Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Goodbye Freedom

It's official. School is over for another year.
It has been more than 10 years since I have sat in a classroom, longer since June signalled the end of another school year and the beginning of summer freedom.
Yet here I am, saddened school is over, not for the kids who will enjoy a summer of fun, but for the idea that in eight short weeks - we all know how fast summer disappears - my guy will be heading off to school.
How did this happen? How did my baby turn into a school-age boy already?
Time has had a funny way of speeding up since my guy has appeared in my life and while I have embraced - and enjoyed - all the ages and all the stages, I am scared and sad about this new chapter called school.
The part of me who still mourns the end of summer at the close of the Labour Day weekend is sad for the start of school and the end of freedom for my son.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lions and elephants, oh my

Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s crown jewels. A wilderness area of massive proportions where you can see unspoiled landscapes and Africa’s incredible wildlife. You will meet some of the friendliest people and experience wild, open spaces that have disappeared from most of the planet. It’s an amazing natural resource that everyone should have the opportunity to experience.”

So begins Warren Cartwright's book Self-Guided Safaris in Kruger National Park ( The book is designed for the iPad but can be purchased for both the kindle and kobo.

I saw the iPad version of the book and it's amazing. It is an interesting read, full of fantastic information, interactive maps and breath-taking photos. I loved the map that offered a moving view on just how far away South Africa is from my neck of the woods and the photo galleries that showed not only the animals that Cartwright has photographed during his trips to the park, but also the birds and reptiles.

In this book, Cartwright gives you a great overview of Kruger National Park – what to expect and how things work - tips on how to spot game and the different things you can do while at the park including golfing, enjoying a braai (a South African barbecue and an experience Cartwright suggests you try at least once) and swimming at one of the many rest areas.

Personally, the idea of getting out of my car and walking through the park to get up close with lions and elephants – regardless of whether you are with a trained and armed guard - made me feel rather sick. Note to self, I will not be doing that tour, nor the one where you can bike the park. And if I ever have the opportunity to go to Kruger – and this books makes me really want to do so – I will stick to driving, with my windows rolled up.

Cartwright wrote the book to give people all the information they would need to organize a self-guided trip to Kruger National Park, which is often a cheaper and more rewarding way to go than an organized tour group. With a self-guided trip to the park, you get to choose where you want to go and for how long you want to stay. You dictate the choices of your entire trip.

In the end of his introduction, Cartwright says: “Over the years I have come to fall in love with South Africa – its people, their culture, the wildlife and its wild spaces. I hope that through this book many more of you can come to experience this amazing place, and venture off to explore it.”

Cartwright has traveled the globe and seen some exotic and beautiful locations. South Africa has called him back over and over and when you read this book and look at the pictures, you can see why.

Visit for more on the book. Visit and for more of Cartwright's spectacular photos.

Note: Warren Cartwright is my brother, but the opinions are mine and are not influenced by the fact we come from the same gene pool.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The fairies didn't show up

We had another great weekend.

We had a sleepover at Nana and Popa's Friday night. Saturday morning we hung out at my parent's house where my guy went to the park, played with a giant Frisbee, caught a variety of caterpillars and picked up leaves. Saturday afternoon saw us attend a local fair with a jumpy castle, police and fire trucks, sno-cones and other activites.

Sunday was the day to catch up on all those things I didn't get done Saturday - tidying up, cleaning the bathroom and laundry.

Sadly, when I woke up this morning, the laundry fairies didn't fold the laundry or put it away. Maybe next week.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Welcome back, wonderful strawberries

The signs are up - strawberries are red, juicy and ready.

Oh, strawberries, how I love you. Well we appreciate you, California strawberries, particularly in the deep of winter, you just can't compare to an Ontario-grown strawberry - different sizes, juicy dripping down your fingers and never knowing if this one will be super sweet or unfortunately sour.

This year, our garden strawberries are producing more than last year, although not enough to keep us all fed with the red goodness, and my guy always wins when deciding who gets the freshly picked one.

But I vow I will be going to a field this week and either picking my own or having some picked for me.

Welcome back, strawberries. I am so happy to see you.

PS - Sorry for the lack of pictures. I ate the three strawberries on my counter before I thought to snap one.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Random Thoughts Monday

- It's been said of the people who claim they can't swallow pills that that inability is all in their heads, that there is no physical reason they can't swallow a pill, particulary small ones.

That may be, but I have a small pill lodged in my throat and I threw up the other one.

- My stepdaughter graduated from college on Thursday, earning herself a spot on the Dean's List along the way. She is likely moving to Ottawa, Ontario, in September with her boyfriend, finding work and completing her degree online. I am proud of her and excited for the new journey she is about to take.

- I grew up in a small town and when I was younger, the next biggest town, about 10 minutes away, had shops but if we wanted something specific, we had to drive at least 40 minutes to find a mall. I now live in a small town and after 10 years, the biggest town, about 15 minutes away, has most of the things I am looking for. In fact, I just finished Father's Day shopping without having to drive 40 minutes to the largest mall.

- That same bigger town also allowed me to find work sandals I like. It's really a shoe miracle as I have tried on about three dozen pairs and disliked them all.

- On the note of shoes, those sandals are called Taos. My sister-in-law called them surprisingly (for me) girly, while I call them comfortable, functional and practical, offering me the ability to wear them both casually and for work. The perfect pair of shoes.  Visit for details.

- Summer is here. I am excited for the heat and the relaxed atmosphere it brings, but sad as my guy is registered for kindergarten, has attended a welcome to kindergarten program and has visited his potential classroom twice. September will come faster than I will like.

- The kitten ate my cord for my camera. You can't leave anything out for this cat.

Monday, June 4, 2012

All That is Old is New Again

I was mentioning to a friend that when it comes to children's toys, everything that was once popular, at some time, becomes popular again.

My older brother knew all the dinosaur names when he was a kid and now my guy and his friends enjoy reading dinosaur stories and wearing dinosaur clothes. My younger brother had a collection of Transformers and, thanks to the movies, many of this generation of kids are playing with Bumblebee and his friends.

The same can be said for girl toys - Barbies, Hello Kitty and Disney princesses were around when I was a kid and now my niece is playing with them, too.

My husband commented it is rare to find Lego or other building block sets at garage sales, likely because people save these collections for their grandchildren.

Enter another sick day Friday. My guy was again at home and we pulled out some of the old stuff - Knex, Ker-Plunk, Sorry and marbles. We played with Tinker Toys and Jacks - all that is old is new again.