Touch screen magic

If you can’t suspend your disbelief, then read no further. If you can, let me know what you think of this 🙂

We recently enjoyed a fleeting moment of contact with my mother….from that other side, whatever and wherever that may be. We believe we had contact with her, anyway —  and that is that.

It requires a bit of back story to set up why we attach significance to what happened this week. All opinions are my own. Here is the back story:

I loved (love!) my Mom deeply, though ours was not a relationship devoid of misunderstandings and stress. When I was very young, I could do no wrong in her eyes; when I became an adult, our relationship never quite “jelled” and so I was particularly bereaved when she passed. I was only 30 years old, a new mother myself…..and I wanted more time for us to learn to understand and appreciate each other. We had so much left to say, prides to swallow, defenses to let down….that sort of thing. I especially had and have trouble with the fact that she hasn’t been here through the raising of my children. Doesn’t every mom need her own mom there for support and advice? Doesn’t every child need its grandparents?

I recall my mother as a mainly serious person — recalling her stories of dropping out of school after grade 8 to work and eventually help support her mom and four siblings after her dad died (she was only 15….). Or recalling my mother on the beach at Long Point, blowing a whistle at my siblings and me if we went out too far into the lake. There were other very serious and even sad times for my mother, and if you know us at all, you may recall those times. The last year as she suffered through emphysema/COPD it was particularly tough (most of the suffering largely unknown to any of us, except my dad) , but that last year had some happy times, too.

Sometimes my mother was humourous —- but rarely, if ever, was she silly. The moments that she was humourous or silly by accident, however, revealed a certain vulnerability about my mom that was especially endearing to me. A welcome chink in her armour.  The sprinkler story is one of those times. It came in 1996…the last summer that my mom was alive.

That summer, my mother wanted a new sprinkler, a particular type of sprinkler — but she didn’t know what it was called. My dad had a hard time understanding what she wanted and assured her that they had a sprinkler. She said, “No, no, not that kind…..this kind”. She then lifted her arm and moved it slowly in intervals across her body with a punctuated vocalization…Chick   chick    chick   chick    chick    chick   [pause]  and then released her arm quickly to the starting position chkchkchkchkchkchkchkchk. [Onomatapeaia is hard to write!!]. It was an impact sprinkler that she wanted!

My father brought up Mom’s Sprinkler Impression a fair bit that year, reminding mom that it was important to be able to laugh at ourselves. “C’mon, Joyce, show them the sprinkler” he would say. And if we were lucky, she gritted her teeth through her embarassment  Chick chick chick chick chick chick [pause]  chkchkchkchkchkchkchkchk…. and we all shared a much needed laugh, my mother included. After Mom was gone, we still talked about it lovingly. And after dad passed, we still talked about it and told our kids, too. Steven and I really should buy an impact sprinkler. Maybe now we will.

Which brings us back to this week. But not quite, because I have to tell you something about my iPhone… touch screen smart phone, which is smarter than me, and which I have had for several years. The touch screen can be annoying if it isn’t locked: in my pocket, my unlocked phone screen will randomly activate one of two things without my permission from the home screen: open iTunes to play random music (okay, usually Rufus Wainwright) or pocket-dial someone on my “favourites” list of 8 phone numbers. That’s it. Two things. iTunes. Pocket dial. From the home screen. Remember that.

We were camping at Long Point this week, the place of my most cherished, happy, family times. As far as I understand, our Fawcett family camped there before I was born, and I definitely camped there with my parents and older siblings from infancy to my teenage years, c. 1982. That last time was with my parents and just me, and a friend. At that point, my three older siblings had all flown the coop and my parents — tired of sleeping on the ground in a tent — had bought a used tent trailer. Then in 2004, Steven and ( started camping there with our own children, joined for some years by one of my brothers and his family and my sister and her family. Then, it was just Steven and I and our three kids and we still camp there.

On the first night of our trip this week, our oldest, Alexandra, and I had a very significant hurdle to jump together as mother and daughter, hand in hand. She is growing up. FAST. I want to be respectful. I want to set limits. I want her to continue to grow and not need me. All the while having her still need me a little. The hurdle we jumped went really well! If you are a parent, you know that emotionally charged bumps in the road can go either way with your teenager — it’s a bit of a crap shoot! 🙂 After we arrived on common ground, it was business as usual as we continued setting up camp for the night.

Steven and I — tired of sleeping on the ground in a tent — bought our own used tent trailer this year. I was arranging a few things in it, and Alex came in to get something. A magical parenting moment happened. I thanked her for talking through things with me. She told me she understood my concerns and that it was all good. We finished each others sentences and giggled a bit. It seemed significant — one of those parenting moments when you realize you handled an issue well, where you could relax a bit in the knowledge that you might be doing okay as a parent, navigating those tricky teenage years. I told Alex that honestly, one day when she hopefully had a teenaged daughter of her own, she would totally see where I was coming from. That she would have an “a-ha” moment, remember what we had just experienced and understand why I sometimes reacted the way I did when we disagreed…and that she would understand even more why my favourite quote about motherhood is that being a mother is to forever feel as though your heart is walking around outside your body. We hugged.

I realized at that moment that I forgot something in the car, and left the trailer to retrieve it. Alex went back to the group. As I walked back from the car and past our little group, I heard a sound. A faint sound. Looking around, I couldn’t identify it. The sound seemed to be coming from my pocket. Was it a pocket-dialed friend telling me to hang up my phone? No, not a voice. Was it a song playing in iTunes? No, not a song. The sound seemed strange, but also familiar, tugging at my brain as I took my phone out of my pocket……and saw something on the screen that I didn’t know I had. A sound that I have never used or known existed, buried in a nature sounds iPhone app I bought once on a lark. An iPhone app that is, in turn, buried deep in my iPhone on the third page of apps.

Chick chick chick chick chick chick chkchkchkchkchkchkchkchk   Chick chick chick chick chick chick chkchkchkchkchkchkchkchk Chick chick chick chick chick chick chkchkchkchkchkchkchkchk Chick chick chick chick chick chick chkchkchkchkchkchkchkchk

I couldn’t believe my ears or eyes. I took a screenshot. Shared with my loved ones. Shed some tears at the closeness I felt as things came full circle.

Chick chick chick chick chick chick chkchkchkchkchkchkchkchk

She seemed to be saying, Yes, one day you will realize that being a mother is to forever feel as though your heart is walking around outside your body.



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July 10/2013 – I Don’t Sew

I don’t sew.

This reminds me of the time we took the kids (and us) to get new ice skates. We went to Listowel, Ontario to the place with the widest selection and best selection, or so we had been told. Steven’s sister had recently moved from Whitehorse to a country property near Fergus and we would be going ice skating — for the first time in 14 years of marriage — on her pond. The skating store in Listowel is apparently THE place to go in Southwestern/Southern Ontario for all things skating, from skates to costumes to supplies. Steve sat down to try on the best skates they had for his size — figure skates, which are a better fit apparently for huge feet like his….and they were the race-car equivalent of figure skates in terms of sleekness and agility. Steve is a big, strong 6′ 4″ farmer – and was a little bulkier at that time than he is now. He was not what you would call an obvious figure skater. Seriously. But the fit and comfort of the skates were alluring and they impressed him immensely.

As the owner laced up the black Ferrari’s onto his feet, she asked nonchalantly, “Will you be doing much jumping?”, to which he replied drily, “Only if I have to.”

Which brings me back to sewing: Only if I have to.

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July 10/2013 Pop-Up Trailer – Starting Out

Here is our new to us pop-up trailer! Looking forward to redecorating. Steve can worry about electrical and plumbing and license, etc.. My job is redecorating (with his measuring and calculating advice) and packing. Here we go!!! Before pictures, followed by a bit of a mock-up (no sew cushion covers) before the hard work is done (measuring, cutting, sewing).





For redecorating colours, I found a gorgeous colourful fabric napkin at Pier 1 and striped outdoor cushions at Canadian Tire that sort if match…Pier 1 also had a solid teal blue cushion that ties them together. Colours all together: teal blue, muted turquoise, deep red, muted lime green, medium yellow, sandy-beige.


But bench cushion covers and curtains? No clue. Thanks goodness for IKEA and Steve!! We went yesterday and I had a vague idea of buying bed sheets to cover all the bench cushions and make curtains. With duct tape, glue, staples, whatever. I’d measured everything in the trailer the day before so I was reasonably ready.

In the “As Is” section at IKEA, I spotted a nice deep red sofa cover and passed it over because it wasn’t a simple flat fabric remnant I could tape or glue (or sew?) around cushions. Steve had a vision though and it worked! The four cushions (2 seats, 2 backs) fit the width of our cushions perfectly, and the extra length could be tucked in. Voila! Cushion covers in actual upholstery fabric with actual piping – and new seeing involved 🙂 He then suggested a duvet cover to house both the seat and back cushions on the bigger bench (I thought we needed a neutral so I chose a sandy-beige that matched a stripe in one if the cushions)…a little tucking here and there and voila! No sewing!

We replaced the bunk curtains with a shower tension rod and IKEA fabric shower curtain. I have to shorten it, but may just use the adhesive hemming tape I found at Michaels — yipeeeee!! We’ll keep the upholstery covers on the mattresses and I’ve simply covered them with fitted sheets.



Next: white sheet curtains

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December Holiday!

Can’t believe I haven’t blogged here since the summer — too much microblogging/blogging in Facebook and Twitter….and, of course, work in and for my classroom. I already miss summer, looking at the photo at the top of this page. The snowy photos I post today are in huge contrast!

This seems to be a good set of photos to start with since my last [summer] entry featured what Steve and Will called “The Portal”, an “archway” made by two trees which Steven had trimmed, making a passageway to the front field. Here is a wintertime view of the Portal, plus tobogganing photos we took once we passed through!


We’re lucky to have such great hills at the front of our farm and actual snow this year suitable for tobogganing….plus because this field was in soy beans this year and not corn, we have a smoother field 🙂







(Grace and Sadie have really grown!)

And finally, token picture of Alex, who couldn’t be out because she was inside feeling not so great…


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Overgrowth clean up & hike!

Every so often, the brush along our laneway needs cleaning up, lest the leafy “tunnel” at the bottom our lane grows further up and turns the laneway into a scene from a sci-fi thriller. Steve takes the initiative for this of course, and today he let me wield my own smaller scale pruning device.



Me resting on “dog level” – here’s my view – lol! (in my defense I had just walked 3km before joining in and cutting for a while!)



We reclaimed 10 feet of space in the section we worked on! Steve also removed fencing this week (hopefully we won’t have such terrible wi ter snow drifting as a result). He also removed fence between the front fields and we too a nice walk with Sam & Will and the puppies (Alex was off being a teenager 🙂 for the evening).

Pictures start with Will walking down a path Steve cut to the tree “portal” into the front field



View back up to the house and barn


A farmer, outstanding in his field 🙂


The farmer takes a wife, the farmer takes a wife…. (sorry, couldn’t resist!)


Checking out the damage from a flock of geese that took up residence in the spring… 😦 We lost about a third of an acre of soybeans!


Check out that dry ground – yikes!




Anyone know what this incredibly tall weed is??



Steve standing beside an evergreen tree he planted as a tiny seedling when we moved her in ’97. 🙂


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Camping Day 5…home…and back to Long Point for a night!

Here are some pics from our last day at Long Point last week — we packed in the rain and have been busy ever since…getting home, getting Alex to work, etc etc (Why does it always rain when we either set up or take down?)

The rain stopped enough for us last week to have a lunch snack before leaving and the nice dude at the neighboring site snapped this for us


No trip to Long Point would have been complete without a trip to Bub’s Variety. It has been at Long Point long before I was born….it has been there for
probably 60 years. Plywood floors, all tour beach and campsite/cottage needs, candy room with Pixie stucks and candy bars and gum. The earthy smell of the store is the same now as it ever was and transports me back to childhood every time 🙂






Visiting the public beach: Bub’s and the public beach are right beside the old Cottonwood campground from my childhood…didn’t have running water or bathrooms in recent years which is why so many families chose the “new park” down the road where we camp now.




The neatest part of the end if the trip was that ALEX drove home….everything comes full circle and I like that. Hopefully one day, Alex, Sam and Will’s daughters or sons will drive them to or from Long Point 🙂


Stopped at Hewitt’s Dairy in Hagersville on the way home. The puppies stayed asleep the whole way!



We have been home for nearly four days, but are headed back to Long Point today (Monday) for one night — to visit with my brother Stephen, who has come from Quebec with his partner Denise ( we see Stephen about ince a year). My other brother David will visit with us for the day, and tomorrow our sister Denise will join us with our niece Amy, her son Wyatt and new baby Claire, who we have yet to meet. Very excited!!!!

Best part of an overnight trip: Steven realizes that I don’t unnecessarily overpack —even for one night you need a whole whack of stuff for shelter! I guess today will be called Camping Day 6 even though we’ve been home. in between? lol!!

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Camping Day 4!

Today started out with some very much needed cloud cover. We understand that there was a short thunderstorm last night back home, but fortunately we didn’t get more than a little sprinkling. Steve and I battened down the hatches last night just in case, and brought Grace and Sadie into their puppy crate in our tent. Like clockwork, the pups were up at 5:50 and we had a nice romantic early morning walk.

A little reverse psychology worked as of today – the kids have had free access to Nutella the whole trip and today they said, “Can we have something that’s NOT Nutella for breakfast?” LOL! So today I scrambled eggs and cooked bacon on the BBQ.

Our friend Jenny arrived with her daughter Madeleine (one of Alex’s ‘besties’) and son and his friends. Worked out well as it gave Steve and I an opportunity to sneak into town to get some treats for my friend’s daughter Megan’s birthday!

The beach was totally different today! Lake was smooth as glass and cooler. Sun came out mid afternoon and we all made a point of visiting in the shade of the umbrellas.






Birthday surprise!




Megan likes to ham it up…


Steve and the flame thrower…and amazed bystanders


Final notes….
Me: I can’t believe this is our last night.
Steve: I can’t believe we stayed this long.
Me: It feels like we just got here
Steve: It feels as if we’ve been here for a week, a month, a year…..timeless actually.

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