Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hook, Line and Sinker!

A couple of months ago I stole a brilliant idea from my sister in law and created a summer wish list of all the things I would like to attempt to do through my favourite months of the year.  I've come to decide (after the loss of my dad) that life is FAR too short and sometimes just the simplicity of creating a list to help us stay focused on what is important is all that's needed.

I'm a Virgo.  Lists and organization is ideal to me.  It comforts me.  I'm at peace with both.  So I keep coming back to my list and smile as I cross off yet another item.  I know this is probably the last summer where I'll basically have both boys at my disposal to do things with, even if they bitch about hanging with us and not their friends. 

So as I look through my list, I'm pleased as punch with the number of items I've been privileged to state I've accomplished. One of those said items was taking my boys fishing.

Let me back that statement up to let you know that I have NEVER been fishing in my life.  Nope, never.  Back in the spring I was approached by a sales rep for a distributor we use at work and offered the opportunity to go on a fishing charter with my kids for a day.  I thought, meh, what the hell?  It's better than a kick in the ass. 

So after a failed (gratefully) attempt in June to take them we finally got out on the waters this past weekend.  The weather was perfect.  Calm with just a slight breeze, and the waters were serene.  We headed out to the middle of Lake Ontario at 6 a.m. so the sun was right where we wanted it to be.  Low.  The boys both tried to get out the trip and hurt my feelings immensely in the process but I dragged them along after Eric laid them both with guilt trips and I refused to speak to them.

We met up with Steve from Fish Trap Charters in Port Dalhousie and headed out.  Within 1/2 an hour we had pulled in our first fish of the day.  Well Roan did.  She was too little to keep so we snapped a picture and tossed her back in to be caught another day.  We were quite successful throughout the whole day.  The second fish we pulled in was reeled in by yours truly and it was a beaut.  She was a Rainbow Trout and she weighed 15 lbs once we got her in.  She fought me tooth and nail the entire time, flipping all over the place.  I thought my left arm was going to burn off from the extreme workout I was giving it and almost felt close to how I felt when I was in labour trying to push my first kid out.  I felt drained and tired and sure that I didn't have an ounce of strength left in me to finish the job.  I did though.  And I'm gonna EAT her too!!

The boys both had the opportunity to reel in a butt load of fish themselves which was great because it kept the trip enjoyable for them.  Eric, who didn't want to catch any fish got caught up in the excitement and decided he too wanted to take a crack at reeling one in.  And one he caught!  She was a fighter, she pulled almost all of his line out and was probably closer to Hamilton than the boat, but he dragged her back in kicking and screaming.  Got her all the way up to the back of the boat where Steve was waiting with the net and she snapped the lure.  Gone.  Just like that.  Steve reckoned she was over 20 lbs.  Man, that loss stung for the rest of the day.  He felt a sense of redemption when he reeled in an 18 lbs salmon towards the end of the trip.

By the time we turned to head back to dock we figure we had about 100 lbs of fish and once Steve filleted it all for us, we are pretty sure we walked away with about 50 lbs of eatable meat.  So now my freezer is full of trout and salmon.  I've given some away and likely will give away more because I don't want it to be wasted.

Anyway, it was a great 5 1/2 hours on the water with Eric and the boys and Steve was an amazing host and I would HIGHLY recommend his services to anyone who would be interested in this sort of activity.  Eric and I are thinking of going out with him again with our friends Jon and Laura sooner than later.  Jon is a fisherman and would probably get a kick out of it.

I'm so grateful to the sales rep who put me onto this idea.  I honestly would have never given this a thought otherwise and I'm so glad we got to experience it.  The boys even admitted that they had fun and enjoyed it as well!!  Double score!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sister Sister

I'm only posting this picture because my sister has heard so many times that she looks like me in photos and I've rarely heard the same said about her.  I stumbled across this photo from PRIDE and I immediately though, "Holy shit, I look like Dawn in this picture".  So this one is for my sister.


I've decided that going forward I'm always going to make lists of things I want to do over a certain period of time.  It's quite helpful actually, I've managed to stay focused and I've been blessed and lucky enough to be able to cross off a lot of the small goals I had on my summer wish list so far. 

For many, MANY, years I've wanted to sneak away to Toronto and join the festivities of PRIDE weekend.  We have (I believe) the largest gay PRIDE festival in the entire world.  We even beat out NYC and San Fransisco.  It's a week long thing but the only day I've ever really wanted to get to was the parade.  Over a million people come out to line the streets be in gay, straight, transgender, whatever to show their support and encouragement to that community. 

I've always wanted to experience it first hand but the stars have never aligned for me.  I've either had the kids or been working on the weekend of the parade.  This is the first year that I was able to attend.  I was totally stoked.  Anyone who knows me at all knows how much I love 'the gays'.  With my whole heart!!  I just love that for the most part these are people who just want to be themselves and not care or have to care what other's think of them.  I wish every single homosexual and straight person was able to be carefree about what other's thought of them.  Too often we allow other people's opinions of us to control us or inhibit us.  I believe that everyone is equal and deserve the same rights.  Sadly this still is not the case even in 2011. 

Mayor Rob Ford's representative.
Anyway, Eric and I headed to Toronto for PRIDE.  We stayed at R & A's house Saturday night and braved Toronto transit and made our way over to "Boy's Town" to start the fesitivities.  It was hotter than hell out there.  It was crazy busy to put it mildly.  We saw every walk of life wandering the streets today.  Some dressed, some wearing only what mother nature gave them.  I have to pause to do a shout out to those folks.  They weren't walking around flaunting their nakedness and being all 'in your face' about it.  They were simply doing what the rest of us were doing, wandering around, checking out booths, eating, enjoying the day.  Except without clothes.  Props to them for having the courage to do that. I simply couldn't even if I wanted to.  I'm just too self conscious. 

We headed over to Yonge Street to watch the parade from there.  It was inspiring, and the number of people both literally and figuratively took my breath away.  It was insane.  There were people on the roof tops and hanging out of apartment windows.  There were no problems that I saw though the irony is the only two people I heard fighting at all on this day was a straight couple!  But that's the sanctity of marriage for ya!!  I even got free rainbow wrist bands and Eric got a free Gay Dating Site wife-beater.  Free stuff and an amazing source of people watching all in one day??  How can this be beat? 

Hot gay army dudes.
I was hoping to catch a glimpse of my fellow co-worker and friend Ian as he's been the Junior Leather Boy for the past year.  I suspected I'd see him in the parade at some point but I wasn't sure I'd get an opportunity to speak with him as there were so many people there and trying to pick one person out of that crowd would have been unrealistic.  Towards the end of the parade we did see him in the back of a SMART car wearing his sash and waving to the crowd.  He didn't hear me calling his name though. 

We watched the whole parade and eventually made our way back over to Church St.  to look at the booths set up before making our way back over to R & A's for a BBQ.  I was starving and had to snag a sandwich of meat or I was just gonna DIE!!  Eric spotted his most favourite gay Star Trek captain enroute as well.  We grabbed some condoms for Gage (who really didn't appreciate our thoughtful gift!!).  And low and behold!  We actually ran head first into Ian coming off the parade route!  So yeah!!  Below are the rest of the pictures we took at PRIDE.  It was loads of fun and I'm so glad we had the opportunity to experience that kind of comradering and coming together as a community.  If you ever get the chance to go, you should.  Mark it off of your life list of things to experience at least once! 

Eric and Captain Picard (obviously gay)

Me and my meat sandwich!

Gay Soccer Club!

Me and Ian!!

Just a crazy crowd shot!

Just a Sweet Transvestite, actually Transgender, from Transilvania....

Meaty kisses

Us at PRIDE!

Cobra Clan go Camping!

Gage, Derek and Eric
The last week of school I pulled the boys out of school and we took them and one of Gage's friends Derek, camping up at Rock Point Provincial Park which is only about an hour from here.  The weather was a little too windy so the surf was rough and the water still too cool, but over all we had a good time. 

We had campfires, and beach time.  We slept in tents, in sleeping bags with NO air mattresses.  We had nocturnal visitors at night that weren't terribly welcomed.  A couple skunk visits and a couple racoon visits.  LB paid us a visit on day two to hang out for bit as well. 

Doing his most favourite thing from the whole trip!

We played cards, we hunted on the beach for drift wood firewood, we ate roasted marshmallows, hotdogs and smores, we got sunburned, we buried each other in sand, we built sand castles and a stick house complete with a full yard with furnishings, fence and pond...and we took loads of pictures!

Classy kid eating a roasted marshmallow.
However, following our camping trip, Eric's (pretty new) camera shit the bed.  He seemed to be able to upload the pictures that were still on it, but for some reason his laptop keeps crapping out when he tries to load the camping photos.  We took so many more pictures of our but only three are salvagable.  Pretty bummed about that.  I'm hoping he'll be able to save them later when he has the time and patience to work on the computer. 

Anyway, I think everyone had a good time for the most part and I'm glad we were able to sneak away for a few days to spend this time together. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sad Night at the Races

Took the boys with my mom to the horse races last night and a horsey dropped dead on the track of a suspected heart attack.  Typical Holly luck.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Double Take

Gage didn't like his school photos this year so he never bothered to bring them home.  GRRRR!  On the last day of school after cleaning out his locker we found his proofs for his Grade 8 photos as well as his Graduation photos.  I cannot get over how different he looks in the photos.  He doesn't even look like the same kid.

The first photo was taken in the beginning of October.  The second photo was taken at the beginning of February.  So that's only FOUR months.  What happened to my little boy??????

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another Milestone

With his grad gift, Beats headphones.

June 24th my first born graduated Grade 8....I cannot begin to get a grasp on how quickly the first part of his life has flown by.  It has literally just slipped through my fingers.

With his little brother.

With his mom and Eric
 I'd been both dreading this day and looking so forward to it.  I'm truly heartbroken that my dad wasn't able to be there.  I can picture in my mind him sitting there amongst us with pride, clapping, hooting and hollering not with us, but leading us.  I know everyone says he was there, but it's not the same.  So that makes me sad.

On a heartwarming note Gage came to me an hour or so before we had to leave and asked me if it would be alright to bring Grandpa's pocket watch with him to the ceremony.  With a smile I said of course, that's a wonderful idea.  (Secretly I thought he might forget that we had previously talked about doing just that).  He placed the watch gingerly in his left front pocket, right next to his heart where I know Grandpa always rests.

With his mom and dad.
We had to be at the hall a little early to ensure all the graduates were there on time and I'll be honest, I was excited to take pictures and see all of his friends dressed up.  I like Gage's friends.  I really truly do.  They are a good group of guys, and girls for that matter.  Most of them I've known since kindergarten so it was nice for me to see how far they have all come.

I had an opportunity to meet Katelyn's (his lady friend) mom, Michelle.  Much to my both mine and Michelle's delight she's as tattooed as I am and very lovely to speak with.  She spoke highly of Gage and commended me on doing a wonderful job with him.  She said he's very polite at her house and treats Katelyn with respect.  I'm SOOOO glad. I've been doing my diligent work to ensure he treats girls properly and with respect.  I want him to pick up good habits when it comes to girls at an early age and I think it's probably best if it's me that teaches him those habits.  It's good to have another girl's perspective on girls when you're a boy and have no idea how our sex works.  :) 

With his mom and Andrea.

With his lady, Katelyn.
Gage got Katelyn a wrist corsage and had bought her a blue sapphire necklace (which she wore for the grad ceremony) for her graduation gift while they were away in Quebec for their year end class trip.  D'awwwww.  They are so adorable. 

The ceremony was quite long as there were four graduating classes, but being a mom who knows so many of these kids it didn't seem too long to me.  I think I was the only one.  The graduates were so supportive of one another and I'm so glad Gage got to be part of that group. The genuinely seem like a great group of kids.  There didn't seem to be any cases of bullying at school this year and every seemed to be friends with everybody.  That was so nice to be witness to. 

Receiving his diploma.
I was filled with the typical pride a parent has when he walked across that stage to accept his diploma.  But later in the evening I was overwhelmed with pride when they announced his name as the recipient of the school's "student with the most personal growth" award.  I'm almost glad I had to get up and go snap a photo of him accepting the award or I likely would have burst into tears.  It was at that moment I really wished my dad was there.  Gage has come so far this year, I can't even begin to get my head around it.  I know my dad was aware of this but I guess I just wish he was around to see Gage get recognized by the school for it.   Anyway, I wanted to run over to him in front of everyone and just hug the shit out of him.

Receiving his award for Student with the most Personal Growth!!

With Aunt Anita and cousins: Sebastian and Sawyer.

With a group of boys from school.
After the ceremony as we all filed out of the hall pass the graduates I stopped to tell him how proud I was of him and he reached over and hugged me.  Didn't say a word, just hugged me like he hasn't hugged me in years.  So hard.  His complete doing too, I didn't even request that kind of hug.   I miss those hugs, but I guess because of their rarity when I get them without asking they are just that much better.  I love my kid so much.  I like my kid so much.  I have been truly blessed.  I hope I'll still be able to make those statements this time next year...after his first year of high school.

With his Grandma!

On stage after receiving diplomas.

With his four best buds, Lucas, Derek and Christian.  TROUBLE!

Balloon Release

My brother has a blog now...(I might have posted this already).  His blog is a place for him to post his photos.  He's taken up photography and is becoming better and better as time passes and with each photo he takes. Much of his captured moments are breathtaking. 

My dad enjoyed photography as well and he is probably the inspiration behind Geoff picking up a camera for reasons other than just being a proud parent.  My dad dabbled but never really pursued it with the same zest that Geoff has.  Geoff, ideally I think, would love to be able to make a career out of it. 

Anyway the point of this post is simply to share with you two photos that he happened to capture at just the right moment.  I adore these photos. 

Thank you for these Geoff.  She is one of his favourite people (as well as mine) and he of course if one of my favourite people.  A pause from the continuous busyness that normally is this duo, captured with the, split second, click of a shutter.

Battle to the Death

Roan:  Who do you think would win in this fight?  A Lego Bionicle or Gage's lap top screen? 

Mom (me):  (Usually vaguely paying attention) Hmm....Bionicle?

Mom's are ALWAYS right!  Bionicle 1 - Laptop 0

Tick Tock

The other day when Gage took his shirt off to go swimming, I caught a glimpse of something on his back that didn't seem right to me.  It looked like a mole that should really be removed.  It looked unhealthy and worrisome.  As I got a closer look I realized I wasn't looking at a cancerous mole, but a tick that had embedded itself into Gage's back.  Uh...GROSS. 

So with much relief and delight, my friend Heather stepped up to the task of removing this disgusting creature from my son's back.  She came armed with tweezers, Q-Tips and Peroxide.  She seemed like an old pro at it.  So after Gage stopped screaming and freaking out like a girl (who can blame him really), she carefully got the tweezers around the tick's body and she slowly began to pull and eventually, though with much resistance, she was able to remove the tick along with a chunk of Gage skin still in the tick's mouth.  Uh...DOUBLE GROSS.

Of course Gage was worried and freaked out about Lyme Disease, but Heather reassured him that only the Deer Ticks carry that disease and this was in fact a Dog Tick.  Who knew?  I also read that they have to be embedded for about 24 hours before they can pass the disease on to a human.  We suspected it had been there for about that time frame, but LB pointed out to me that an engorged tick is actually quite large and doesn't even look like a tick once engorged.  Clearly we weren't at that stage yet, so I'm relieved.  But probably not as much as Gage is.