Saturday, December 27, 2003

"Everything is going to be alright, when we go Shopping" - BNL, Everything, 2003

What will I do if they ever stop recording?

I never thought I would say this about a band but the Barenaked Ladies have done it again with their latest album - Everything.

Driving today in the Red Subaru on the way to exchange some gifts and pick up some for my family Christmas (we've spent Christmas with D's family and are heading to see my on Monday for new years! woo hoo), I decided I would enjoy a little 'me' time and listen to what I now know believe to be my favourite present.

I just fell in love with every song. Every single one. Everything, you might say.

Each one was unique but catchy. I found myself singing along instantly. The words are always so true. So poetic but not pretentious. And every time I hear a new album by them, I feel like they've been living part of my life while writing the new songs because I find I relate to so many of them, in so many ways.

I recommend this band for anyone who has a sense of humour but can appreciate the importance of a correctly place phrase.

They're no “Jennie from the Block” - they actually continue to live in the same city they grew up in, write about places in Canada and still live fairly down to earth lives - I suppose as much as can be expected.

They've only been a hit the U.S. since their Stunt album but I remember the first concert I went to. In was at the London Western Fairgrounds in 1991 and some how, me and two of my friends had managed to get in the front row.

I had gone that day with my parents to the fair but, being a cool teenager, I must have gone off with my friends at night to see they play.

We were so squished. People were jovial, though, swaying back and for the to classics such as ‘Be My Yoko Ono’ and ‘Brian Wilson’. We kept smiling at each other. We had been sneaking and squeezed our way to the front.

I could smell smoke all around me. Those were the days when I swatted it out of my face. In later years, I would scowl at people like that as I was hacking away on a butt.

It must have been about halfway through when things got more exciting.

Ed Robertson had a mohawk the size of DJ Jazzy Jeff back then. He was strumming away on the right side of the stage. As he turned with a goofy look, I pointed my fingers up at him. He pointed out to me and gave me a nod. I started screaming with excitement. Could it be? This band I had listened to on the radio and bought their newest album were actually in front of my eyes and one of the members just gave me a wave?

It was a pretty real moment for my hormones and me.

I got this idea. Perhaps, now that I’m at the front, I could somehow get pushed over to the other side of this barrier and be closer to them. Perhaps it could all be happening.

Perhaps someone who was being body surfed over the people thought he was being helpful when he fell on my head and pushed it towards the metal bar.

I screamed. I was now dying. I must have had a concussion or at least have broken the skin. I was definitely going to pass out.

I have always been quite melodramatic.

The security guards pulled me from behind the barriers – and there they were. For a brief second, all that stood between the band and I was the wooden stage and about 4 feet of height.

And then it was over. Whisked away by security guards I didn’t even get to hear them sing one note or see them look at me one time before being sent off the side and into the fairgrounds.

I will always remember that as my Beatles moment – although, I am in now way comparing the genius – however, it’s all relative sometimes when it comes to emotions.

It inspired me so much today just listening to their new stuff, knowing that no matter what they sing, I will always seem to enjoy it.

I’m not sure if it’s them or me or a combination of both but I’m glad I’ve stuck with a band with staying power. I’m not sure what I’ll do if they stop recording.

Monday, December 22, 2003

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

So, just realized that there are actually awards for doing this kind of thing:

The best of British blogging

Who knew?

Well, obviously a bunch more people than myself.

It strikes me as funny. Blogging - to me - is essentially a form of diary writing. Having it recognized in such an official way makes it a bit more important.

I'm still quite a virgin to the whole underground world of the blog so perhaps others have a different take on what a blog actually is and how you define it.

Some blogs I go to tend to have so much information that I am immediately overwhelmed and click the 'back' button faster than you can say "blog".

I like when blogs have links within their posts. But a link every other word makes my head spin. Did somebody really love so many things within a span of writing for 20 minutes that they had to send me off into the neverland of the Internet 15 different times?

It's hard enough to follow the websites that I like at the moment...I don't need someone throwing in a bunch more into the mix.

If I could add any criteria to the awards it would be this:

I'm interested in what YOU have to say. Not what else you think I should read. Keep me on YOUR pages because that's where I really want to be. I can use Google for everything else.

I don't mean to sound harsh, whiney or complaining. It's simply an observation.

I will say the award winners got my attention. And gave me some inspiration.

A Bit of Closure

Just a note on the funeral I went to today for my friend Thea. It was quite perfect. So many nice things were said about her. I had a good cry, saw some old friends and said one last goodbye to the lady who loved purple.

I will miss her very much but as the funeral director said (and I'm paraphrasing)

"She will always be alive in the love and memories you have for her"

They played a great blue grass song at the end with the chorus - "She Just Wants to Dance". I have a nice image burned into my brain of Thea dancing her heart out. That would be her little piece of heaven I'm sure.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Some Additions

I've just made additions to my the side bar. It was fun to get into geeky code and just fiddle around.

Now, if I could only figure out how to make it look a bit prettier...

The Wake

We have Thea's wake today. I'm not sure where the origin of wake comes from but on first thought, it doesn't seem to make any sense.

No one is a-wake. Everyone is sad and solemn. Perhaps I'll do some investigation and find out what the purpose of the word is.

A Good Memory

It's funny that I would choose today to suddenly alter my site. Thea loved to get 'into the zone' and go all 'web geeky' into her sites. When we were working on the launch, we would sit in our cubicles, side by side, just tap-tap-taping away on our keyboards. In silence but comfortable in each other's presence.

"Thea?"

tap tap tap

"Hey Thea, I was thinking..."

tap tap-ity-tap tap tap

"We should maybe figure out how we're going to.."

tap tap tap dit-ili-at-tap-tap

I would stand up and peer over at her. Since silence was consent, I assumed she was agreeing with everything I had to say.

"Thea, what do you think?"

She would turn her head - shocked that I was even in the same room.

"Oh sorry, what? I was in the zone"

I think it's nice that I just got into the zone. I will remember that when I am very sad today.
Happy Holidays!

Happy Hanukkah!

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2003

All of your comments warmed my heart and brought a tear to my eye. It is something Thea would have loved so much - women interacting. People, interacting. She loved it when technology brought people together.

Thanks for remembering and honouring her without even knowing who she was.

******

I didn't want to leave this with such sorrow so I am only posting a short one tonight as I'm a bit tired from my new 'day job'. (temp work ended up working out until the end of this week!)


A Friendly Voice

I'm going to hang out with a friend on Friday I haven't seen since June - and a short lunch at that.

I'm so excited.

I just talked to her on the phone.

She sounds amazing. A new place, a new job - her life is just is such a good place right now. And I can hear it in her voice. She is a changed woman.

Guess a lot has changed for both of us over the past year.

I'm enjoying this catching up with people from home.

I hope it doesn't keep me here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

An Incredible Loss

The world has said goodbye to an amazing spirit.

My friend, mentor and pal, Thea Partridge, died suddenly on Monday evening from a brain aneurysm.

She was an amazingly enthusiastic, supportive, innovative, intelligent and fun lady to be around.

I just can't believe it.

She was 54.

So many times, over the past year, she has sent me wonderfully encouraging emails about how I made the right decision, that I would look at the world in a completely different way.

I am so sad.

I am still in shock. We had exchanged emails on Monday morning - both apologizing for being so busy and not yet being able to meet and up and that we would definitely get together after New Years.

And that afternoon, she died.

I sent her a birthday e-card on Monday. Her birthday is on the 18th. I get reminded by BirthdayAlarm.com to send cards to those on my list. I got a second one for Thea - I was going to 'do it later' but decided I might as well set it up to arrive on Thursday as a surprise for her.

Then I got an email from her right away:

> Ab - kind to remember birthday!
> Yup have a 4 day winter wonderland treat
> (Bracebridge/Haliburton) planned for this weekend.
>
> Have a great Christmas & see you whenever you surface
> from family chaos.
>
> When are you heading back to England/Europe?
> Thea


It had arrived Monday morning by accident. I even wrote her an email, apologizing for it not arriving EXACTLY on her birthday. That she could consider it 'an early one'.

I find solace in a post on her website:

http://www.neotale.com/MyStory/end.html

She also kept a blog - in case any of you are interested in what a spectacular soul she was:

http://www.skycave.com/meander/

She inspired me to do so many things. To be something. She was the one who taught me everything I know about web design and content.

Without her, I would not have found the love of blogging.

I will miss you, dear friend, and drink a toast to you this holiday season.

My heart goes out to her husband Dennis. May her smile always shine in your heart.

*******

If, by any chance, you know this woman - her is the obit that ran on canada.com

http://www.canada.com/search/story.aspx?id=fbcaac69-14a9-4c82-86b2-102e96608b95

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

How exciting are comments?

Thanks to the ladies who said hello. I will not write about it any more because I can see myself getting obsessed at what people are saying:)

*****

Taking care of my 15 month old nephew today. He has changed so much since we got home. It's hard to even remember what he was like two weeks ago, let alone a year ago.

D and him are real buddies - which is kinda cute in a way. It's like a trial run for dad-hood...oh goodness...what am I saying? Must be that time of year... or month.

*****

Skating on the weekend was the most amazing experience. Just going around and around the rink, looking up at all the lights, seeing all kids, hearing people speak without accents, seeing the CN Tower.

It just made me realize I'm home. There's snow. There's ice. It's crisp - but not wet cold like England.

And I'm around so many people again.

When we were travelling, I did like the aspect of anonymity. It was really just D and I. I look back and realize it was an amazing experience to have together.

But now, I can also appreciate all those things I took for granted.

This will be a very happy Christmas.

(off to see the little one...they don't give you much time do they?:))

Monday, December 15, 2003

Yippee!

Thanks to my feisty friend, (www.feistyscribe.com) I have now added comments to this site:)

I wonder if this will be counter productive, considering my last post.

Oh well - let's see who's out there, I guess.
My inspiration seems to have failed me in the mornings lately. I find I'm a much better writer at night.

I used to be able to open up my blog, and come out with something half decent.

Now, I seem to struggle first thing in the morning to come up with something interesting to say.

Maybe it's because I know I have now given this web address out. I like that people enjoy what I'm writing. I'm worried, though, that I am thinking too much about what to write instead of just writing it.

I have to try and pretend that I don't know that anyone is reading this. Then, maybe I'll be able to write again.

Isn't that the strangest thing? You want to write to change people's lives, to make a difference, to have your voice heard.

Then, when you know people might be reading, you lose your ability to write.

Bear with me, readers. Perhaps I'm just having a case of the Mondays.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

An Early Christmas Gift

I lost a good friend to an argument a year ago.

I don't think either of us realized how much we were friends until the disagreement.

It took me a whole year to stop being angry. I'm not a petty person. I don't hold grudges. I just felt I had been tricked into counting on someone. And I did.

And I don't count on people. I help others. I support them. But I rarely ask people to help me. Must be the perfectionist part of me.

I don't like to admit that I'm wrong. I'm even worse at apologizing.

And, I don't like to be let down. Usually I keep my expectations low of other people because of this. Sometimes, I get burned.

I got my friend back last night. I said everything I wanted to say. And he listened.

I thought I would never stop being angry. Or hurt or sad. But I have. I realized sometimes you do need to let a fight last so long that you can get over being so upset and forget why you were even mad in the first place. It makes it easier to just say 'I'm sorry' and then continue on being friends.

This year has also taught me a lot about figuring out what is really important and what isn't. I knew my feelings about our disagreement - in which, by the way, he does admit he was completely and utterly at fault - meant it was really important to me to make sure he realized how difficult he made things for me.

At the same time, I also realized that keeping him out of my life was more painful than the hurt I felt about his actions.

It didn't take long for things to feel like they used to. I suppose alcohol does help sometimes for you to say what you really think.

And he will go back on my email distribution list.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

My Old Life?

It's weird to have a social life again - since when did I know so many people?

It's weird to no longer have the time to lounge around - too many people to see and stories to tell

It's bizarre to have multiple outfits to choose from - there was only so much we could fit in our backpacks

It's fun to actually get dressed up to go out - usually it was me and D and some bottles of wine

*****

Tonight, we're going ice skating. Then out with friends in Toronto. I am so excited. It is really a winter in Canada. I can't believe how much I really did miss snow and winter events.

I wrote earlier about fond memories of tobboganning. I have probably only skated about 5 times in the last 6 years so I don't know why I associate that with something that I have been dying to do.

Perhaps it was just knowing that I COULDN'T skate in Leeds - that is what is making me so exstatic.

My Canadian friends must think I'm crazy to m iss the cold. They keep telling me 'give it a while' and then I'll remember what it's really like to live through a Canadian winter. I'm not convinced.

Hopefully, we'll get to have some hot chocolate after skating. That's the best part.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Be Prepared

Energy levels are not high but had a little thought, un-writing, un-travel related to share.

Ladies, put your girls in Girl Guides.

When I lived in Canada, I volunteered as a Girl Guide leader. I did it initially to bring back fond memories as a Brownie, Girl Guide, Pathfinder and yes..a Junior Leader.

I chose Guides because I wanted to lead 9 to 11 year olds. This was definitely the best age to hang out with girls.

Old enough that they're becoming young ladies but young enough that they don't say 'I Hate You" every other sentence.

Tonight, I went back for the annual Christmas party to chat with my leader friends and see how much the girls have grown since I've left. It was so nice to be back with them. Watching them interact with each other. Making them figure out how to do crafts on their own instead of becoming frustrated and doing the craft for them.

And just watching them "be", without feeling the type of pressures they might feel at home or at school.

I'm definitely not one for segregation of the sexes. But, there is something about girls being together that makes them into stronger women.

It gives them time to figure out who they are, without having to worry about whether or not they're impressing the boy they have a crush on. Or stressing over the latest math/english assignment they've been handed.

I remember a potential employer asked me once where I got my confidence from. I told him my parents - because I have amazing ones. I also have a wonderful family unit - both D's and mine - and spectacular friends, especially the ones I've had forever.

I think if I was asked that question again, though, I would say Girl Guides. It was where I learned I could start a fire by myself. It was where I learned I didn't need my dad to put up my tent. It was where I learned the I should listen when other girls are talking and that I can speak my mind and I will be heard.

Support your local Girl Guides. It's an important organization - and more than just good cookies.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Well, temp agencies are what they are cracked up to be.

I'll be offline during the day until the weekend. YAY some extra cash before Christmas:)

Will try and post at night...if my energy levels are up:)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

A Cinderella Story?

Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem real.

I’m moving forward with my writing and my life in a way that I never thought would actually happen. Being the queen of procrastination, I’m quite good at coming up with excuses as to why something hasn’t been done.

But it seems to be happening. And now what? What happens when I really start to get doing exactly what I want to be doing? It’s a bit scary.

It doesn’t involve money. For me, it really has never been about that. I just wanted enough to be able to eventually get a facial and manicure every month – although I’ve never had either so who knows if I even want those on a regular basis. Maybe just frequent shopping sprees. People who don’t have any money do that so I can’t possibly need a fortune to hit the mall every once in awhile.

They always say, do what you love and you will succeed. For a while, I was sure that I could just blame my failures on the fact that I wasn’t doing what I loved.

And when did I stop being worried about failing? It was like this dirty little secret I had with myself. ‘

“Don’t tell anyone you are afraid to fail. They’ll never know. Just don’t do anything worthwhile. And keep making up reasons why you’re not doing exactly what you want to do. Be really good at something you hate. Take all the praise and tell everyone ‘it was nothing’.”

That’s not far from the truth because it actually is just that – nothing.

I have a renewed faith in myself. I won’t kick a gift horse in the mouth and try and figure out where it came from. I thank my lucky stars and my fairy godmother for being the little voice inside my head.

And hope that my chariot doesn't turn back into a pumpkin.

Monday, December 08, 2003

I knew there were things about my personality that would change this year. I wasn't expecting, however, to come home, afraid of barking dogs. I didn't actually realize that I might be afraid of a barking dog until last week, my friend's cute and cuddly golden retriever was trying to protect me from a black garbage bag flying around in the backyard - obviously resembling something like Darth Vader.

When we lived in Leeds, we had a cute little flat on a cute little street. They were row houses - all stuck together - and there were only eight of them. We lived right at the end.

I loved that I felt like I was living in Coronation Street. It was so quaint - so England.

And then I met the dogs.

Mutt #1 - a yippie brown and white small terrier dog with an obvious Napoleon complex and an obsession with protecting its territory.

Mutt #2 - a small black old dog with more of a bark than a howl

Mutt #3 - German Shepherd puppy which grew quite quickly in the time we were there and learned all its life lessons from Mutt #1

My first encounter was leaving for work one morning. It was still dark - as it always is in the winter in England - and it was raining (surprised anyone?).

I walked from my flat door down the street when suddenly, out of the dark and into the rain came these two dogs. Mutt #1 and Mutt #2. I screamed. They barked. Mutt #1 jumped up and took a chunk out of my leg. Not literally, but it was a bite none the less.

That night, after work, I went by the house to tell them about the experience. The woman apologized profusely and told me that if it happened again, they would get rid of the dog. I let her know I was sorry that it may come to that and perhaps it was my fault because I scared them but if they kept them on a leash, or at least got to know me better, it might work out next time.

And so began what would be the most infuriating experience I have ever had with a dog owner.

I love dogs. At the time, I had two dogs of my own, living with my parents. So, this is not about some bitter person who doesn't like them around. I just happen to also respect those people who take responsibility for their animals.

Richard was his name. And being an ignoramus was his game.

He would let his dogs out without a leash every day. He would leave them outside. He would let them jump up on people.

“Aw, love, just give ‘em a kick”

He would have street parties – celebrating a variety of things but it was usually just an excuse to get hammered – and let his dogs run up and down the little lane so that anyone who lived past his house could not get into their own.

He would accuse other people of being afraid of dogs and that it was their problem that the dogs were jumping up.

“Aw, love, they won’t bite”

But Mutt #1 did bite me again. And this time, I got a sob story.

“I’ve had a good cry,” said Richard. “And now I know I have to do the right thing. We’ve got a baby on the way. I’ve got to get rid of the dog.”

It was sad. It really was.

But it was a crock after we heard him confess this four times. Every time the dogs would jump, he would give us this story. He would repeat himself. And he would always be drunk.

I had been as polite as I could be. Until one day, my head exploded.

We had been on a train from Edinburgh all day. I was hungry. All they had on the train were sandwiches (see earlier post) and I was not happy.

We arrived in our cab. The dogs began jumping on the cab – barking at the door as I was trying to get out.

As I eventually emerged, I snapped. (I’m a redhead you see. It takes a while for me to get angry, but when I do, I blow)

I started yelling all those things I ever wanted to say to him when I was polite.

Dogs need good owners – you are not one of them.

Stop letting your dogs jump.

Stop letting your dogs bark.

I am not afraid of dogs

You are an f**king idiot.

It felt great. It felt really great. Dave and Richard’s buddy eventually got us to stop yelling at each other.

And I felt great.

But now, I seem to be a bit afraid of barking dogs.

Thanks Richard – you twit.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

I've missed a couple of days.

I had a couple of interesting experiences since I last wrote and I'm eager to share them.

Sadly, I have been enjoying myself too much the past couple of days to even be in front of a computer.:)

One more day in my good old small town.

My stories will have to wait until tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Food for Thought

I was never a picky eater. Or so my mother tells me.

As a child, I would eat just about anything.

I admit, I will ‘lose my lunch’ if I smell or taste coconut. I usually just say I’m allergic to it because it just makes it easier than going into details. I think it has something to do with my recollection of the smell and the consistency of flaked coconut.

For a while, I went off marshmallows after I ate too many roasted ones camping and made myself sick. I’m sure I stopped eating spaghetti – because of the flu – and oranges – from when my sister had the flu.

But generally speaking, I didn’t have a problem finding something to eat.

When I went away to university, it seemed that my favourite foods just happened to be good for you. Could not get enough of vegetables. Fresh. Canned. Frozen. Bring it on. Ate rice every day. And stopped liking sweet things – chocolate, gummies, ice cream. My only weakness was potato chips. Somehow, my taste buds were helping me out.

Travelling opened up a new world to my mouth. My taste buds, it seemed, would to go on strike, I think, whenever I was starving. And I learned something new about myself.

I don’t like sandwiches. I would go as far to say that I even hate sandwiches – although it is quite a strong word.

All across Europe, do you know what the cheapest, most accessible, easiest-to-eat snack/meal is? It’s a sandwich. Salami cheese on a baguette. Ham and egg on ciabatta bread. Mushy tomato, wilted lettuce and gummy mozzarella cheese in a bun. Chicken salad with three gallons of mayonnaise on bread. Tuna made the same way.

All I ever seemed to want was a salad. With green, red, yellow and orange peppers, juicy tomatoes, thick slices of cucumber, crisp broccoli and cauliflower, spinach and to top it off, a little grated cheese.

The salads were iceberg lettuce, a tomato slice, carrot shreds and – if you’re lucky – some canned corn. Plus, they always seemed to cost twice as much.

I can honestly say, I will be happy if I never see or smell one of those baguette/soggy roll/stale bread things again.

Another reason, it’s great to be home.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Escape Artist

I had a weird feeling this afternoon. I was tying up my shoes to take my friend’s dog for a walk when an eerie question popped into my head.

Am I escaping?

Just like that. It was a question as clear as day. And I had no idea where it came from.

What if, the voice continued, I was even a full time, professional escapist?

I stopped and thought about my actions. I came to some conclusions:

I have moved every year since second year university. I have not had a home longer than 12 months since 1997. I used to think I didn’t like that. But maybe, subconsciously, I did.

I have procrastinated every since grade 7. Procrastination is a form of trying to get away with something - or away from something.

Every day, I come up with a new idea of what I want to be when I grow up. It's like I find ways to start from scratch all over again just so I don't have to justify why I haven't finished what I started.

I have come back to my small hometown to stay for a week. I would stay for two or three if I didn't need money. And yet I know, there's not really anyway I can do the job I want to do from here.

They always say admitting you have a problem is the first step. Except, I don't know that it's a problem. It's just one more characteristic I've realized about myself. Once you realize things about yourself, you either deal with them or you try to change them.

I'm not really afraid to be escaping anymore only because now that I have said it out loud, it's almost like I can move on and stop "running".

I have an exciting project on the go that I’m not quite ready to talk about just yet. It really is exactly what I was looking for all this time. A chance. Just to get my mind back into the game I think I want to be playing.

Maybe that’s why the voice decided it could question me about my escaping habits. Because it knew I now have something that I don’t really want to escape from.

I do hope it’s right. I can feel this is going to take me exactly where I want to go. And it’s like leaving my life last year is becoming worthwhile.

You can travel the world and at the end of the day, get what you want. Of course for me, this is only the beginning. I will have to remember to refer back to this day, this feeling when I’m ready to run again.

Monday, December 01, 2003

There is snow outside and I couldn't be happier.

I never thought I would be happy to see the white stuff again. I didn't even really realize that I missed it. Until I saw it.

When I was little, I remember getting all bundled up with my snow pants and winter jacket - non-matching of course - and going outside to play in the snow. Sometimes is would be snow men. Maybe even as elaborate as a snow family. My sisters and I could never really seem to find a good carrot to stick for their noses. It always seemed we had the dried up shriveled ones that wouldn't actually stick in the packed snow. So the snow people eventually ended up without noses.

If it was the weekend, my dad would pack us up into the large GMC grey van (in later years known as 'The Beast') and drive us over to the hospital grounds where they had THE BEST hill for sledding. My mom would actually be in charge of making sure that we were bundled up. 2 or 3 layers of pants. Undershirts, turtleneck and sweaters. Heavy, rubbery winter boots. Snow pants - which were basically ski pants but since my family didn't ski, no one really ever called them that. Winter jacket - which, as I've said, never ever matched the pants. Our gloves tended to be different colours as well. And they definitely didn't go with our hats or headbands that we would be wearing. Fashion, however, was not something we were really concerned with. It was more keeping warm in the snow.

And so, we'd head out. The drive was only about 5 minutes. But we had tons of sleds and wanted to save our energy to go down the hills.

It would be a race to see who would get to use the best sleds. We had one big one that was wooden. Then, a couple of Magic Carpets, that in reality were really nothing more than sheets of plastic - some marketing genius made a bundle. Sometimes, if my cousins were visiting, they would bring their GT Racers. Those were the real treat. Like driving on snow.

One year, I'm sure we went down on circular plastic sleds although I have no idea what they were called or if they were even that fun.

It was the racing, really, that was the most fun. My sisters could never really understand that now matter which snow riding vehicle they had, they could never beat me. Learn a little bit about physics and the largest always tends to have the fastest ride. I think that will probably be the only time I was ever happy to be larger than my sisters.

The cold would eventually set in after HOURS of fun...Time is so different as a kid. I'm sure we were only there for about 45 minutes each time. But we would start to get wet and damp. The excitement of going down the hill eventually did not outweigh the exhaustion from walking back up.

Someone would start crying. Probably my brother as he was the youngest. It was either because he was cold, tired or one of us stole his sled.

So, my dad will pile us all back into the van and drive up the road and around the corner to the warmth of our house.

And then, my favourite part. My mom would have hot chocolate. Warm and creamy. I don't remember what snack it was - cookies, cake - I just remember the hot chocolate. And the cozy fire. Crackling and sizzling. The best part about being in the snow was getting back inside.

D and I were recently in Prague - a beautiful city with loads of character. At the end of each day, we would head over to our favourite tea house for some apple strudel and hot tea.

Some things never change I guess because that was my favourite part of the day.