My Father, My Brother

A bittersweet day … a day of contemplation, thinking about my Dad and the lessons he taught me. Father’s Day.
Dreaming of my Brother. Gone from us today for 23 years. He is so dearly missed. An Anniversary.

Both tremendous male influences in my life. Without them both, I would not be nearly the brave little girl that resides within me, who has blossomed beyond the realms of a tortured soul (as a teen, I was just that).

I’ve learned from them both:

  • music and art are synonymous in both magnitude and beauty
  • by trying to never incur debt, I have freedom beyond any boundaries. This has proven itself to be priceless in my nomadic travels.
  • if I were to have debt, I should pay it off immedicately or as best as possible with the least amount of impact
  • I can accomplish anything that I dare to dream of
  • fierce independence
  • road trips are the spice and education of life
  • take calculated risks on my own terms rather just following the crowd
  • I will forever be indebted to Mother Earth. A debt which I continue to pay off in my daily actions through honour, gratitude and servitude, making as little impact as is possible.

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”  ~ Clarence Kelland

What life lessons has your Father and siblings taught you?

Happy Father’s Day Dad!!! 

Verona

Verona, within a historic region of Eastern Ontario, has a population of about 1,800. It lies at the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, where the friendly mix of farmland, rocky-shored lakes, and mixed woodland make it the ideal place to visit with our Airstream. It kind of feels like cottage country, and with Verona being so small, the lovely mix of wildlife, vast expanses of nature, clean fresh air and peacefulness has me feeling right at home in the country. And when it comes right down to it, I’m a country girl at heart.

Agnes and Wally have a lovely older home with a big backyard, large lovely trees, a lake just a stones throw away and a humorous gaggle of Chipmunks that squabble for food amongst each other. I can say that I’ve never hand-fed or petted a little Chipmunk. They’re really quite sweet!

Typical of many small towns and cities, a Farmer’s Market was in full swing early Saturday morning. I really love to support local farmers, especially when they opt for environmentally friendly practises in their food production. It’s interesting to find myself so instantly at home in this small community. I can walk everywhere quite easily. Parking our Airstream on the front lawn was not an issue either (which in larger communities, this can pose a problem). Seems that as long as I have Wifi, space to stretch, breath and move, and readily available healthy eating options, I am happy to settle down wherever we may wander. Life is good!

Another Amusement Park

Marineland swingsBeluga WhaleWith my Father heading south of the border for the day, my older sister and nephew had the urge to go to Marineland with Forrester’s friend Ryan. So if we wanted to spend the day visiting with my oft-not-visited family, it meant going against all my urges of supporting a Zoo (of sorts), that housed large marine animals in small close quarters, with my entrance fee. Although I adore animals of all types, especially the aquatic kind, I have a hard time justifying the ethicality of training and housing such animals in zoos and enclosed parks, especially as their home is as vast as the oceans. After watching the movie “The Cove”, seeing dolphins enclosed in such facilities is heartbreaking. Dolphins by the way are probably my favourite animal, their intelligence & beauty admiral and breathtaking. Here’s a unique tidbit of trivia: Did you know that dolphins sleep with one eye open? By keeping a one-eyed vigil, this highly gregarious mammal can keep alert for predators with an open eye, and the closed eye allows for their brain to rest.

What I didn’t expect to find at Marineland was a love for the Beluga whale. I adore whales of all kinds, and never having witnessed a live Beluga, I fell fast and hard for their pristine white pureness. The Mama and babies played a tug of war at my heart, as sets of at least ten Mother whales swam and bonded in unison, dancing playfully with their newborn calves.

With our visit to Darien Lake only last week, both slaDE and I were curious about the funfair rides here at this park.

Marineland Sky Screamer

What I discovered about Marineland’s vast grounds is that the rides are spread out over a vast territory which meant large jaunts between the really cool pleasure thrills and coasters.

sKY Flight

By far, my favourite adrenaline spin was on the ‘Sky Streamer’: a freefall tower that offered incredible views of Niagara Falls, the burgeoning Niagara River and the surrounding natural beauty. I live for intense free-floating negative G-force surges such as this! Pure exhilaration. A skydiving exit from a balloon is very much like the drop on the Sky Screamer, albeit with a parachute on my back, the leap of faith is much longer and within my control.

The day ended with us enjoying a luscious meal at the ‘Smokin Buddha‘, listening to live music on the patio, carefree and loving life!

A walk down memory lane

skateboarding funMy family came to visit us at Skydive Burnaby on Tuesday morning. I was really looking forward to spending time with my older sister and her son Forrester, as it has been way too long since we’ve shared a vacation together. Dad was bringing his 5th wheel Titanium 34 foot trailer along for the ultimate in camping experience, which they in turn parked beside us for the ultimate in convenience and proximity. With the beach only a quick 12 minute walk away, swimming inLake Erie would be one of the highlights of our time spent together.

Dad bike

With picture perfect weather, Blue and I walked down to the beach, whilst slaDE towed the boys on their skateboards with a borrowed bicycle. Dad enjoyed a leisurely exploration of the area on his freecycled 10 speed, perusing all the antique tractors used by locals to tow their boats down to the Lake’s edge.

Of all the pinnacle moments of the two days spent together, my favourite highlight were moments shared watching scanned slides from our childhood. With my memory being somewhat foggy for much of my youth, having a running commentary from Dad and Blue on each and every photograph was truly priceless. The sort of moments that I wish I could capture forever, a digital voice recording of sorts would have been ideal.

slaDE ran the whole show, starting from the early days of our youth right through to our adolescent years (in the process of scanning 1000’s of slides, I had each photo categorized in yearly folders from 1966 to 1989), connecting our HD TV to the laptop and navigating whilst we sat back and enjoyed our stroll down memory lane. Priceless entertainment. Just wish my Mom and younger sister could have been here!

family

Mini-Golf with Friends

mini-golfIt’s interesting to see how different people interact when placed in a competitive sport of sorts. When I was a kid, I never really had great skill in the athletics department, so when I excelled at skydiving and yoga in my later years, I literally felt my spirit soar. As a teenager, I dabbled in such sports as badminton, track and field, competed in and eventually coached gymnastics, but I was clumsy, self-conscious and awkwardly trying to fit in.

Lovely familyToday, my bestest girlfriend and two sets of twins joined their Aunt Joan and uS in a playful round of mini-golf. As soon as we started, I could see the competitive edge to the boys. But after some discussion, our team agreed that the scoring didn’t matter and instead decided to just fun and enjoy the glorious warm summe’s day.

I’m still as clumsy as ever, not very lithe, nor succinct in my shots, but boy, did I ever have a blast! When it comes right down to it, it’s the quality of time spent together with my dear friends and family. Life is so inherently short, why not enjoy it with each and every breath and putt putt?

Just one of those days

One of those daysEver have one of those days when you just want to throw in the towel and go home to Mom and family? I had one of those today. So I’m thinking that I will, go home and nest. Solo. To be with family for the weekend, enjoying my parents’ new puppy dog ‘Reggie’. I’ve been forewarned however. Now that I have a new ‘sibling’  sister in the family, I better bring Reggie a new play toy and housewarming gift! Egads, my Mother is certainly smitten with her new baby (part Blue Healer but mostly Border Collie). Bonus that my younger sister and husband will be there! Fabulous :). This visit has been a long time coming and I’ve promised to spend some time scanning in slides so that they can be accessed and viewed digitally. This is a BIG job, as there are thousands of photos from our childhood to be gone through, sorted and then scanned. This just might be the first of many trips this summer to Mom and Pats, especially with this scanning job. :).

It was interesting, speaking with my sister today. How she feels that in as she ages and grows, she feels a need to spend more time with our parents. That semblance of mortality closing in, of only having this present moment, and wanting to make each moment ‘count’. And knowing that our family are around for a finite, undetermined time, the desire to go home is strong and true, for both of us, especially with my track record for travel and winters spent in warmer climes.

Airstream yogaFLIGHT (aka Coming Home)

Today was just another day in the world of sKY and slaDE in our life on the road. We planned to do some shopping at the Airstream store and then try to get away at a decent hour so that we could bypass traffic in Toledo and Detroit. But before our departure, slaDE wanted to introduce yogaFLIGHT to a Canadian couple from Sechelt, British Columbia who are travelling the world in their PanAmerican Airstream, with their lovely dog Violet. Laurie and Gary are about our age, who are happy active Snowbirds like us, spending approximately 6 months of their time in Canada and 6 months in the USA .

CharlesSo right in the middle of the Airstream Customer Service lobby, slaDE lay out his mat and demoed yogaFLIGHT. What a sight to behold! A small crowd gathered around Laura flying. So mesmerized was Charles (a curious bystander) in watching what the body could do upside down in yogaFLIGHT, he was fully up for the adventure of trying it! I would guestimate that Charles is in his mid-70’s, and Charles was not at all intimidated by his age and unknown capabilities. Very impressive indeed! Gary was up next. And then we felt the need to make our way northbound, attempting to avoid traffic. It was only after we purchased our final goodies from the Airstream store that we ran in to a unique couple from Arizona. As it turns out, Charron and Alexander had somehow heard of us and yogaFIGHT through some of their friends on facebook. It was an interesting phenomenon to meet 2 strangers who knew us because of yogaFLIGHT reputation. Perhaps it had something to do with their unique ‘Airstream roadshow’ talents: Charron is a tattoo artist, and both of them are sword swallowers (website link).

As we made our way through the remains of Ohio and Michigan, I had these interesting sensations of completion set in to the core of my belly. That feeling of ‘coming home’, although we towed our physical address behind us in the form of our 34.5 foot Airstream trailer. Although the boundaries between the USA and Canada is a topographically fixed entity, the actual differences between the two countries, its people and culture is surprisingly idiosyncratic and noteworthy. Hard to explain, unless of course you’re a Canadian and reading this :).

Home

Crossing the border was once again, literally a breeze. Not only did the lovely Custom’s Officer question us politely and succinctly, she not once bothered to look at our Airstream, let alone get up to examine it or the truck’s contents. Amazingly blessed each and every time that our transition across borders is with ease and comfort. Of course we have nothing to hide, having all of our purchase receipts at the ready with factual dates and times available if questioned thusly. However, it just rounds out our trip experience to the fullest when one is not deemed a ‘delinquent’, which can often be the case when crossing between countries (and I proffer this up, banking from my own vast personal travel experience from the past 24 years).

They say: ‘Home is where the heart is’. I’d like to extend that to ‘Home is where the heart is and the roots have been firmly planted in one’s soul, physically, mentally and familiarly.’ Canada and Family will always be my home away from home. Having the ability to return to both my Mother and Father’s different farms has me melt back into the memories of yesteryear, of which my soul has grown far beyond measure and flight. Blessed be to have this home to return to whilst my parents live on. Blessed be.

Gout & Cross Country Adventures

Within a months time span, slaDE and I have been blessed twice with the company of my Father w/hen he made a cross-country truck trip from home — Ontario. On Dad’s first visit, I was very tempted to travel back home with him. I’m feeling a bit homesick and weary of the Calgary winter, longing for a much-needed vacation. Florida was our last spontaneous trek of any length, and prior to that, our Level 3 Yoga teacher training in Abbotsford. Before that a blur of travel and momentous occasions (i.e. our wedding, Nelson yoga retreat, Lost Prairie, etc). Experiencing a whirlwind summer and then living through a quiet snowy haze has left me wanting and longing for more. I dream and yearn for the day when we can set foot in our Airstream and travel at our whims delight! Never in my life have I ever been so busy with such a full-on schedule. Adjusting to a full-time job after contracting for 7 luxurious years was quite difficult and extremely challenging. but 2 years into it, I’m enjoying my life and the community of friends and yoga I’ve built at work. But holy smokes, teaching 4-6 classes on top of full-on employment has left me feeling rather drained and looking for a retreat of any kind. And that opportunity came when Dad ran solo this trip out to Calgary. Spontaneous travel is my forte, so I decided that now was an opportune time to head back home on a quick visit. It’s been ages since I’ve run a long trip with my Father. Unfortunately slaDE~ has less freedom in taking a vacation, so this trip is a solo journey for me, for uS. However, I am truly happy to spend this quality time with Dad. Little did I know how eventful and meaningful it would be!

When Dad arrived in Calgary Sunday morning, he was suffering immensely with a swollen inflamed ankle and a gout-riddled right foot (of course that would happen to be the foot he has to use the most when driving — poor Dad; driving an 18 wheeler and suffering such pain is not a pleasant or meaningful way to live through one’s days). In the afternoon, we spent some quality educational time with my herbologist friend Ray, who provided a consult with my Dad on trying to help cure his gout naturally. Although we intrinsically believe in healing without the use of pharmaceutical drugs, when immediate relief is needed and a short-term solution has to be guaranteed, sometimes medicine is the only way to go, unfortunately. An eventful evening was spent dodging between hospitals for the quickest possible way to see a Doctor for my Dad’s serious gout inflammation. With the hospitals behind us, we dropped Dad off at his truck and went home to spend a lovely evening together before my journey adventures.

I was up until about 3am packing, cooking and tidying up. The night before any big trip is usually rather hectic. Although I’m not a big time procrastinator, I find that things on my to-do list scramble for individual attention, like needy children yelling “me first, me first!”. And being a good ‘mother’, I have a hard time favoring one task over another. Hence prioritizing objects is not my strength nor forte. Especially knowing that I’d be getting up in 2.5 hours. BlaH!

Sleeping solidly and soundly (but never enough with only 2+ hrs to my name), the alarm clock bolted me out of bed so that I could get slaDE off to his work for 6am, shuttling the car to my workplace, only to arrive 2 hours early. Double blaH! Luckily I had things to do, ‘gripping’ enough to keep me wakeful through the morning.

Family is where it is at

It was a fabulous weekend for family … Bill celebrated his 84th birthday and my Father came to town on Sunday night. Dad was just passing through for a quick visit, but in this instance, quality is always better than quanitity.
Dad, my husband slaDE~ and I

We all savoured a fabulous succulent meal at ‘Moti Mahal’. Fine Indian food dining at its best, in my own humble opinion.
Dad and Bill and I
I was delighted for Dad to finally meet Bill (they mutually felt the same). Trying to tie these two men down for dinner is a difficult feat as it is, but at the same time in the same city, magic!
Dad and Bill

The next morning we were able to share in a hearty breakfast and some stretching and yoga postures, before Dad hit the road in his big shiny fancy transport truck.
Dad and his truck

Top Ten Father’s Day Movies

As posted on Kaboose, Jane Louise Boursaw picks her top 10 favourite Father’s Day movies. Click on the movie title link to see a YouTube video … hope that you enjoy!!

#10
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
When eccentric single-dad Caractacus Potts invents a revolutionary car, a foreign government becomes interested and will do anything to get their hands on it.

#9
Father of the Bride
George and Nina Banks are the parents of young Annie, whose journey from girlhood to womanhood has seemed oh so short. She’s just about ready to head down the aisle, which has George shaking in his sneakers.

#8
Paper Moon
Newly orphaned Addie temporarily falls into the care of small-time con artist Moses Pray when he gives her a lift to her aunt’s house. Turns out she’s the better grifter and he’s not such a loner.

#7
Mr. Mom
When Jack loses his job, he and wife Caroline decide that he’ll stay home with the kids while she goes off to work. Oh, if he only knew what he was getting into…

#6
National Lampoon’s Vacation
Chaos ensues when the Griswold family embarks on a cross-country road trip to the Wally World theme park.

#5
Field of Dreams
An Iowa corn farmer hears voices in his head commanding him to build a baseball diamond in his fields. Once he does the Chicago Black Sox show up to play, including one very special player.

#4
About a Boy
Hugh Grant plays a London hipster who passes himself off as a single dad to meet women—sure of his ability to say buh-bye when they talk commitment. But his bachelorhood is in jeopardy when he meets 12-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) and his hippie mom (Toni Collette).

#3
Three Men and a Baby
Three bachelors find themselves forced to take care of a baby left on their step by one of the guy’s girlfriends.

#2
Parenthood
Gil and Karen Buckmans are your average Midwestern couple, dealing with high-stress jobs and estranged relatives, all the while raising their kids to be good people. And somehow, they never lose their sense of humor – especially Gil.

#1 (One of my top picks as well!)
The Pursuit of Happyness
uring a string of bad luck, single dad Chris Gardner finds himself living in shelters and eating at soup kitchens, all the while telling his son that even though times are hard, he’ll always be there for him.