Hooper gives them back their things as his gift to them (Ernie’s rubber ducky, Bert’s paperclip collection) Classic.

5. Bert and Ernie’s hilarious hijinks. Particular favourites are when they go fishing and when Ernie can’t sleep so he brings in sheep so he can count them.

4. Captain Vegetable – “It is I, Captain Vegetable/ With my carrot, and my celery/ Eating crunchy vegetables is good for me/ And they’re good for you, so eat them too/ For teeth so strong, your whole life long/ Eat celery and carrots by the bunch/ Three cheers for me, Captain Vegetable/ Crunch, crunch, crunch!” That’s just good sense.

3. When they made popular bands into muppets – like the Beatles who sang “Letter B” HA!

2. Elmo in the early days – can you believe this guy does his voice!

1. Favourite Sesame Street Song of all time – Ernie “I’d like to Visit the Moon” It’s on my iPod to this day – love it.

There are many more than 10 of course… I didn’t even get to mention my love of Grover and SUPER GROVER, or Cookie Monster…. feel free to comment away on your favourite moments.

Happy Birthday Sesame Street – I hope Satellite TV doesn’t kill you, and that you’re around to teach my own children some day.

The last box…

The boy and I got our apartment in Newmarket September 1st, we moved in September 19th, we had a housewarming party celebrating our living in sin October 31st and this week my Toronto radio station turned to static. I think it’s trying to tell me I’m no longer a Torontonian.

My sister and I have been joking for months that I now live in Northern Ontario, to us that means anywhere north of Bloomington Road – the northern border of Richmond Hill, where we grew up. I have been settling into life in suburbia telling myself we live in “downtown Newmarket” – that’s just like downtown Toronto isn’t it? But the bubble has been burst by static. No longer it seems can I listen to Roger Darren and Marilyn banter back and forth. I can’t play along and dream about what I would spend $500,000 on if I won Beat the Bank. And where will I get my entertainment report now? Barrie? Please.

While thinking about my radio woes I can’t help but feel like it’s all a metaphor to how I’m feeling as a twenty-something. Everything is changing, and sometimes it feels like my whole life is static. There’s a hint of sensible conversation, but nothing seems to be coming across too clearly for too long. I know there are clear stations of life on either side of where I am but where I am right now is unclear. I am past the bar scene of my early twenties, but I’m not in the engaged/married/pregnant stage either.

My feminist self balks at these categories, thinking – I’m only feeling this way because I’ve learned through North American society that this is how I’m supposed to break my life up, child, student, engaged, married, mother, empty-nester, dead. As a young independent woman of the 21st Century I shouldn’t feel confined to these categories – but much like “it’s such an exciting time” knowing I shouldn’t feel this way doesn’t make it go away.

It may be a comfort for other people living in a static radio world – Other people feel this way too. Peggy Orenstien did a research study on women living with similar thoughts. She called her book “Flux” and describes the problem as women living in a “half-changed world.” She interviewed people my age, young women who know what they want – and know that they shouldn’t be connecting their self-worth to their status as a mother. She found we haven’t yet been able to create new categories for ourselves, which leaves us confused, and the reality is many of us want to be a wives and mothers and struggle with this inbetween place.

Unfortunately, Orenstien didn’t find any clearer minds when she looked at women in their 30s or 40s either, instead she found women trying to juggle being a wife, mother, and career woman, and although they are “doing it all,” they rarely feel they are doing any of their roles well, or as they would like to. Alternately, she found women made choices in their lives, and either focused on being mothers, or focused on a career – and while they feel they are fulfilling that role to the best of their ability they feel jugded for not “doing it all.”

So where does that leave me? I think it leaves me with one last box to be unpacked, a staticy radio station – and some days feeling like I’m in limbo. But on the bright side, books like Orenstien’s let me know I’m not the only one in the world feeling like I do. Check out her website for more articles on women and girls self-esteem, http://peggyorenstein.com/

The boy and I seem to have started some sort of ritual of asking each other if we had a good day just before going to bed. This few seconds of reflection allows me to put the staticy radio and life aside, and focus on what happened that day. Most days, it is a good day… that’s got to count for something.

Pass the chickpeas please…

First season of Friends, George Clooney guest stars, Monica and Rachael have him and Noah Wyle over for dinner, shenanigans ensue, and in an effort to ease the tension George says, “God bless the chickpea!” I couldn’t agree more, it’s so delicious and filling, one of the great wonders of the world in my opinion.

For the last few years I have been less of a fan of meat, and more of a fan of the chickpea. I never went completely vegetarian, but am largely a “Clean Food” or “Real Food” eater… not a big fan of bacon that can be kept in a box in your cupboard, or yogurt in a tube, or food that comes in buckets. But since moving in with the boy, I have found myself spending more time in the middle of the grocery store than I am used to.

Now, the boy thinks I have been a little hard on him in the past, so I must say this is all said with love. But since I established that the boy can eat, I thought I’d focus on what he’s eating, and what I am used to eating, and how the chickpea all plays into this.

On our first “officially living together” gorcery shop, I followed alongside the cart in absolute shock, as he stocked it full of chocolate bars, frozen pizza, crackers, chips, granola bars and cookies. I had gone grocery shopping days earlier and heeding to the advice of Michael Pollan, I stuck to the outside of the store. I came home with tons of veggies, fruit, meat, grains and some dairy, and the response I heard was “You didn’t buy any food!” I became blissfully aware of the frustration my mom used to feel when she would drop $200 at the grocery store, and her beautiful children would say “There’s nothing to eat in this house!”

I feel the phrase “Pay back’s a bitch” is appropriate here…

So I gave some thought into how I can influence healthier eating, cost savings, and keep the growing boy from becoming enraged at my healthy goals. Last week I spent two evenings baking in an effort to divert from the middle of the grocery store.
I made Rebar’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, my FAVOURITE chocolate chip cookie, secret ingredient… chopped apricots! Sounds questionable but REALLY good. The next night, I made granola bars, with mixed reviews, they were a little cinnaminny but they seem to be a suitable replacement to the over-sugared over-processed, good until the end of days CRAP that is available in the middle of the grocery store. Next time I’ll add more oats, probably some seeds, and use either raisins OR dried cherries, but not both as I did this time (in an effort to replicate the Kashi chocolate cherry bars that I like, but are completely unaffordable).

In an effort to save money, time and stop the boy from eating 60 cookies, and 30 granola bars in one sitting, as I am learning he is quite capable of doing, I only cooked 13 cookies, dropped out the rest of the dough and froze it. Now if he wants cookies he has to take them out and cook them – something he says he’ll do but we both know is not likely to happen. I also wrapped the cut granola bars individually and put them in a bag in the freezer, he takes one each day and puts it in his lunch bag the night before – rather than taking the box of 8 in his lunch bag and acting surprised when it’s gone in two days.

The last thing I did this week was make chickpea fajitas. They are a quick an easy dinner that is filling and delicious providing you like chickpeas. I have told the boy that I would like at least one meatless day per week, this week it was Meatless Tuesday. The problem is the boy claims to hate beans (a texture thing apparently and yet he loves Hummus(?)). However, he still eats whatever I put in front of him like a Hoover vacuum so I’m not too concerned about it. Right now we’re at one meatless day per week… the goal one meatless week per month. He’ll say “Not going to happen” but I’m the cook and I agree with George, “God bless the chickpea!”