Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sick puppy

Kind of ironic that the first photo and post of 2015 included our French bulldog Chelsea in it.

The poor little thing has been very sick for the entire month of January.
The past four weeks have been more difficult than I could have ever imagined.
It started with a cough, which quickly turned into pneumonia which was most likely caused by an abnormality of Chelsea's upper airways. She's probably had it since birth, but is now becoming a life threatening issue.
Once she is healthy enough, she will have to undergo a serious surgery to hopefully correct her Brachycephalic Syndrome.
If she is ever healthy enough...

To say that the past two weeks have been emotionally taxing is an understatement.
She has spent three days in intensive care hooked up to IV's and oxygen and is on a boat load of drugs.
We even have to give her injections three times a day.
I get faint at the sight of a paper cut, never mind having to poke my sweet little puppy with a needle.
I have to feed her tiny amounts of soft food by hand every couple of hours, which hopefully she will keep down.
I haven't been able to leave to house for more than a hour at a time.
She's lost 25% of her normal body weight.
It's absolutely heartbreaking.
Big daddy is travelling for work.
Lulu has been devastated to say the least, which drives the dagger into my heart just a little bit deeper.
There were several times this week when I watched Chelsea struggling to breathe and foaming at the mouth where I thought...this is it.
She isn't going to make it.
I'm going to have to "put her down"
I've cried a bucket load of tears.
I'm spent.

Then I question myself if it is "normal" to feel so emotionally attached to an animal?
Am I being crazy?
I've never been through this, so I have no idea if it is, or not.
I think to myself that anyone without a pet would never understand and think I'm nuts.
How could you get it, unless you have been through it yourself?
But I've been surprised by the compassion of several of my pet-less friends.
Their support and understanding has been so helpful.
Not to mention the ones with fury family members.
I think they have cried right along with me.
But still I do wonder if it's natural or healthy to feel so attached.

Pets teach us so much.
Unconditional love and also fear of loss.
They teach us to follow your intuition.
How to cope with anxiety...Chelsea always helps keep me keep calm while sitting on my lap when we are stuck in traffic by snuggling into me.
Not sure why, but it always seems to help.
I hate being stuck in the middle of a busy highway and not being able to exit if the need arises.
If I have a bad day, it all disappears when she comes running to the door to greet me when I get home.
If I've  had a good day it just makes that much better.
Having her makes me stop and smell the roses, or in her case, stop and sniff the squirrel that ran up a tree.
She's never made a mess on the floor (even when she was a puppy) chewed a toy or shoe that didn't belong to her.
Watching her play with her toys however, is more entertaining than anything else.
She follows me all over the house, even I go running up the stairs just to grab something only to come right back down.
She's my number one fan.
I just love her.
She has very distinct relationships with all of us.
I'm definitely the alpha leader-dog mom.
Numero uno.
Lulu is her playful little sister, but she is also protective and sits under her bed every night until she falls asleep.
Big daddy is her favourite wrestling partner and loves to play tug-of-war after dinner each night.
She also loves to hug him and doesn't let him put her down.
She would be content in his arms all day.
It's so incredibly sweet to watch.

She has made me stop and think that if this is how difficult it is to watch a sick pet, how hard would it be to say goodbye to a human family member.
I can't even to being to imagine the level of pain involved.

I want to be optimistic and hope that she will get better and survive.
But at this point it's all up in the air.
Only time will tell.
I can't be in control of everything in life.

This may be the biggest lesson she has taught me so far...

Friday, January 09, 2015

New Year...Same ol' same ol'

I usually compile a list of New Year's resolutions around this time of year.
Nothing too drastic or life changing, just things I would like to improve on and focus on for the new year ahead.
This year I could just as easily take a look back at 2014 and be lazy and just say ditto.
Because essentially I would love to continue working on all those things and maybe even more.
But that would be the easy thing to do.

It's important to set new goals and work hard to reach them.
I need to challenge myself more.
Find new things to strive for.
So I guess that's my New Year's resolution for 2015.
Set new goals.
Figure out the next step.

Although the past few weeks have been somewhat reflective, I guess I still don't know exactly what to work towards that is new and exciting.
But when I find out...I'll let you know.

Some other random things happening so far this year.

funny things that Lulu said recently.
"I wish I could trade 2 weeks of July for 1 month of January." she quoted Roald Dahl. love that she is quoting authors!
and yes...I couldn't agree more.

Can I watch just one more episode of Wicked Tuna on the National Geo channel?
pretty please??
I'm not entirely sure what I think about this latest television obsession.

Every morning for the past few weeks, Lulu tiptoes into my room sits beside me on the edge of the bed and whispers "do you want a hand massage mommy?" and proceeds to give me the most amazing hand massage while I wake up.
Her small hands are surprisingly strong and capable.
What an awesome way to wake up.
I mean seriously?
what did I do to deserve such an amazing kid?

On a more serious note.

Turns out our puppy (3 year old french bulldog, but will always be my little "puppy") needs a pretty major surgery.
I'm kind of freaking out about it.
I could never imagine loving an animal so much.
The thought of our family without her in it is pretty frightening.
I just hope she'll be okay.
Also trying to conceal my anxiety about it in front of Lulu is proving to be a bit challenging.
Who knew a 20 lb, snorty, little fury creature would become so much a part of our family.
Dogs really teach us about life more than we realize.

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
Roger Caras (photographer and writer)

so true....

Let's just hope she gets to teach us plenty more about life in 2015.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

change is all around

 As I was looking at the tree in my backyard with it's now vibrant golden leaves, instead of being in awe of its beauty it made me feel a bit melancholy. 
Wasn't it just yesterday that I was eagerly awaiting the white spring blossoms on the naked branches?
I was anxiously keeping my fingers crossed that the brutal winter and ice storm of 2013-14 would spare all the beautiful foliage on our property.
Thankfully it did.
Well, minus a large emerald cedar, 27 boxwoods, and a 18 ft' hornbeam.
All of which needed to be replaced.
It was a brutal winter after all.
But for the most part, the trees were resilient and survived.
I love green leaves and trees.
So I'm sad that it is coming to another end.
I'm not ready to say good-bye.
At least not yet.

I usually embrace this time of year and get really enthusiastic about roasted squash, comfort soups & stews, hot mulled apple cider, cozy sweaters and the beautiful colours of the changing leaves.
But this year I'm having a hard time.
Maybe it's my age.
Is it me or are the seasons flying by even faster?
As you get older the years grow shorter.
Isn't that what they say?

Either way that's how I've been feeling.
And if time is indeed moving faster, I have this constant fear that I'm wasting it.
(I knew I should never have joined facebook & instagram) grrr...
Every day, every minute and every second counts.
I never want to waste any of it and feel so guilty when I do.
For the most part I do try to cram a lot into a day.
Then again, so much of it is spent doing mundane domestic stuff.
I know I could be doing more with my time.
At least more meaningful, creative & fulfilling things.

Autumn is a great time for reflection and also for change.
The leaves are just nature's way of reminding us that change is inevitable.
Time is not to be wasted and taken for grated.

So maybe it's a good thing those leaves are changing and falling...

Friday, September 05, 2014

good to be back in the hood

After spending the entire summer out of the city and surrounded by beautiful vineyards, sprawling perfectly manicured green lawns, huge old trees, the fresh smell of the lake, bountiful fruit orchards and long glorious trails and paths, I almost didn't want to come home.

What am I saying?

I totally didn't want to come home.

I so didn't miss the ridiculously frustrating traffic, the endless construction, the noise, the smelly Toronto sewers, the graffiti, the gum caked cracked uneven sidewalks, the laughable political situation, my small (in desperate need of an update) city house, my neighbours...grrr...
and did I already mention all the construction?? Gah...My street is in an endless cycle of renovations and mess.
Basically the general chaos of it all.

But crazy as it sounds, I guess I did kind of miss it.
I missed "the routine." G-d love the routine.
My girlfriends.
My amazing neighbourhood. (renovation construction be damned)
The proximity to everything.
The plethora of grocery stores. Oh how I missed you Rowe Farms, Cumbrae's & Cobb's Bread.
And clothing stores.
Shopping in general.
And as shallow as this may sound, my nail salon. Best mani pedi's in the city.
My gym. Yes I'm a gym rat and proud of it.
Being able to walk to everything.
The restaurants.
The endless options of fun things to do. Hello TIFF.
(not to say that NOTL wasn't super fun and didn't have a ton of options in the cultural stimulation department, but it's a far cry from the big city)
Our social life.
The diversity.
The excitement of it all.

So I guess you could say that I am blessed.
Blessed that I could take a break from it all so that I could appreciate it all the more when I got home.
Smelly sewers and all.
I do love Toronto.
But we are officially moving if Rob Ford gets re-elected.
Just putting that out there.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

summer To Do list

Well hello there....
It's been a while.
I've not blogged in ages (nor read any) though it's not for lack of stories, or things swirling around in my head. I guess I've just been busy with other forms of social media.
Facebook & Instagram for the most part. Feel free to check me out on IG @ cherryparsnips.
Also as Lulu gets older, I need to respect her privacy and not go too far when it comes to spilling the beans about her day to day life.
Which essentially is my day to day life.
Especially now that summer is here.
She has been my constant companion 24/7 since school got out.
And is very reluctant to partake in over night camp.
No matter how pretty I paint that picture, she is just not interested. sigh...
And seeing as things have been "strained" (to say the least) with my parents this summer, (long story) there have been no offers for camp Grandma & Grandpa this year either.
But that is a whole other post...
So I guess I have a perma miniature shadow all summer.
But I'm making the most of it, and trying to embrace having the opportunity to hang out with my little buddy everyday while she actually wants to hang out with me.
I know these years are fleeting.

So speaking of summer I usually make a "To Do List"
And seeing as we are already at halfway mark, I figured I should get on it.
So without further delay....

Summer of 2014 wish-to do list

Spend most of it at our new place out of the city (check)
order blinds & curtains, rugs, some art, new doors and start to tackle the garden. (working on it)
have some friends down to visit (check)
theatre (check)
mini road trip to upstate NY.
cycle. a lot.
run & work out. (check)
fly a kite (check)
have a picnic
watch some fireworks (check)
go to a few concerts (check)
vineyards & wine tasting (check, check and more check) (in fact a few too many checks...)
paint a picture
do some baking
pickle something
have a campfire (check)
watch the fireflies (check)
take a few days to go off computers or iphone.
crafts with Lulu
go to the beach (check)
do some yoga
get a massage
read (check) the town library is fantastic
buy fruit from local farmer stand (check) love Quiet Acres...
make Popsicles
speaking of food....
want to eat these things this summer...

potato salad
pasta salad
cold cucumber soup
fish tacos
cedar plank salmon with salsa verde
homemade pie- still warm if possible
peaches, plums & apricots
lots of salads
cold soba noodle salad
smoker chip ribs
grilled tuna niciose
lobster roll
my jerk chicken
watermelon & cuke salad
Ice cream
homemade granola with fresh fruit
avocado & spinach banana smoothie
poached eggs
grandpa ham

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

spring cleaning

It's that time of year when I get kind of crazy and feel the need to completely disinfect my entire house from top to bottom.
And after spending far too much time cooped up at home over the winter, it really could use an overhaul.
I try to stay on top of things on a fairly regular basis throughout the year, but truth be told, the winter always tends to bring out my lazy side.

So I'm on a mission.
Trying to do a few tasks each week before the weather gets nice and I don't want to be spending any more unnecessary time inside.

We finally got rid of the dead evergreen Christmas planters the other day and I feel much better already.
They were frozen in place so I had no choice but to wait until the big thaw.
But lucky me gets to still stare at my neighbours plastic snowman, tacky reindeer and Christmas lights (probably until June) grrr...
But that's another post.

First on the list is the windows & screens.
Between the crazy storms, tree debris and construction across the street from us, we can barely see out of the windows.
I use all natural household cleaners. My favourite being Mrs. Meyers.
I love all the scents, package design and the fact that it's earth friendly makes it that much better.
However, after several attempts at getting a streak free shine on the windows I finally caved and went and got a bottle of the blue stuff.
As much as I hate to admit it, it worked SO much better.
I know I could have used good ol' vinegar & water, but I hate the smell.
I really try to refrain from using any toxic house hold cleaners, but sometimes I can't see any other option.
I know bleach is the worst.
But I have a small bottle of it that I use occasionally only when I need to get the stains out of my white kitchen cloths.
I've tried the "natural" alternatives and they just don't seem to work as well.
Anyhow exciting post I life is so glamorous that I feel the need to write about cleaning products....sigh....

But I do try to use natural products the majority of the time, but sometimes they just don't cut it.
How about you? (all three of you) what do you use to clean you house?

Friday, February 21, 2014

pearly whites- notsomuch

So Lulu is officially in the "transitional tooth phase".
Or as I like to put it, the jack-o-lantern-smile-phase.
She has a big gummy grin and is missing 4 teeth at the moment. Her new teeth are having a hard time coming in as she has a tiny mouth (though you wouldn't know it with her endless chitter chatter)
Like I did, she is most certainly going to have crowding issues.
Off for an orthodontist consult next week... whoopee!

I have to refrain from constantly asking her to let me get a closer look to see if her new front teeth are coming in yet though.
I'm becoming obsessed.
It's been since Christmas and still nothing. poor thing.
I'm trying my best not to give her a complex. Probably failing miserably...
She's the last in her class to not have her two front adult teeth and my heart goes out to her.
I was that kid too.
I remember how self conscious I felt when my two front teeth were missing when everyone else was sporting a regular smile.
Plus I just want to see if her two front teeth are normal or not. The waiting is torture.

Unfortunately she has some other dental issues.
She has Hypoplasia on all four of her 6 year molars and one of her bottom front teeth.
Thankfully the other bottom tooth is ok. whew..
The dentist can't give us a reason for it or tell us how many other teeth are affected, other than possibly while they were developing, she had a bad virus or infection that interrupted the enamel development.
So long story short, Lulu can no longer consume sugar. Which isn't the end of the world, but in the eyes of an eight year old, not great news.

We already limit sugary sweets, drinks and candy anyhow but now it's pretty much forbidden from here on in.
I was always one for moderation, but now, even that isn't enough.
Zero sugar, otherwise risk loosing her permanent teeth completely.
No orangina with her pizza on a special night. No juice, granola bars or candy from loot bags.
I don't even want to think about next Halloween...
It's actually amazing how much sugar is in our diet when you start to think about eliminating it.
It's not as easy as it sounds.
But from a health perspective, maybe it's a good thing anyhow.
So Lulu's super sensitive teeth might just be a blessing in disguise for our whole family.
At least that's what I keep trying to convince myself to stop myself from getting depressed about it.
Just have to convince friends and grandparents that "just one candy isn't the end of the world."

But things could certainly be worse.
I think about all the kids (and adults) with severe food allergies and I can't even imagine how difficult that would be.
So things are not that terrible and I need to keep things in perspective.

But it all comes back to my quest for perfectionism.
It's not possible.
Life isn't perfect.
Nor are teeth.

But thankfully there are great dentists to remedy that.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Home is where the frozen heart is

After spending a glorious week in California (Palm Springs and visiting family in L.A.) it's back to the never ending winter here in Toronto.

I had such an incredible time and really, I mean really didn't want to come home.
So much so in fact, that when we did arrive home, I found myself checking out neighbourhoods and homes on MLS and researching the best school districts in L.A.
I could SO live in California.

Great weather- obviously being #1 on the list.
We have family there.
Great economy and plenty of career opportunities. Albeit, having to start over is a wee bit daunting...
Amazing (and I mean Amazing) grocery stores and restaurants.
I love you Trader Joe's!
Lovely homes and cool architecture. (Reasonably priced I might add.) Especially when you compare to Toronto's over inflated real estate market and often ugly boxy brick houses.
People are so friendly and laid back.
So much to do. Especially if you love being outdoors.
Hiking, cycling, walking the dog (no coat and booties required) surfing, skiing. You name it, you can do it in Cali.
Excellent shopping. Bonus that you wouldn't need 18 different types of winter coats and boots.
Great people watching. Keith Urban was on my flight and Eugene Levy was at the airport when I landed.
Hiked past Moby's house on my morning walk and I just missed Orlando Bloom at the local coffee shop according to my sister-in-law. rats...
So you never know who you'll bump into in Los Angeles.
It's easy to live a healthy life style and stay fit and optimistic.
Everyone is so into fitness! Plenty of inspiration.
It's on the ocean.
Delicious wine. My favourite pinots all come from California. Not to mention that the wine is a third of the cost as it is here in Ontario. damn taxes.
It's green. I love all the varieties of trees and flowers. It's a gardener's paradise. We picked fresh lemons and made lemonade one day. Seriously. I mean where is the justice in the world?
Oh and the biggest bonus of all...
Rob Ford doesn't live there.

So needless to say there are plenty of reasons to want to live in California.

But for now we are here.
And for better or worse, Toronto is our home.
Business is good.
We live in a great neighbourhood.
Lulu loves her school and has a strong sense of stability. Which is very important to me.
We have a lot of great friends that I would miss if we moved.
My family is here.
I do love Canada and all that it stands for. So I would miss that for sure.
Free health care. Whoopie!
And sure, the weather really, and I mean really sucks. But it builds character. Right?
At least that's what I keep trying to tell myself every time I venture out and freeze my ass off.
Bonus that in the winter you don't need to wear make up. Especially blush.
My cheeks are always a rosy shade of pink from the wind chill.
And I don't have to wash my hair every day. Hats rock.
In fact I don't really have to get dressed at all.
I often drop Lulu off in my PJ's and no one is the wiser.
Gotta love big puffy all covering winter coats and snow pants.
Speaking of pants..don't need to shave my legs so often. Those pasty white bad boys are completely covered up, so who really cares about stubble? Also a bonus that I don't have to unveil the lovely little blue broken veins that no amount of self tanning cream will conceal.
I don't really see or hear my neighbours for half of the year as they go into hibernation for the winter.
Trust me, this is a very good thing.
Just wish they would shovel the driveway and sidewalk on occasion instead of always waiting for us to do it. grrrr.
But hey, shovelling works the biceps, triceps and quads! So their loss.
And at least we don't have to garden. Screw you weeds, tiny squishy rotten apples, and pesky wasps and mosquito's.
Yay no bugs!
The water is crazy cold when it comes out of the tap. I love a nice cold glass of H2o. Don't you?
My back deck doubles as a fridge and freezer when the need arises.
Snow is pretty. So are green leaves and flowers. Oh how I miss you green trees...sniff sniff
And let's face it, winter is a perfect excuse to be lazy and anti social.
Which is kind of okay once in a while. Summer can be so exhausting with all that going out and having fun.
And hey, we save a fortune on babysitters and restaurant tabs.
Sitting by a fire, drinking red wine reading a good book is the best. Sitting in the sun, drinking white wine, reading a trashy magazine...oh how I miss you summer....sniff sniff
T.V.  I love binge watching all my favourite shows on HBO. Currently obsessed with Downton Abby.
I'm a television junkie, what can I say? And I feel too guilty watching during the fleeting summer months.
And last but not least...winter gives you something to bitch about.
That is until the heat and humidity of July & August set in...

But in my mind...I'm going to California....(some day)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Now that that we are finally above zero in the weather department, I feel a sense of relief and optimism for the first time in almost two months.
What can I say? the weather really affects me.
Though I know we are still in for many more long cold weeks of winter, it has been a nice reprieve.

While in hibernation mode I've had a bit of time to reflect and think about some of the changes I would like to make in 2014.

1. Simplify.
when it comes to pretty much everything. I don't need so many options. whether it be clothing, meals, activities.

2. be more mindful about waste and being more green.

3. be more grateful. I live a very blessed life and I need to continually remind myself of that.

4. have fun. spend time with people who make me laugh and who I enjoy making laugh in turn.

5. Love more. my husband. my daughter (if that's possible...) myself.

6. Make peace with my past so it won't disturb my future. this one will take some work, but it's so true.

7. ignore the word perfect. Because seeking perfectionism will surely be my demise.

8. do something out of my comfort zone.

9. give back. volunteer. play it forward. do something unexpected for someone. maybe even a stranger.

10. be more positive. the glass is always half full. if it isn't, fill it up.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

okay..I lied. I don't like change.

I had originally planned on saying good-bye to this blog.
At least for a while.

I've pretty much felt like I've had nothing really too interesting to write about these past few years  months.
When I do, I sensor myself so much because it's no longer anonymous, so where's the fun in that?
Besides, I never really seem to find the time to sit and collect my thoughts and write them down, so why bother?
Excuses excuses..

But truth be told, I miss rambling on about myself and my family.
It's such a great outlet at times.
So I'm back.
Probably not consistently or with anything ground breaking to discuss, but I just need a place I can call my own.
So without further adieu...

Can I just start by saying how freaking happy I am that the holidays have come & gone?
I've never really been a fan of Christmas. 
I know. Bah humbug.
I just find it all so exhausting and intense.
I'm very relieved that the glittery balls, wooden snowflakes, miniature reindeer and all the other holiday accoutrement are safely packed away for yet another year.
Thankfully there are no more cookies lingering around (pretty sure they are all attached to my waist & butt I'm afraid) and I cleared out the refrigerator of all things sinful.
The latter due to the fact that our fridge died over the holidays due to the power surge & outage from the big ice storm.
Good times...
I'm secretly kind of happy though, as I kind of wanted a new fridge.
Sadly it's not the built in subzero I've been dreaming about for years, but it fit through our tiny doorway and into our tight space in the kitchen, so I'm thrilled.
Bonus, it died during the boxing week sales, so we ended up saving a bundle.
Always a silver lining.

But it's a new year and a great time to start fresh.
Eat healthy and exercise often.
Though I try to do this through out the year, it's always nice to have a clean slate.
I don't really have any resolutions per say.
Maybe I should.
There are several things I would like to accomplish this year, but I have to admit, I find it difficult to get motivated to do too much when it's minus 40 degrees outside!!
Holy cold!
I hate to bring up the weather, but geez...this is ridiculous.
Enough with winter already.
I woke up in the middle of the night to loud banging noises, which I discovered were "ice quakes".
I had never even heard of such a thing.
I'm so over it.
71 days. 1 hour. and 13 minutes and 21 seconds until spring.
20 seconds...19....18...
but who's counting?

Happy New Year!