Monday, June 27, 2011

Just Plain Weird

A few faithful readers have been mentioning that lately my blog always makes them tear up, choke up, full-on cry. And I keep saying, "Sorry, but I don't think it's going to get better any time soon." This space serves as my thought-processing arena, and when you're getting ready to say good-bye, those thoughts can be kind of heavy.

But you're lucky today. Today we have news straight from the "WTF" channel. I mean, seriously out-of-left-field, bizarro news.

Last week I was checking out the stats on the blog, and I noticed some wildly unprecedented blog traffic. Usually it's a really good day if we get say, around 30 visits and page views. But last week those numbers were completely blown out of the water. Suddenly, in one day, we had about 700 visits and page views. "Hey!" I thought, "We're famous! Some really cool blogger out there for some unknown reason has found our blog and linked to it! Cool!"

So I quickly checked out the "referrals" section, wondering what wonderful site was helping us to generate all of this amazing traffic. And my jaw promptly dropped. Fell to the floor. And I moaned, "Oh noooooooooo.... You've got to be kidding."

What I found was a link to "Bloody Disgusting: Your #1 Source for Horror." It appears that our homely little blog was found worthy of being linked to through this lovely "news" site. Why? you ask. Yes, yes. I asked the same terrifying question. And in shocked, well, horror, I soon found out. It appears that under the category "OMFG of the Day," (so creative, aren't they?) this awe-inpiring site features an article about a Jurassic Park-style love hotel in Japan. A love hotel that we happened to pass by and snap a picture of during our southern Japan travels. The site displays three pictures of the exterior of the hotel, and while it credits us with taking all of them, in actual fact, only the last one is ours. In the article, they also state, "The site scored a slew of weird images that come from this link." And "this link" links directly to our humble blog. To this page actually (please check it out and have a laugh at our expense): "Home Away from Home"

There we are, Jeff and I, in Beppu Japan, posing next to all the famous hot springs. And oh yes, there is a nice little picture of Jeff, taking a self-portrait while bathing in one of the hot springs. And yes, a little further down is one tiny little picture of the Jurassic Park-style love hotel. "A slew of weird images," huh? I guess WE were the weird images. Bet THEIR readers were disappointed!!

On the upside, I told Jeff, "Just think. Hundreds of people around the world have now seen you bathing in a hot spring naked." :)

If you want to read the article yourself, just click on the link below. It's really edifying material, I tell you. And hey, we might as well return the favour. After all, we are STILL getting hits from this link. Sheesh. The Internet is truly a thing of beauty.

OMFG of the Day: Japan Hosts 'Jurassic-Park' Love Motel

Sunday, June 12, 2011

One Step at a Time

On Friday I listed our house for rent on Kijiji. We received a number of serious inquiries, enough to make us hold an "open house" today. This was our second open house. The first happened about a month or so ago, back when we were looking for students and a 10-month lease. But a lot of shifting has happened in that past month. Shifting and a subtle sense of letting go.

All along, the one thing I held on to was the house. That was the one thing I wanted. Just give me the house every summer. Our old neighbourhood, our busting out garden, the laneway, the friends, beer on the porch and wine and dinner on the back patio. Our own space. HOME.

And all along, there was a tiny voice in my head saying, "It ain't gonna work, Kathy. You're gonna have to let it go."

And it turns out the little voice was right. If we're going to be non-residents of Canada, we really do have to be NON-residents of Canada. Of our house. Even if it's just for a few weeks every summer.

I've been good. I've been letting it go, bit by bit, letting it sink in that this really IS our last summer in this home. I've been lovingly weeding the garden, spreading the mulch, transplanting tremendously large and healthy plants to the laneway side of the fence. Just doing it. Not really thinking too much about this that or the other.

But last night, as I prepared for our second open house, it hit me. I realized that this time, we probably would find the right renters. This time would probably be it. A passing of the baton. Please take care of our baby. We've given her lots of love these past five years.

And as I was racing against the clock last night, trying to dig out weeds and plant more flowers by the laneway before it became too dark, that really fabulous part of the evening settled in. The part that coincides with the time the mosquitoes decide to come out to play. If you want to relish it, you have to suck it up buttercup and deal with the biting mosquitoes. Cause this part of the evening rocks. There was good reggae music and the sounds of talk and laughter from someone's backyard party. And there was the smell of a campfire from another. And the peace and quiet that comes once the kids are tucked in bed and it's too early for the drunks to start coming out. And while I dug, I took some mighty deep breaths and thought, "I am going to MISS THIS."

See this?
This is the room Kaiya was born in. This very room, on that very bed. This is also the room that has seen the most of my tears over one thing or another. It has seen Jeff and I fight... and make up... It has seen us collapse in exhaustion after long and busy days, and has held us while we have slept. And it's finally the right colour. This room.

And see this?
How many of you have sat in this room with us? Laughed with us, argued with us, even cried with us? How many good, life-changing conversations have been had in this room? This room.

It's just a house, I know. But this house has seen so much. So much more than the other houses. And this house has watched us journey and transform and grow-up. I'm happy to be who I am now. And that change happened here. In this house.

This morning, 10 minutes before our first potential renter was due, a song popped into my head. A song from long ago that will surely date me. And foolishly, I looked it up on Youtube and choked back the tears as I listened and remembered. It's perfect.

And, as always, it's for you, Jeff.

If These Walls Could Speak

If these old walls,
If these old walls could speak
Of the things that they remember well,
Stories and faces dearly held,
A couple in love
Livin’ week to week,
Rooms full of laughter,
If these walls could speak.

If these old halls,
If hallowed halls could talk,
These would have a tale to tell
Of sun goin’ down and dinner bell,
And children playing at hide and seek
from floor to rafter,
If these halls could speak.

They would tell you that I’m sorry
For bein’ cold and blind and weak.
They would tell you that it’s only
That I have a stubborn strreak,
If these walls could speak.

If these old fashioned window panes were eyes,
I guess they would have seen it all--
Each little tear and sigh and footfall,
And every dream that we came to seek
Or followed after,
If these walls could speak.

They would tell you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay.
Here’s someone who really loves you;
Don’t ever go away.
That’s what these walls would say.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

It's Summer

Do you feel it? The hot, sticky air that dampens your skin and makes you want to dash to the 7-11 to buy a box of freezies. Do you smell it? The fresh-cut grass, the flowers in bloom, the sweetness of ice cream, the scent of BBQs and bonfires. Do you taste it? Hamburgers, summer salads, roasted marshmallows, and my latest summer favourite... a bottle of sparkling Pinot Grigio.

It's summer.

All around us is the green, green, green of a good Canadian summer. Kaiya and I went to the park down the street today. As I lay back on a towel, I smiled at her squeals and screams. I LOVE that my daughter is the one who thinks a splash pad is the COOLEST invention on earth. While the other kids quietly run and play, she's the one running in circles, squealing through fountains, screaming as buckets of icy cold water dump on her head. Splashpads. Guaranteed long afternoon naps. Bliss.

Life is incredibly rich right now. The waiting game is ending, my friends. A number of little things came together last week to finally make me mentally, internally flip the page. The new chapter is beginning. I still alternate wildly between excitement and anticipation over the adventure coming our way, and digging my claws back into Canadian soil, terrified of the change and the letting go. On tough days I think, "What are we doing? We're crazy to leave." And on good days I think, "Yes, we are crazy. Bring on the crazy. And bring on our next adventure!"

Time is short. So let's get to the point today: some fabulous pictures.

We love Uncle Dave. And we love that a trip to "Auntie's" house now means a trip of adventure and exploration. There are trees to climb:



Clearly, Uncle Dave does a better job than I do:



There are toads to squeal at, and other interesting bugs to find and touch:

(She carried that ridiculous farting gnome around the whole yard with her. Yes, a motion-sensing farting gnome. Seriously.)

There are trampolines to jump on...



...and an older cousin to admire:



There are fires to build (and newspapers to hide behind)...



...and giant marshmallows to roast...



...and enjoy:



We also love neighbour Bryan and neighbour Sarah. Because when we visit them, mommy can enjoy a glass of bubbly with Sarah...



...while Kaiya gets to act crazy with Bryan...



...and point out airplanes...



...and stand holding a glass on her head while Bryan aims the Nerf gun right at it:

(Who knew that was the secret to getting this kid to stay still??!!)

And we love Maelle...



...because there's just so much to love!



And because being with Maelle shows us what being a big sister would look like. Beautiful.



We are inhaling deep breaths of all this love and friendship. Deep breaths because we know that in just two short months, we will be experiencing solitude, and loneliness, like we haven't in some time.

There will be a lot more of this:



So in the meantime, we enjoy this...



...and this:



Not forgetting for a second how rich we really are. And thanking God we'll get six weeks of this every year.

Happy summer to you!