Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lemonade Stand Fundraising

This has been a week full of awesome. Thanks to donors like you, I was able to surpass my fundraising goal.  My team has raised over $140,000 for PWA Toronto - four of us are on the top fundraisers list.  Amazing.
Since we are leaving on Sunday, our training this week consists of small 50km rides that remind us of how much we love riding.  Given that 2 months ago I was terrified of my first 50 km ride I can't believe I consider a 50 km morning ride a critical part of my day now.  I leave at 6:00 am and get home at 8:30 am with a clear mind and a ton of energy. I find myself looking for routes everywhere...the cottage? Check.

There have been so many crazy exciting parts of this whole experience over the past 2 months. This week trumped them all though.
Kids in the neighbourhood caught the bug.
First my own kids and their friends held a lemonade stand with the proceeds going to the Bike Rally.
Then, my friend and neighbour Avril took up the banner.  She came by my house one afternoon while I was working with the proceeds from her own stand.  
From her Mum:
".. I'm not sure what clicked with Avril when you mention to us on the street that you were riding your bike to Montreal, she was the one that asked me why, and after I found out and told her about the TPWA,  she took the time to research on the Internet what that was, and what Aids is, totally on her own. She was very determined to have a lemonade stand and donate the money for people that lives with Aids in Toronto. It was totally her idea, and she did mostly everything on her own. She is also very much impressed that you are riding all the way to Montreal. I'm also very impressed with her doing this, because I know she doesnt know you or even the kids very well, but she told me she fell very good doing it, literally, when she got home, her words where, "it feels nice to do that" ..."
It's enough to warm the cockles of my cold dead heart - knowing that there are these passionate, galvanized people living in my home and around my neighbourhood.  Not only were they so generous but they inspired a wave of support that brought thousands of dollars to PWA Toronto.
Thousands, of dollars from two beautiful lemonade stands.
My worldview has been tilted by your support and PWA Toronto will be able to offer so much to their community because of it. 

Monday, July 08, 2013

Alone at home jiggedy jig

My family left last night for a few summer days at the cottage. We are trying to get Marlowe (and myself) comfortable with the idea of being apart for a few days in a row in preparation for my big summer "vacation"

Given that Marlowe is the last baby I think I'll ever have this weaning period is not something I am particularly enthusiastic about she's at that stage where she is still a new person every few days and I am reluctant to miss it. We are engaging in this whole practise very strategically; while I want Marlowe to be more independent, I do not want to wean her completely from nursing - although we know that this is a risk.   So we are starting with 3 days and 2 night windows.  That is the timeline we'll be apart during the Rally so that's our limit.

I am also reluctant to completely disappear from her life for 3 days without any practise - I can't help but imagine how horrifying that would be to a person who's whole world comprises of 3 sometimes 4 other people on a daily basis.

They are at our cottage and if at any point it gets to be too much for J or Marlowe I can be there in less than 3 hours.

Until then, 3 minutes after they were out the door I was in a hot bath with loads of Epsom salts, a book and a beer - ALL BY MYSELF.

It used to be that I would throw common hygiene, schedules and expectations to the wind spending the next 72 hours in my underpants and a tshirt watching 4 seasons of True Blood. A new definition of a weekend bender.

Here are things I do when I am home alone for more than 1 weekday when I can't check out of normal routine.  Basically, it's a list designed to prevent complete ferality but still scratches that itch of things I would/could not do with my family here.

Day 1 (evening only)
  • Have bath - bring book Anne Lamott's, Imperfect Birds, and Beer
  • Write a small to do list to keep me from going feral.  Things like; get coffee ready for the morning, tidy up the mess before getting in the tub or turning on the TV.  I said TIDY not CLEAN, very different
  • Make dinner:  Popcorn with nutritional yeast, butter, salt and PEPPER I'm the only one that likes pepper
  • Queue up TV that no one else likes. In this case Season Two of the Game of Thrones.
  • Knit like I haven't in 3 months.
  • Set timer so that I don't stay up all night and ruin my work day.
Day 2
  • Work from home and drink lots of coffee
  • Clean up all the piles of life that accumulate, put winter woollies in the wash and hang dry them
  • Replace bike tube (this is going to be an awesomely uninterrupted job!)
  • Eat good meal; swiss chard from my garden or just a bunch of good cheese and veg on a platter
  • Watch as many episodes of Game of Thrones before bed and knit
My list is a bit interrupted as I have colleagues visiting from out of town so I'll be eating dinner out...

I miss the company and crowds of my people but boy is it ever nice to finish anything without interruption, fear of interruption or guilt because you're letting your partner deal with the interruption again.

Thursday, July 04, 2013


Last weekend one of my close friends did what we thought she would never do. She got married.  This particular friend brings the Vitamin "G"lamorous to my particular social diet so this wedding has been a highly anticipated event by all of us in the family.

That she had found a Partner in Crime who complements her strongest qualities and whose own strengths are complemented by her is just so perfect it's nauseating.

I loved so many things about the actual wedding that it is almost impossible to begin.   It was a tiny intimate wedding with only 50 guests invited.  That Rica and Phil invited children was only one of the many ways this wedding was a family affair. Fenner and I were so excited we had our dear friend Debra over to help us 'clean up'.

Fenner picked the flowers from our garden; thyme, lavender, butterfly weed and clematis.
We were all so excited to see the ceremony in our dresses that even the cold hearted commuters were charmed.
My particular flock of family arrived by the skin of our teeth, missing nothing but the entrance thank the Fates.
We would have been crushed to miss the vows, the speeches and the ring exchange. It was so perfect. I was trying to sort out if I thought it was so perfect because I really do think that the groom and bride fit together like a puzzle - if maybe my opinion was compromised due to my affection.

As I looked around at the guests in attendance I saw couples in their pragmatic parentingphase reaching out, unconsciously touching with that deep sort of affection that comes from being past the initial cliff diving phase of love into that desperate, 'I'll fall apart if I have to fly solo'. Like watching this beginning reminded us all of our own moments of commitment to each other.

If you know what I mean...

It was just perfect and when it was done, like all great family affairs, we ate and drank and laughed together.  Most importantly my children did not jump on the train like it was a blanket on the floor to be ridden around on.


The fountain that was not 45 minutes ago, the back drop to the ceremony.
 I've been riding the contact high for days.