"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Spring has Sprung...

There were four sure-fire ways to confirm that spring had arrived when I lived in Waterloo: the gradual disappearance of the giant mountain of snow (also known as Mount Hussey - thanks Muffy!) in the SunLife Financial parking lot; discovering the many “treasures” my dog deposited on my lawn throughout the winter; the reopening of the local Dairy Queen; and the appearance of shorts-clad university students on their front lawns, along with living room couches, boom boxes and coolers.

The harbingers of spring are a bit different, but no less welcome here in the Bruce. Watching saucy robins bob around the lawns and trees is always a happy sign of warmer weather in both the city and the country, but up here you get the added bonus of sighting vultures, kingbirds, herons, kingfishers and goldfinches. It's a birdy-nerdy's paradise.

Nature walks are also more of a treat in the country at this time of year. I’m fascinated by the carpet of bluebells that has appeared in my in-laws’ south pasture - the only other place I've seen that is in Ireland. Down in the private lanes of Tout’s grove (D says the snootier cottagers live there), shy periwinkle flowers and their waxy green leaves peep out at me from under piles of leaves. My brother-in-law’s backyard in Blair’s Grove is a serene ocean of white, blanketed with thousands of trilliums.

I'm a girl who likes to follow her nose. In another life, I think I could have been a perfume maker or tester; I absolutely love smelling nice things. Down by the lake right now, there's a gorgeous aroma of poplar in the air that could be bottled and sold as an anti-depressant. I love walking under those sinewy old trees as their fuzzy catkins drop down on my head like scented confetti.

Back at Someday, the Pine river has woken up; we can hear it rushing over the rocks on these still, spring nights. D and I have had several shore-side discussions about whether the groups of fish that wriggle languidly around in the shallows are edible, but we haven’t tried to find out yet. For now, we’re content to hike through the woods to the edges of the riverbank and spy on their afternoon spawning parties. They swim together near the shore, so thick you could practically walk on them. I think they're trout but D is convinced they're "suckers," whatever that is.

I used to enjoy springtime walks around my established gardens in Waterloo to note the earliest flowers: violets, sweet woodruff, crocuses. I’m still somewhat wistful for my old garden stomping grounds, but there's a certain charm to exploring Someday to see what’s coming up in all the unfamiliar soil. Did any of the bulbs I planted last fall escape the squirrel feasts? And what the heck are those droopy, freckled flowers that appeared seemingly overnight in the kitchen garden?

A blanket of snowdrops surprised me around the southwest corner of the house in April, rosy pink nubs of rhubarb have poked their heads out (I still can’t believe I’m the proud owner of four patches), and some kind soul planted lots of sweet woodruff and dozens of columbines everywhere, which makes me feel more at home. Last week I was delighted to discover wild violets springing up all over the lawn. When the sun warms them and they release their delicate fragrance, it’s like breathing in a benediction. They are my favourite flowers next to freesia.

Of course, to offset the delicious scents, there’s also the occasional whiff of manure that wafts over to Someday on the spring breezes. It took me several days before I realized I didn’t need to keep checking the bottoms of my shoes; “fresh air” is the norm up here now that the farmers are "back on the land," as they say. The unmistakable tang of run-over skunk is back, too, and if that isn’t a sure sign of spring, I don’t know what is.

But the funny thing is that where I used to wrinkle my nose at the smell of diesel fumes from the buses that roared up and down Moore Ave in Waterloo, or the sporadic smell of the dump that drifted down when the wind was west, the springtime country aromas don’t bother me. They are all a part of living in the Bruce, and are quickly becoming as homey and familiar as all the other harbingers of spring at Someday.

Man, oh man...I love spring.


Neko and I went for an innocent tromp through the meadow to the river last night. I thought I smelled something a bit putrid as we made our way through the rusty gate towards the river bank; how I heartily wish I had never found out what was causing the stink.

Stupid me decided to investigate the source of the smell before Neko did, and guess what I found? Yep, some nasty critter had dug up my poor beloved kitty Comfort, who had been resting comfortably in the peaceful grave D dug for her a few weeks ago. And said critter didn't just dig her up, oh no; said critter also had a little "al fresco" dining experience.

Apart from being ticked off that my formerly sweet kitty is now strewn all over the place instead of remaining a happy memory safely tucked under the soil, I'm mainly just grossed out. How am I going to continue my nightly walks to the river, knowing that THE REMAINS are there waiting for me? It's like a car wreck - I can't NOT look when I go by. And don't get me started on the smell.

When I relayed the gruesome tale to D later that night, he looked blank for a moment, then said, "Well, there were a lot of tree roots. I couldn't bury her very deeply."

Another lesson learned in country living: when your brother-in-law offers to incinerate your dearly departed kitty in a very cheap cremation ceremony (referred to up here as "the burn pile"), say yes.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Boo to Braxton Hicks

All the baby books warn you about "false" labour, namely something called Braxton-Hicks contractions. Bah, I thought. I won't have fake labour. I'll know when it's the real thing. I'm no dummy!

Turns out fake contractions aren't anything to scoff at at 2:30 in the morning when you're starting to wonder if you should wake up your snoring husband, stuff your assembled hospital gear into the suitcase and hightail it for Waterloo.

Before diving into full mommy-alert mode, I crept downstairs and pored over the baby books and our Baby Class hand outs. Neko was happy to see me, even though it was the middle of the night, and kept me company as I tried to decide whether a call to the hospital was warranted. Apart from back and abdomen discomfort, I didn't have any of the other symptoms of labour so I made an executive decision and decided to wait it out. But not before D woke to discover me missing from bed and came thundering downstairs to demand if I was all right. Poor man.

Thankfully, the pains subsided and I'm fine this morning. But it was good practice for the REAL THING...whenever that should happen. Kind of like a dress rehearsal (except I wasn't wearing much). I'm perfectly happy for baby to come, but if I had a choice, I'd like to wait a wee bit longer before making the frantic dash to the hospital...at least until after my two weeks of vacation are over!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

I'm baaaa-aaaack...

My apologies for the prolonged April absence. No, Baby Lowry did not make an early appearance. Mama Lowry is just feeling kinda lazy, kinda un-bloggy and kinda meh. I do miss all you folks in bloggerland though.

Also, I'm having trouble taking deep breaths as Bumbo pushes upwards on my diaphragm, so sitting at the laptop for extended periods hasn't been high on my list after work hours. On the plus side, it does mean I have the uncontrollable urge to fling off my bra (aka the torture device) at some point every day, which D finds faintly disturbing. Yesterday he found it hanging from the pantry door. Whoo hoo!

Anyways, apart from bra-flinging, here's a quick Someday Diary update:
1) Epic April Snowstorm
10 cms, 60km/h winds, freaking horrible driving conditions. In the 2nd week of April. #$%^&*@!? Yeah, that's what I said.

2) Epic visit from Moscovite sister!
My loving, beautiful and wonderous little sister Tanzi shocked the crap out of me by calling me a day after my birthday to announce that she'd be waiting for me to pick her up in Waterloo (ONTARIO! CANADA!) the following Monday. She's been teaching at a fancy school in Russia, and I haven't seen her since August. She won't be able to be here for the birth of Bumbo so she planned a whirlwind week's visit to Canada just to see my belly. Is that sisterly love or what? Apparently D, my Dad and my other sister were all in on the scheme. How they managed to keep it a secret, I'll never know. So I got to spend two great days with her all to myself and even had Easter dinner together. How cool is that? SPACEBO, Tanzi. You rock.

3) RIP Comfort
Yep, poor Comfort the barn kitty finally succumbed to her various infirmities and is now resting peacefully in the east meadow. Whatever infection she had was resistant to penecillin (which D faithfully injected her with) and morphed into a raging open wound that was truly awful to behold. The vet took one look and pronounced her incurable. Poor puss.

I learned just how squeamish I really am when she tottered like a little kitty zombie up to the house every day for her bowl of eggs and milk (she stopped eating her cat food) and wanted to get on my lap. I was able to gingerly pat her on the back, but I couldn't even bring myself to look at her head. Even the vet's assistant confessed that SHE was grossed out, so I didn't feel so guilty. Gah. How the hell am I going to change diapers??? Or look at an umbilical cord stump???

Let me also note here for the record how impressed I was with D. He's never been much of a cat person, but he faithfully carried Comfort back to the barn each night (it's quite a distance from the house), made sure she got her shots and actually encouraged me to reconsider euthanizing her ("She might perk up with the warmer weather!" Apparently warmer weather + open wound = maggots, according to the vet's assistant, so I'm glad I didn't listen to that idea). D even dug Comfort a little tiny grave. I'd never seen that side of him with a barn cat before. It did my hormotional heart good. I will miss her quite a bit.

4) Not too bad a birthday
I turned 39 on April 2nd and it wasn't too bad a day, considering that the anniversary of Rose's birth and death was the very next day. D's aunties took me out for lunch, I had a pedicure, a massage and a big steak dinner with C and D in the evening. To cap it off, my MIL made me a giant, ooey, gooey chocolate cake before she left on holidays, which C delivered with great aplomb when he came over for supper. She also wrapped up an extra-long shoehorn since I can no longer bend down to put my shoes on. God bless that woman! D also took me out to a posh restaurant with C and his girlfriend later that weekend. It was divine...

5) Easter eggstravaganza
Most people would think that eating a venison roast for Easter dinner is somehow wrong, but I loved it. When you're at Dad's cabin, it just works. I made a nifty apple pudding for dessert which was a hit with everyone (except Dad, who declared it "too doughy." "Dad...it's a pudding. It's supposed to be doughy.") And don't get me started on all the chocolate we scarfed down before supper even started. Or the chicken wings and potato chips we ate for lunch beforehand. Or the fact that the pretty pink blouse I'd chosen to wear for Easter made me look like an enormous Easter egg...

So that's the update folks. I will try not to be so anti-blog in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Working from home really sucks on days like today. I should be at the office, pranking the crap out of my co-workers. Instead I'm sitting here with dozens of dastardly schemes running through my head and no one to use them on.

I so want to prank my brother-in-law today (it's become a tradition) but I don't have the heart to go into fake labour or tell him my cat is rabid. His folks are away on holiday so he's tackling chores for the next 10 days pretty much on his own and will likely be in no mood for jokes. *sigh*

Last year I had him convinced that his basement had flooded (he had just spent hours in the middle of the night cleaning up his neighbours' basement after their sub-pump died), and the year before that I had him on his way to help me rescue Neko from a skunk. Somehow...I don't think he'll fall for anything this year.

So tell me - what pranks have YOU successfully pulled on good ol' April 1?