Thursday, June 20, 2013

S'mores and Salsa

This weekend I had the privilege of hosting my Colombian friends for a campfire. Marcela and I work together but have quickly become much more than just coworkers. Instant friends and, dare I say, kindred spirits.

I have gotten to know her adorable family and invited them over to my patio on Saturday night. I didn't realize until they arrived that this would be their first time having s'mores! Yes, it's true.

Martina was a little scared of the fire at first, but, after a while she was right up there with the roasting stick. Matias preferred the marshmallows raw. When Marcelo tried to get him to try a toasted one, he just kept saying "caliente" (hot).

Before long we were having a salsa dance lesson. It was so cute seeing the two little ones dancing. Matias just liked to kick his right leg - his signature move! Ha ha.

We capped the night off with some sparklers, another first for the kids. Again, a little scary at first but pretty fun after they realized it was ok.

This is exactly why I love having a house. Having a backyard. We had such a great night just hanging out on the patio. Thanks Marcela & co.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad!

Things I love about my dad:

  • the quiet way he sizes up a situation
  • his years of experience spoken as advice
  • he knows how to do most things I need help with :)
  • he's a farmer
  • the love of country music he instilled in me
  • when he plays a practical joke
  • his sentimental side
  • the values that shape who I am
  • when I was little and I could "style" his comb-over LOL
  • teaching me to appreciate a good steak
  • touring us around the countryside when we were kids, giving me the travel bug
  • my big head (inherited)
  • the way he does things like clean out rain gutters, just because he loves me

Thursday, June 06, 2013


Today is June 6. Each year on June 6, I can't help but remember that it was on that date I lost my Grandma Mills. I was only 6 years old when she passed away, and I'm now realizing the impact that had on my young life.

At the time, I don't think I could emotionally process losing someone that played such a huge part in my life. She lived with us and I spent much of my pre-school years with her. I would put on puppet shows for her, play outside while she sat under the car port, we would colour or play hide and go seek (I had an advantage as she was in a wheel chair). Speaking of that wheel chair, I loved hanging on to the handles at the back and catching a ride.

To me, she was exactly what grandmas are supposed to be. She had long white hair that she kept wrapped up in a bun, hands that showed years of hard work and lots of stories from when she was a girl. She was born in 1902 so those stories were almost like fiction to me!

During a recent trip to Petrolia hospital, I had an overwhelmingly emotional moment as I walked past one of the rooms. I remember being in that room when my mom told me that Grandma had died. Thirty years later, it unexpectedly brought tears to my eyes. The same thing happens when I hear the hymn "The Old Rugged Cross". We sang that song at Grandma's funeral and it always stirs up emotions tied to that event.

Emotions can be so powerful. So can memories. I'm thankful to have the ones that I do.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Canada's Real Country Gentleman

What a difference a week can make! Last week I was rockin' out to Dave Matthews. Last night I was singing along with Paul Brandt. The settings were as vastly different as the crowds. DMB played to a huge outdoor crowd, filled with dedicated fans wearing rain gear. Paul Brandt played to an intimate gathering of people in a church. I have been to a lot of concerts in my day, but this one was one of my favourites.

The "Just As I Am" tour is making its way across Canada and is made up of songs from Paul's recent CD of the same name. This album is filled with classic hymns that I grew up listening to/singing since I was a wee girl. Songs like When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder and It Is Well With My Soul.

This concert combined my love of country music and Paul Brandt with the sentimental feelings stirred with such old classics. It was awesome.

What really impressed me was the way Paul interacted with his fans at intermission. He signed autographs and took pictures with everyone that wanted them! He supplied his own sharpie and had someone there to take the picture for you. He asked your name and what you did and really made each person feel like he made a connection with them.

Most people with the success that Paul has had would not have embarked on such a tour. His faith is really important to him and he laid it out there for everyone to see. I already had a lot of respect for this artist, but this just proved to me he's a real gem. Forget about Tommy Hunter, this is Canada's Country Gentleman.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Dave Matthews Band

Someone once told me that the music you love in your teen years will be the music you love forever. I have found this to be true.

I discovered Dave Matthew Band while still in high school. They were the musical guests on Saturday Night Live and when they played "Ants Marching" I was smitten. Since then I have always loved their sound: an eclectic blend of horns and fiddle combined with Dave's distinct voice. Awesome.

So, when my friend Laura asked me if I'd be interested in seeing DMB this summer, I thought it was a great idea. Initially we thought about lawn tickets at Molson Amphitheatre, but opted for seats instead. Unfortunately, we missed the seats that were under the cover. Fortunately, Laura is a smart girl and when she saw the weather that morning, she called TicketMaster and was able to switch them for tickets UNDER the covered part of the amphitheatre.

Despite the rain and chilly temperature, we had a great afternoon wandering downtown. Because it was pouring rain, we lingered a bit at dinner, opting for dessert instead of the opening band. I think this was the best option, really. Who wants to get caught in a downpour and be soaked for the rest of the evening?

We found our seats just as they started to play Tripping Billies. I was happy to hear an old song, as I haven't been keeping up on studio albums for a few years. As we made our way down our row, I couldn't help but notice we were surrounded by some Über fans! I consider myself a fan, but I could not sing every word to every song. My concert neighbours could. In fact, I wondered if they looked at me & Laura with disdain because we were not part of their world.

My favourite part of the show was when they played Ants Marching. Afterall, it was the song that turned me on to the band so many years ago AND I have never experienced them do it live before.

It was a great show, awesome music and about time Laura and I did something like this! (interesting side note: I saw the same band with Laura's husband about 10 years ago!)