Dublin calling

Although I've been plagued by mice and run into by cars, I've been able to keep smiling. Why? I'm going on a holiday. Four girlfriends and I are traveling to Dublin for 4 days. Why? Because we deserve it of course.

Also we are celebrating our collective birthdays. Four of us met at Algonquin College's Library and Information Technician program. We soon discovered a similarity. We were all close in age and had January and February birthdays. We have tried to get together to celebrate our birthdays over the years (I've known these friends for 13 years now). This year we are taking it one step further and traveling abroad. Dublin may seem like a strange choice for a winter get-away but it will suit all of our personalities.

So three cheers for holidays...hip, hip, hooray!


I'm not sure how I want to describe yesterday's events. Generally I'm not feeling shaken or scared but I am sort-of ill at ease with the situation. Right now I feel very removed from the incident. So this post might come off as cold, factual and objective.

I was rear-ended yesterday while stopped at a red light. Lil bug was in the back in her car seat and I was on my way to retrieve monkey boy from preschool. Lil bug and I are fine. Our lovely new RAV4 has bumper damage but it is completely drivable. My main concern was making sure someone was able to pick up monkey boy. I just didn't want him to be left waiting. The problem was that J had the cell phone. Thankfully the man who hit me let me use his phone. I called my folks at home and on their cell (my thought was they had a car and could get to monkey boy the fastest). Problem was there was no answer. I left a desperate message with them requesting they pick up monkey boy. I then called J. He was there and said he would handle things with monkey boy by calling the school and arranging a taxi ride over to the facility. Relief reigned supreme. It wasn't until later did I realize that I neglected to let my loved ones know I was okay and so was lil bug. I feel strange that I was more concerned about the child waiting for me and not the one who was in the accident with me. I guess because I knew she was okay and babbling about what happened I put my worries aside for her.

After exchanging information (while listening to my daughter hysterically cry because a strange man was in our car and I refused to let her out of her seat because we were still in traffice), we finally reached the police by phone. We found out that we needed to go to a police station to file a report as the police would not send out a car to an accident where the parties were not injured and the vehicles did not require towing. I insisted we go together to the station and file right away. Ironically enough the police station is a mere 5 minute walk from monkey boy's preschool. After putting the paper work into motion, I used the station's phone and reached my folks. They were on their way to meet J and monkey boy at the preschool with a car and car seat. I told them to drop by the station to see if I was still there before they left the area. As we wrapped things up with the police, my whole family arrived and my daughter declared "Daddy, I'm at a police station." Hmmm, not something I think either J or I hoped to ever hear from her especially when she is only 2 years old.

Well there is my tale.

We are still plagued with mice. We've caught two more since my last report and we think there may be more. They are pretty sneaky creatures. They can lick the peanut butter right off the trap without triggering it sometimes. Frustration reigns supreme and my kitchen floors and cupboards are littered with sealed food products, They think they are winning but we too can be persistent and patient.

Mouse taunts tenants part two

The scoreboard reads:

Mice 4
Humans 1

Yes you read that correctly. It is no longer one mouse we are combating. We have been invaded by mice. My theory for this takeover is warm weather seduced the mice out of their houses, roofing work on our townhouse condo unit created an opportunity for the mice to explore homes, the cold weather and some shingles returned, and the mice were "trapped".

No sooner did the sweet kitchen mouse meet her demise when another one emerged from hiding. I'm referring to it as the living room mouse. When kitchen mouse was "caught", J kindly took care of the remains and inquired whether or not we needed to keep the trap. I dismissed his worry of another mouse and returned my attention to the boob tube. As he dressed to take the mouse remains to the garbage dump, I heard a scratching scamper coming from the play area. I turned my head, peered into the dark and spotted it. The living room mouse.

She is a crafty and bold one. She walked over to the table area to locate the crumbs on the floor by first traipsing through monkey boy's toy cars, then the fisher price farm set and under the little tikes semi-trucks. As long as there is no movement, she happily explores. When J and I approach, she scampers away in a flurry. We've set more traps but so far she evades them. I guess kitchen mouse wasn't as bright. She seemed to walk right into our trap a mere two minutes after it was set with peanut butter.

I hope we catch living room mouse tonight. I'm getting miffed, royally. I hate mouse turds and worrying about our food. I dislike the idea of scouring this house to rid it of mouse droppings.

I truly hope only two took up residence. I'm not sure if I could handle a full scale assault.

My girlie screams have finally stopped re-vibrating off the walls. The wee gray mouse that now resides in our house has successfully scored 3 points on this human. Our first encounter was last night during a commercial break for LOST. I shrieked and quickly place my feet on the couch while the mouse found a place behind the mass of wires near the computer. In hindsight, I'm sure I missed a few scurries across the floor due to being fully engrossed with the season premiere of my favourite mainstream TV series.

Our second encounter almost lead to the demise of the mouse. I had her cornered in the lazy susan cupboard at 8:15am. I discovered the mouse after opening the bottom cupboard to locate monkey boy's oatmeal and there she was in all her sweet tiny gray glory. I started pulling out cereal boxes and baking supplies with the long handled BBQ flipper. For the record I really don't think I am scared of a mouse. I'm just a little FREAKED about touching mouse turd or having a mouse travel across my arm to a new location. I swear "freaked" is absolutely different than "scared." Anyway, I digress.

I had removed almost all items from the cupboard placing them a safe distance away to clean later. It was at this time monkey boy and lil bug thought they should inquire as to what happened to their breakfast. I turned my hibby jibby feelings off and excitedly showed them the mouse. The mouse scurried about the top shelf unphased by the rapt attention she was receiving. I put monkey boy in charge of watching the mouse while I armed myself with a tupperware container (aka the trap) and the metal BBQ flipper. I sent the wee people out of the kitchen to find my spouse (who lay dozing in bed) as I knew help may be required and I didn't want them to see me battling a mouse.

The mouse made an offensive move and jumped to under the lazy susan making simple capture remote. I quickly responded by kneeling and prodding underneath with the flipper. My plan of attack was to corner her and urge her into the container. My crafty foe evaded my moves. She even taunted me by calming scratching herself while I waggled my rump in the air. I was enraged. I thrusted the flipper in an attempt to urge her to one side. She scampered right past me. The fastest piece of gray literally flew in a race around the edge of the kitchen. My plan was foiled. My spouse and kids arrived to see me scrambling on all fours searching for my adversary.

I decided that the humane way was not going to work. I was ill-equipped and pissed about all the mouse droppings littering the inside of my cupboard. I hatched a new plan...traps. After a trip to Rona for supplies, the mouse provided the proverbial final straw that broke the camel's back. She brazenly scurried past me when I opened the garbage and cleaner cupboard causing me to pierce the air again with girlie shrieks. Little does she know that there will be two traps enticing her into a way out of our house.

I feel a tad guilty about having to kill her. We reside near a field which is probably her home. I'm sure our house merely looked like it had a nice cozy welcome sign. In the midst of winter, who wouldn't want to reside in a warm house with a free buffet. Unfortunately my guilt is not overriding my desire to rid the house of the mouse. I just hope we can quickly catch her and dispose of her before the wee people want a in depth look and explanation.

Elbow Falls

Kananaskis Country beckoned us into its midst with the promise of beautiful views, fresh air and sunshine. We took a short drive from the city into the wilderness of the foothills. Our destination was Elbow Falls. The roads were quiet and clear until we arrived at the falls. Lining the road before the closed park gates were cars filled with backcountry hikers and snowshoers. I guess we weren't the only ones hearing the call of good weather and the countryside.

The parking lot for the falls was deserted. We donned some warm clothes (the wind was still chilly) and ventured onto the hard-packed trail. We quickly found ourselves at a viewing point (not much of a hiking trail) but the river was lovely. We wandered at a snail's pace to the last viewing point and discovered the following scene.

The picture doesn't quite capture the reality of the moment but add extra blue to the sky, the sound of a river rushing over rocks, crisp air and warm sunshine and you can get a pretty good idea of the peace we felt at being near nature. We took our time at Elbow Falls to allow the wee people to play in the snow (eating it and throwing some into the river). A few other people viewed the falls but none seemed to relish the moment as much as us (perhaps the guy wearing shorts and sandals didn't realize it wasn't even spring yet).

The day was capped off with lunch in the hamlet of Bragg Creek. The kids behaved themselves very well (even if lil bug thought she might have a starvation meltdown when we first arrived until I pulled out snacks to tide her over until lunch was served). We took a few minutes to wander around the local shops and hopped into the car to return to the city.

Getting out of the city was a much needed break from the everyday. Three cheers to sunny days and local attractions.

Sunny Alberta

Sunny days, sweepin' the clouds away, on my way to where the air is sweet ...

Ahh, that lovely Sesame Street theme song is spinning around in my head as I sit here bathed in glorious warm sunshine pouring through our west facing balcony doors. Unlike the rest of the country, Alberta is experiencing a reprieve from the chill and snow of winter. Our current temperature is a balmy 7ºC, tomorrow's forecast high is 10ºC and (hold onto your hats) Sunday's temperature is suppose to reach 13ºC. Yep, this is one reason I love Alberta weather. Winter can be nice. Warm winter temperatures almost cancel out the effect of the ferocious winds. It is without a doubt that warmer temperatures seduce you into wanting to be outdoors trying different sports.

Coincidentally, monkey boy's preschool held its winter play day this morning. Teachers, students, parents and siblings delighted in sliding down hills, skating, and hot chocolate on this warm day. Unfortunately, monkey boy's cautious nature meant we risked collision with other tobogganers in order to let him sled from half way down the hill instead of the top. His hesitancy also meant that we quit a little earlier than the rest. Yet I found a positive in his unwillingness to participate in activities like the others kids. I re-discovered that he is perfectly capable of being independent. He has a remarkable ability to occupy himself. He and his sister entertained themselves with some spray bottles filled with coloured water. He did not hesitate to enjoy an ice rink just because he lacked skates or helmet (or because his folks refuse to purchase more winter paraphernalia that they would have to ship to Ottawa in June). Although I missed the opportunity to have more social contact with adults, I did enjoy spending the morning outside with my two favourite wee people. Plus I did manage to have some adult contact once we went inside for hot chocolate and goodies. I'm stepping outside of myself and just pursuing conversation whenever the opportunity arises. It is fun getting to know people and what they do.

My next project is to figure out how to enjoy the weather this weekend...trip to the mountains, road trip to a nearby attraction. Finally the opportunities seem endless instead of prohibited by bad roads and bad tempers.

Mood swings

Birthdays seem to lay a mixed bag of emotions into my lap. I like celebrating other people's birthdays. I love celebrating monkey boy's and lil bug's birthdays. I am always pleased to have a birthday. Counting down my years in this life does not bother or perplex me. I am always flattered, thrilled and delighted to hear from family and friends.

I just always find myself a wee bit melancholy. Sometimes I chalk up my mood to winter weather or being far from family on my birthday but I don't think that is all of it. This year I find myself basking in sunshine and warmer temperatures along with the company of family nearby and yet I feel grumpy, irritable, and sad. Perhaps I allow myself too much time to reminisce and over-analyze my current state of affairs.

Don't get me wrong, I have a good life. I love my spouse, children, family and friends. My job (which is on hold for me until my return from this sabbatical) may not always be fulfilling but it satisfies my need to work and bring in some money. Yet I fret and think I desire other things (unnamed and unknown).

Thankfully I know this funk will eventually fade. Hopefully I will come to terms with some of my short-comings and build up some plans to inspire and motivate me. I usually do. I just hate meandering through the swamp of melancholy in order to find a sense of peace. I dislike how my mood effects others. Today, my birthday, I will remind myself to enjoy the sunshine rather than wallow in the muddy slush it creates.

Lost in space

I'm here.

I exist.

I just lost my creativity somewhere. Sending out a search party right now. Will report in on results soon.

In meantime, here is a brief utilitarian update:

Christmas was great. Had fun with family. The kids were spoiled. Tired of driving Alberta highways in the winter.

New Year's was quiet. J and I played on the computer (our separate computers). Managed to steal a new year's kiss though. Main goal for 2009 is to make time for myself and time for J a priority.

I love returning to the routine of life, i.e. preschool, errands, groceries, library visits, gymnastics for kids and occasional museum trips (Telus World of Science keeps the kids busy but it just does not live up to the expectations I have created based on frequenting museums in the Nation's Capital).

Excited about my trip to Ottawa Jan 26 to 28. And even more excited about my trip with some girlfriends to Dublin Jan 28 to Feb 2. Very, very excited.

The kids are both endearing and infuriating.

Experienced a stark realization, our time in Alberta is quickly vanishing. There are so many projects I want to work on and finish (knitting, photo albums, memory books), so many places I want to visit with the kids (Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, Kananaskis country, Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, Fort Calgary, Reynolds Alberta Museum) and so many experiences I hope to fit in (cross country skiing, hiking near Canmore, horseback riding, etc).